In this modern age of technology and advancement, both the field of Esports and professional gaming have become thriving businesses. In this article, I sat down with two leaders in the industry, to get their unique perspectives on a variety of topics. Lumen Vera is the CEO/Co-Founder of Crescent Esports, and Rey Aguilar is the Co-Founder of PWR Gaming. Read on for what they had to say on Esports and gaming.
First, by way of introductions, tell us a bit about yourselves.
My name is Lumen Vera. I am the CEO/Co-Founder of Crescent Esports. Alongside my business partner Allan Mizell, we have health and fitness as one of our core values. I'm a model in California, keeping my body fit isn't only work-related but it's something I personally pursue. Allan graduated with a degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in fitness and performance. We know that just like physical athletes, Esports athletes need to be in their best shape to stay mentally focused and alert in the heat of competition. This is why we are in the process of creating a exercise regimen for our players.
My name is Rey Aguilar, CO-Founder of PWR Gaming, and I am from Texas, the North Houston area. I started PWR Gaming with Jeremy as a fun way to host events that we can play in, but it has since grown to more then just hosting events. We have some teams and players sponsored/managed by PWR, and now run both online and local events. I do all this while I try to grow my other stuff, be a family man, and workout to get back to powerlifting (where the name PWR came from) to compete again. I am no fitness guru but I do try to help friends and co-workers with fitness advice and push them to try to live a healthier life for them and their kids. With PWR Gaming we do promote a better lifestyle where you can game and still go out and be active.
Tell us a bit about the world of Esports, from your perspective.
The world of Esports is so vast and unique. It is a world that has needed to fight to be taken seriously. Like sports, each game has its own culture with individuals from all walks of life, individuals who are passionate and persevering. It is the epitome of a world where your passion becomes your job. It is a place to learn about oneself as well. Esports allows players to not only learn skills such as: critical thinking, leadership, management, and teamwork, it also allows them to apply them immediately during competitions.
I am in love with Esports and what the future holds. Esports is a game changer and I see it as a way for you to still be that kid that loves to stay up late and game while building something that can be a your career or funding Lobby.
How did you get involved in Esports?
At the age of 12, my cousins got into playing the game Counter-Strike, and after a few months began competing, which I did for the next 10 years. I left the scene to finish college and got into competitive gaming once Overwatch launched in 2016. Since then, I've moved from being a player, to captain, to coach, then manager, to now running my own Esports organization. Esports has always been a part of my life, in some form or another.
Well, I feel like I have always been part of esport,s without ever really know it. It began with hosting LAN parties at friend’s houses - playing COD, FIFA, or NFL Blitz on N64, for wagers, many years back. What really got me to push the Esports side and make it more then just 3-4 hours of late night gaming was when I started hosting online tournaments for a MOBA game called Paragon, from Epic Games, in 2016. We started small and it was really just for fun, but little-by-little we started to grow. Before we knew it, Paragon Devs were tweeting about our events, and they would share on Twitch Cast while matches were being played.
It was looking like in 2018 we might have had a good momentum going to make it our year, but with Paragon not being in the best place, and with Fortnite doing so well, they pulled Devs from Paragon and closed it in April. That didn’t stop us though, and we started events for other games. After some time, we were finally able to start having Official Teams playing under PWR Gaming. The dream keeps going, and we will keep working on PWR both for Esports and in weight lifting.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen/been to?
I believe the coolest thing I've seen is this past EVO championship. EVO is to fighting games like the Superbowl is to football, it is THE biggest event. To experience that event was amazing to say the least. Every player had their own story, each filled with them overcoming personal hurdles to get to this event. This battleground meant everything to both players and audience, alike. As someone who hardly touched fighting games, I found myself swept up by the energy of the crowd. It was an adrenaline rush, just sitting in the audience.
Oh my where to start? Well, I will say LAN events are the best. You have to go to one and really see all of it from the shows to the competition events, and even all the Cosplay. I have been to many, and forward to going to every event I can.
What does the field represent to you?
Esports represents everything to me. It helps me become my best through learning each game, meeting new people, pushing myself, and striving for the discipline needed to achieve the level of being the best in an esport. It represents an ever-growing community that is both welcoming, and easily accessible.
What are some common misconceptions, both about the field and about gamers in general?
Common misconceptions about gamers is that they're lazy. They only play video games, and Esports itself is not serious because it "is just kids playing video games." These two are the most frustrating to hear, over and over. Like sports athletes, professional gamers dedicate a lot of time and energy into their craft, spending 8-12 hours a day honing their skills. These players put their all into staying at the top, and because of that, no one player or team will stay at the top very long - there are several upsets throughout the year. Players and teams can come out of nowhere, defeating the best players and creating the most interesting and dynamic storylines. This is not, "just playing video games."
Gaming is childish and gamers are nerds - I hear those phrases a lot. Other things I hear are statements like "people need to grow up and stop this gaming stuff", "get a real job", "join a real sports team”, or, “ lose weight" People don’t understand that you can build a career out of gaming, and that you can be in good health have a "normal" job and be a Gamer. Based in the notion that gamers are both out-of-shape and uncaring about their health, we feel we can show others that you can game and stay fit, or at least just take care of yourself at the same time.
What are some tips you have for aspiring professional gamers?
Figure out what works for you by asking yourself the right questions. What type of player are you? Do you play better alone or on a team? Use every tool available to you. Players at the top are well-rounded individuals. They know themselves and their teammates. It is extremely important to understand who you are as a person, so you can better push yourself as a player.
Really, I just motivate them by making them see the big picture, and seeing what the final goal looks like. It’s the difference between playing at a high level vs. being a high-tier player, and means being able to say that all those long nights spent playing, the research done to learn and get better at the game, and the sacrifices you made along the way were all worth it, to be on that stage.
And finally, where do you see Esports going, in 5-10 years?
In the next 5-10 years, It will be a massive worldwide industry, more than it already is. We will be seeing careers based around Esports - not only players, but media, coaches, businesses, etc. There will be schools adding Esports to their curriculum. It has already passed the viewership of regular sports. Tournament prize pools are growing bigger and bigger, the scene is becoming much more organized and we are already seeing Esports related scholarships. In fact, organizations are creating Esports youth programs for high schools and below. It is already this way in countries like South Korea, and the United States will be playing catch-up for the next couple of years until Esports is taken seriously here.
It is on its way to becoming the biggest, most-viewed sport in the world, I truly believe that. I see this like any major sport, that took some time to build up in popularity. Professional Esports is a relatively new thing, and yet numbers show that some of these events that are showing are surpassing NBA final view count, MLS numbers, and many more. There is no reason in my mind why this won’t just keep growing in numbers each year.
With its already vast popularity increasing, it’s clear that Esports are here to stay. Thanks again to both Lumen and Rey, for both their insight and their wisdom!
Crescent Esports: https://crescentesports.com/
Lumen's Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lulumeister
PWR Gaming: https://pwrgaming.com/
Rey's Twitter: https://twitter.com/Rey_PWRGaming
By Adina Puleo