Esports UK: The State of Play

Esports is a global phenomenon and it’s only going to get bigger – and there’s few people who would now disagree with that statement. While the biggest titles may bring together such disparate locales as Sweden and Shanghai – it’s the sector’s growth in the UK that’s of most interest to us. So we got in touch with a handful of the people who are guiding its evolution in the UK to see just how fast it’s growing and what opportunities there are.

Click the links to head over to the interviews on Esports Pro.

Gfinity’s head of partner relations Martin Wyatt discusses why the UK “is a sleeping giant in the world of esports”


A key issue across most of our discussions was that the UK needs to grow its grassroots community. That means building bigger communities around games and getting kids playing earlier and in a more organised manner. But it’s not just players the scene needs, it needs content creators too, streamers, shoutcasters and production staff who know the sector.

The ESL is among the longest-running esports organisations in the world. We talk to its UK chief, James Dean, about its operations in the UK and the opportunities for publishers

National leagues

Building up strong national leagues is equally important, those leagues have to provide an incubator for the best talent and allow them eventually to access higher tiers of international competition. National leagues also help build a talent base and infrastructure in the UK, so that we can cover these leagues professionally.

How can the UK compete at the highest level? We talk to Chester King, founder and acting CEO of the British Esports Association

Console vs PC

Many of our interviewees felt the UK was historically strong in console esports, and that it may have held the UK back in terms of competitiveness, but the main growth area was now PC gaming. While some felt that the division meant there was even more potential growth in the UK, with both markets being addressable.

Craig Fletcher is arguably the UK’s esports veteran, having clocked up 20 years at Multiplay – But what’s next for the company and the sector?


Most felt that the UK was somewhat lagging behind in esports – at least compared to countries such as Germany, Poland and parts of the Nordics. Some expect growth to be steady rather than explosive, but no one saw anything but sustained long-term growth for the sector.

Michele Attisani had been gaming competitively for 15 years before co-founding competitive games outfit Faceit. In his mind, the competitive scene in the UK is “definitely” growing fast.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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