Breaking from indie retail into eSports: interview with Am2Pro MD Carl Moore

Former ThatGameShop owner Carl Moore is breaking into the pro-gaming market with his latest venture, eSports outlet Am2Pro. MCV caught up with Moore to find out more

Can you please give a brief overview of Am2Pro and what it offers to consumers?

Am2Pro differentiates itself from its competitors as we offer a one-stop-shop for gamers.

We retail gaming merchandise, provide online tournaments and host community LAN events.

Currently, no other company out there provides this much in-house for its customers.

Why did you decide to get involved in the UK eSports market?

Am2Pro was originally started to retail gaming merchandise.

Whilst in initial investigation of the gaming market, we stumbled across the eSports community and were fascinated by the amount of teams and companies that were backing it.

We felt it was a natural progression for Am2Pro to grow alongside eSports, which is one of the largest growing industries.

What is the current state of the UK eSports scene?

It has grown rapidly over the past 12 months offering more events than ever before.

Compared to regions such as the USA, the UK and Europe are in their infancy.

We feel that retailers and other games firms can help increase awareness and team progression in regards to the attitude, maturity and professionalism required to succeed within eSports.

We hope to champion these values as we further grow our business.

What are the main barriers left to mainstream eSports acceptance in the UK?

Unfortunately a lot of this falls down to the attitude of gamers.

A lot of pro teams get the level of professionalism required to run their team or organisation, and this is how they are able to bring in corporate sponsors.

The amateur side, however, has a number of gamers that are still learning the ropes, and do not yet realise that their actions repel corporate entities who look into the eSports sector.

This is further fuelled by a high number of teams that have a large turnover of players.

Am2Pro is going up against some major established firms in the UK eSports event market (Gfinity, Multiplay etc.). How do you hope to compete? What do you offer that these firms do not?

Am2Pro does not aim to compete against the companies you’ve listed. We simply aim to work alongside them to help the growth of the UK and European eSports community.

For example, our first LAN event headline sponsor was Multiplay, which proves both our companies are supporting the scene by working together.

We recently held the UK’s largest Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Xbox One tournament.

Despite having only been trading since March 2014, and this being their first LAN event, we managed to attract 66 eSports teams.

We are overwhelmed by this, and thank our customers and the community wholeheartedly for their support.

What are the most popular pro-gaming titles in the UK at the moment?

We are currently only looking at console games, however we will be looking into PC titles for our other LANs.

In regards to console gaming the most popular are: FIFA, Halo and Call of Duty.

Call of Duty appears to be the main eSports title. However, it appears to be far more popular in the American and European regions compared to the UK.That said, the UK is catching up in this scene.

How can retailers and other games firms get involved with the UK eSports market?

Retailers need to be more aware of the eSports community, and the events and opportunities that it provides.

Companies and teams that work alongside each other with a professional working relationship will see growth within this scene.

What’s next for Am2Pro?

There are lots of plans in the pipeline – unfortunately, we can’t give any of these away right now.

However, we will have lots of surprises landing across 2015, and our social media outlets, like Twitter for instance, will be amongst the first avenues we will use to announce them.

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