Every day this week will we be releasing part of our interview with Fantic’s Chief Gaming Officer and Counter-Strike legend Patrik “cArn” Sättermon, first up are his thoughts on the new Fnatic store located in central London.
Fnatic is known as one of the largest eSports organisations in the world. They have teams in almost all of the major games, and have won more than a few world championships. The Fnatic logo will forever be associated with the biggest eSports in the world, but what you might not associate it with is a small shop on the corner of a hipster Shoreditch street.
The Fnatic Bunkr is actually quite hard to spot, despite the massive black wall with FNATIC in massive letters, but once you get inside it becomes clear that this is a celebration of all things eSports. Images of Fnatic’s success line the walls, while two ESL One Trophies sit on the shelves. Apparel from other eSports organisations such as Dignitas, Virtus Pro and EnVyUs is also on sale, and the bar area serves up a ton of Monster.
This isn’t just a weird step for an eSports team to open a shop, it’s a weird shop full stop. There is very few products actually on sale, and a lot of the floor space is dedicated to social areas and live streaming set ups. So we caught up with Patrik “cArn” Sättermon, Fantic’s Chief Gaming Officer, to see not only why Fnatic chose to set up shop, but why they aren’t going all out on selling everything they have.
eSports Pro: We're at your pop-up store in Shoreditch. Why is Fnatic doing this, why launch a physical store in central London?
Patrik “cArn” Sättermon: “Why? Maybe a boring answer would be, why not? No, but really, we found a good opportunity. We found a good space here, which is very close to our current headquarters. As many people may know, we now run Fnatic Gear and we are doing a lot of pushing for our merchandise apparel. We feel being here on what we think is a pretty cool shopping street in east London, it made a lot of sense. We’re trying this out for five, six weeks leading into Christmas sales and whatnot.”
eSports Pro: But why set up an actual retail shop, when you could just do a big sale online to sell more merchandise?
cArn” “Yeah, we do not just want to sit on our asses and do e-commerce only and yeah, we want to try new things basically. We try to spread the gospel of eSports. I think in the UK, and I have all the respect for this country I've been living here for many years, we have a bit of work to do when it comes to eSports, when it comes to acceptance from media and sponsors and whatnot, so hopefully this is a good way forward. We have been having a lot of press come over to our store and we have our players coming over later. We're doing a live stream here later tonight and everyone that is in London, if they live here or travel here or whatever, they can come and enjoy some eSports.”
eSports Pro: You touched on it there, you've got players from a few of your teams coming down. How difficult is it to get multiple teams in the same place at the same time?
cArn: “It's not an easy one. Travelling schedule wise for players today compared to a few years back, it's very, very hectic. When they do not travel to a tournament, they might want to bootcamp, they might want to practise from home or there is probably another online qualifier they need to participate in. We were a bit lucky this time around. With League it was a little bit more straightforward as you have a very distinguished off-season, which for us unfortunately and fortunately I suppose, it had been going on for awhile. We crashed out early so it gave us a lot of time to regroup and strategize for next year.”
“The Overwatch guys just happened to be here basically for a tournament, that's kicking off next week. They're now doing bootcamp at FACEIT. Yeah, we just brought everyone here. We are going to see some more Fnatic players and the eSports ambassadors. This is not only for Fnatic, this is for live streamers, casters, players, and everyone else. We try to attract and do cool shit for all sorts of eSports and gaming fans. It's a big culture, there's many sub-genres under it but we want to appeal to them all.”
Tomorrow cArn talks about the Fnatic Overwatch team and the upcoming Overwatch League.