In response to requests from its members, the BIU has created a new association, eSports.BIU, to strengthen its involvement in the area of e-sports as a key topic for the future. The members of BIU.Dev, BIU.Net and the BIU plan to work together to further establish e-sports in Germany. For instance, they aim to get e-sports officially recognised as a form of sport and to simplify the visa process for e-sports athletes. Additionally, the BIU plans to place greater emphasis on the issue of e-sports in its political communication in order to raise awareness of the sector’s enormous potential. eSports.BIU sees itself as a central point of contact regarding e-sports issues, for representatives from society and the political sphere.
Any companies that are heavily involved in e-sports production can sign up to eSports.BIU. eSports.BIU will also serve as a platform for regular discussions with e-sports teams and clans and with other e-sports stakeholders.
The objectives of eSports.BIU
- Enhancing the relevance and image of e-sports among the relevant target groups, especially generally interested parties, politicians, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB), sponsors and sports rights holders
- Official recognition of e-sports as a form of sport
- Proactive support for the world of e-sports in the following areas:
- Decision-making processes in the sector
- Market research
- Improving the general conditions (e.g. official recognition of the sector’s non-profit status under tax law and simplified visa process)
- Networking of politics and sponsors
- Local promotion of young talent and support for the amateur level
- Regionalisation of e-sports (e.g. German national team)
- Michael Haenisch (Freaks 4U Gaming)
- Thomas Jaskiewicz (Ubisoft)
- Oliver Keller (Microsoft)
- Martin Lorber (Electronic Arts)
- Jan Pommer (ESL)
- Tom Putzki (Wargaming)
- Marc Schnell (Riot Games)
Who can join eSports.BIU?
eSports.BIU is an association through which BIU – Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware (Germany’s Federal Association of Interactive Entertainment Software) is responding to its members’ demands for more eSports activities – an area of great future significance. Members of the BIU.Dev and BIU.Net network platform and BIU members who play a significant role in the production of eSports – as developers of eSports titles or as organisers of eSports events, for instance – can join eSports.BIU. There are plans for regular round-table discussions for other actors involved in the eSports ecosystem and for eSports clans and teams that are not members of eSports.BIU.
What are the main differences between eSports.BIU and the World Esports Association (WESA)?
The members of eSports.BIU have a mission: to work towards establishing eSports more firmly as a sector in Germany. The idea is to work together to achieve recognition of eSports as an official sport and simplified visas for eSports athletes. One of the aims of WESA (World Esports Association) is to bring greater structure to eSports internationally, for instance through predictable schedules for fans, players, organisers and broadcasters, through general league guidelines and rules on profit sharing. This means that WESA’s work has a greater focus on the concrete aspects of how eSports leagues and events are run, whereas eSports.BIU also looks at the conditions in Germany.
Does the BIU plan to become active beyond Germany as well?
The BIU – Bundesverband Interaktive Unterhaltungssoftware is the association of the German computer and video games industry. Its main aim is to make Germany a top global location for the development and production of games. In the area of eSports too, the BIU’s priority is to shape eSports in Germany and to improve conditions – in a similar way to the national improvements being implemented in France and the UK.
What are the biggest challenges to obtaining official recognition of e-sports?
Whether eSports will be recognised as an official sport in Germany is the subject of much discussion. While countries like the Netherlands, South Korea, Sweden, Bulgaria and the UK already have eSports associations, and electronic sports recently won official recognition in Russia, there is still resistance to the idea in Germany, for example from the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) in Frankfurt. Yet eSports already meet many of the DOSB’s criteria for official sports.
The physical and mental demands of competitive games like Dota and Counter-Strike are similar to the demands of other sports disciplines. And ethical values like fair play and equal opportunities are also fundamental to eSports.
In addition, the organisational structures in eSports are similar to those found in classic sports. For instance, not only do electronic tournaments differentiate between professionals and amateurs, but the teams and clans play in different leagues, are organised into associations and sponsored by businesses. As with official sports, the competitions are about winning titles and prize money. Ultimately, the continual professionalisation of eSports, the tournaments that attract tens of thousands of viewers and the huge media interest make eSports a sport that appeals to the public.