BUSINESS

Yury Kolesnik: Gambling industry finally acknowledges eSports scene

TAGs: CAI, eSports, PVP.ME, Yury Kolesnik

In this interview with CalvinAyre.com’s Becky Liggero, PVP.ME co-founder & CEO Yury Kolesnik talks about what goes on behind the scenes to make their product innovative.

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No one would have thought that a community of video gamers would become a multi-million dollar industry. Back in the early 1970s, gamers at Stanford University decided to hold a competition called “Intergalactic Spacewar Olympics” for the game Spacewar. Instead of a pot of money, the winners of that competition took home a one-year Rolling Stone magazine subscription.

More than four decades have passed since that first eSports tournament and these multiplayer video game competitions grew into a $500-million industry in 2016, with almost 150 million occasional viewers and followers.

The rise of eSports’ popularity also attracted several gaming operators who were looking for new revenue streams and younger demographics. Yury Kolesnik, CEO of PVP.ME, a startup betting exchange that offers in-play betting for video games, noted that the gambling industry has started to acknowledge the potential of the eSports industry. Kolesnik likened the popularity of eSports to Bitcoin, with everybody now trying to get on board.

“Well I think, finally, the eSports scene is becoming acknowledged by the gambling industry, its potential, the growth, the audience. It is really nice because a few years ago, when we are talking to people, nobody knew anything about eSports,” Kolesnik told CalvinAyre.com. “We start talking to people and they said ‘video games are for nerds, come on! You can’t make money on it.’ But now, with this growth, more and more people are trying to get on board. It is like Bitcoin, in some sense, so finally eSports won something.”

PVP.Me was recognized as the winner of Summit of iGaming Malta (SiGMA) Start-up Pitch 2017, beating 99 other innovative offerings during the event. PVP.Me’s award is a testament that the gambling industry is starting to notice the eSports scene, according to Kolesnik.

“Actually, not that hard. The thing is we are one of the few eSports start-ups trying to go on public, advertising everywhere, going to all of these events. Some are keeping a low profile, maybe because of the stigma of gambling on kids. We are strictly 18-years plus by the way, so no-no kids gambling,” the PVP.ME CEO said. “Hopefully it helps us attract investments because that’s what we are looking for. We’ve got amazing metrics, we proved that our product is really popular, people want it.”

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