Players in a Billion Dollar Industry: Brazil’s very own Independent Games Festival supports International Esports. Gamers, Esports Athletes, and Executives convene at BIG 2018 in São Paulo.

Press release:
São Paulo – Brazil, June 08, 2018 – In esports, Brazil leads Latin America as the country with the largest audience. A total of 17.7m people follow esports of which 7.8m watch a match at least once a month (according to NewZoo). Worldwide it’s ranked third only behind the US and China. This translates into a turnover within the esports market of US$696m in 2017–a number which is projected to grow to 905.6m in 2018, US$1b in 2019, and a whopping US$1.6b in 2021. Within the industry, Brazilian esports athletes are considered to be the better paid ones like Gabriel “FalleN” Toledo who has made over 700K US$ in his career so far playing Counter-Strike.

“What we are seeing [in Brazil] and with the Los Angeles Valiant is something geographic. People cheer for Los Angeles teams because they are from Los Angeles. They cheer for New York teams because they’re from New York. I think this is very new for the United States, but it has been happening in Brazil for a long time. We will work with Brazilian teams.This year and next year, we will be 100% involved in Brazilian esports.” – Noah Whinston about his plan is to support the esports scene in Brazil and his work with Immortals.

As focal point for the scene, BIG, Latin America’s most influential indie game festival, has been convening yearly in São Paulo since 2012. Its mission is to strengthen the Brazilian video game ecosystem through awards, lectures, and industry business meetings. Its independent video game award with the highly contested first prize of US$24k in 2018 aims at boosting the efforts of up-and-coming developers. Furthermore, lectures and business rounds create the environment for small studios to thrive and the scene to find a clear path into the future. The numbers speak for themselves: 2017 the festival had 20K visitors, a record which is expected to be broken in 2018. Themes this year range from video game music and animation to virtual and augmented reality.

To kick off the event, Noah Whinston (Immortals) and William (Bill) Le Voir-Barry (IBM) will deliver their keynote speech titled “The Future of esports and Brazil in the International Scenario” on June 29, at 11AM (UTC -3), at Centro Cultural, São Paulo. In face of the growing monetary interest in esports, the human factor becomes ever more important. As athletes, young women and men fulfill their dreams making gaming their living and find themselves performing in an environment of extreme pressure.

With the expertise gathered from his work with Immortals, Noah is able to convey an inside look into the issue. Immortals is an eSports franchise with a high-powered board of advisors from media and sports franchises like Nerdist, Lionsgate, Machinima and the Memphis Grizzlies. The speech will be followed by a discussion mediated by Barbara Gutierrez (Versus) in which the participants attempt to answer the questions of what the future of esports is and what benefits it has for Brazil.

About BIG Festival
BIG Festival (Brazil’s Independent Games Festival) has been held since 2012 and is considered one the most influential and innovative independent gaming festival in Latin America. With the mission to strengthen the Brazilian video game ecosystem, the event produces a yearly international independent video game award competition offering significant cash prizes ($24,000 in 2018), a major exhibition showcasing hundreds of games including the awards nominees, a spectacular awards ceremony event, industry related lectures and business rounds.

In 2017, BIG hosted more than 20,000 visitors, 3,500 of them having participated to lectures, and more than 1600 guests attending business meetings. This year BIG will expand its schedule of lectures and workshops by incorporating new topics and areas that are part of games development cycles, such as music, animation, virtual and augmented reality, a career center, among others segments already present at the event.

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Jonas “O.J” Ek
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @TheGamingGround

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