Esports Leaders Talk Overwatch, Call of Duty and the Evolution of the Esports Industry

OverActive Media (OAM), the esports organization behind the Overwatch League’s Toronto Defiant team, hosted their first OAM UpFront event in downtown Toronto on the evening of May 16. OAM recently purchased team Splyce, acquired a spot in the upcoming Call of Duty franchised league, and received an investment from rapper The Weeknd.

The event, called “Esports: The Modern Cultural Revolution” featured industry leaders such as OverActive Media CEO Chris Overholt, Splyce co-founder Marty Strenczewilk, and Johanna Faries, who is the head of the Call of Duty World League.

Panel speakers included Toronto Defiant head coach Lee “Bishop” Beom-joon, Overwatch streamer and influencer Nathan “KarQ” Chan, Splyce co-founder Marty Strenczewilk, and Splyce Call of Duty player Daniel “Loony” Loza.

As the first keynote speaker, Overholt showcased how esports has changed over the years when it comes to traditional media outlets like television and magazines. The video that was played at the beginning of the presentation highlighted how traditional news organizations were skeptics about the esports industry.

However, Overholt explained how that is changing, especially when it comes to games being broadcast on ABC and how Overwatch player Geguri was recently featured on TIME Magazine.

“There is a massive opportunity that has been growing over some time now, and all of us at OverActive Media are very, very excited to be involved in it and bringing it to you today,” Overholt said.

Overholt then emphasized how there is an audienced for esports that can’t be denied. He referenced games like Starcraft and World of Warcraft, and noted how YouTube and Twitch audiences have grown to eclipse some traditional media outlets.

Similar to Overholt, Johanna Faries, the head of the Call of Duty World League, also explained her background in traditional sports. She added how esports “…has the potential to eclipse what we all know about traditional sports right now.”

Nathan “KarQ” Chan, who was recruited as a streamer for Toronto Defiant, was also a featured speaker at the event.

“I started off playing Overwatch casually, and I basically made videos for gaming my whole life just as a hobby,” KarQ said. He then added that his Overwatch videos on YouTube and Twitch gained numerous viewers, which played a part in his role as a community leader and how he got recruited as a streamer for Toronto Defiant.

The head coach of Toronto Defiant himself, Lee “Bishop” Beom-joon, told the audience about how he played competitively before he took on his current role. He added that he’s confident that the team can turn things around in Stage 3 of the Overwatch League.

Marty Strenczewilk, the CEO and co-founder of Splyce, was equally passionate about shadowing his love for video games. He explained how his gamer name, “Lazerchickenzzz” was inspired by Moonkin in World of Warcraft.

Strenczewilk detailed how he found himself playing World of Warcraft, helping run tournaments, and making guides. He also said he helped with startups while raising three children and having a full-time job.

He said how Splyce started out as a side project between his roommate and himself and didn’t know it was going to be so accomplished. “But here we are today” he added.

One of Splyce’s Call of Duty players, Daniel “Loony” Loza, shared with the audience how he started playing the game around 2006 and 2007. He also talked about wanting a competitive edge, the drive to win and be the best, as well as how he and his brother played online together.

Approximately 200 guests consisting of marketers, brands, and media personnel were gathered at the OverActive Media’s UpFront event, and the organization itself continues to grow and shape the esports industry.


Image Via: EsportsObserver