Saturday, May 21, 2022

Make WePlays Academy League a “breeding ground” for future stars

When two players from the WePlay Academy League were called up as Tier 1 Counter Strike teams after the second season, WePlay realized their vision of offering opportunities to promote and develop young talent. When two new teams decided to get into the league before season three, it was the kind of growth that WePlay boss Eugene Luchianenco says will help develop the entire scene.

According to Ilya “m0NESY” Osipov and Adam is “distorted” Distorted‘Success and the addition of Spirit Academy and Eternal Fire Academy, WePlay’s Academy League has many eyes on it as season three gets underway. The online group stage has already begun and a LAN final will conclude the season from February 11-13 at WePlay’s Esports Arena in Kiev, Ukraine.

To give an insight into the origins of WePlay and its plans for the future, here’s a conversation with Luchianenco, which has been edited slightly for brevity and clarity.

WePlay Esports launched its Counter-Strike launch just before the COVID-19 pandemic. How has that affected your growth?

“Our debut CS: GO tournament took place in early 2019. It was WePlay! Lock and Load, a four-day online competition. This year we managed to hold three events in this discipline shortly before the outbreak of the pandemic.

I would be lying if I said that COVID-19 has not affected us or our development strategy in any way. It’s hard to keep a steady pace when the whole world suddenly comes to a standstill. Our team wasn’t just sitting on our hands, however – we used this time to rethink the way we work and possible steps and plans for the near future. In 2020 we even hosted another CS: GO tournament – WePlay! Coupling island. Yes, all of the teams played online and only talent was present in our studio, but it wasn’t a problem for us to get together 145,000 peak viewers and watch more than 2.6 million hours. “

Eugene Luchianenco, Head of eSports at WePlay Esports
Eugene Luchianenco, Head of eSports at WePlay Esports. | Provided by WePlay Holding

Now that CS is returning to more LAN tournaments, what are WePlay’s plans for the future in CS: GO?

“Today CS: GO is one of the main disciplines for us in the context of further development – we see that this scene offers many opportunities for growth and cooperation. We are ready to create new projects in this discipline and contribute to the existing ones.

For the past six months, our team has been actively working on our new product, a CS: GO tournament for aspiring esports players – the WePlay Academy League. It’s a new format that aims to provide a breeding ground and learning platform for future esports stars. We believe that such a project will not only help individual players achieve more in their careers, but also contribute to the development of the CS scene, so the Academy is kind of a strategically important project for our company.

This year, WePlay Esports started broadcasting other CS: GO tournaments in Russian. For example, our studio was the official Russian-language channel for PGL Major Stockholm 2021, and our stream became one of the most watched programs in the world after the English one. We also want to take our place in the race for media rights to top tournaments. Our team has already managed to establish a partnership with the tournament operator BLAST for the RU broadcast of the current and upcoming BLAST Premier season. That’s only part of what we’ve planned – I don’t want to spoil the surprise now. “

Russian language broadcast of PGL Major Stockholm from WePlay Esports.
Russian language broadcast of PGL Major Stockholm from WePlay Esports. | Provided by WePlay Holding

How has the WePlay Academy League developed? How did the team feel about the success of season 2?

“The idea of ​​founding a league for academies came to us while we were working on another tournament, the WePlay! Forge of Masters League in 2019. We saw that academies today unfortunately didn’t have too many opportunities and platforms to learn and showcase their performance – esports organizations have been careful about adding a newcomer to their main lists and won’t allow tournament operators to set up several cadres for a competition.

Various esports organizations suggested working on such a project and we agreed. Since then, we’ve managed to hold two leagues, which resulted in several players making the tier 1 roster and shining in big tournaments. That in itself is a great success for our team. It’s a pleasure to see what you do is benefiting the community in such a short amount of time. “

How difficult is it to grow WePlay Esports in CS: GO when there are already so many established tournament organizers out there?

“For many, the idea of ​​a competitive environment has a negative connotation as it represents competition, struggle and constant stress. However, we see competition as an incentive to become better and to create something unique every day. Regardless of the size and specifics of the market, as well as the number of players already involved, there will always be a place for those who bring a new experience to the consumer’s table. “

WePlay Academy League Season 2
WePlay Academy League Season 2. | Provided by WePlay Holding

How would WePlay Esports introduce a WePlay CS: GO major for Valve?

“There is no single concept of how we would pitch a major. Each of our offers is different from the others – it depends on the request, the working conditions and the characteristics and preferences of the community at a given time. Our employees analyze what is currently popular with eSports fans, what they like, which topics are most relevant and at the same time creatively fit into the format of the event. Then we start brainstorming and creating a vision of what we would like to see in the end. We have already had the experience of partnering with Valve on DPC Major in 2021, WePlay AniMajor. It took us forty days to set everything up and create a successful and colorful event. Our team values ​​CS: GO at least on the same level as Dota 2. Valve was able to rate this event as we did the last one for them. “

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