This week we interviewed the APAC Chief Marketing Officer of Lenovo, the $45 billion hardware giant, about the company’s esports engagement. Each day we will update readers on the progress, regress, and distress of launching the Limbonauts esports organisation, along with the process of bringing a Paladins league to Australia

On Thursday we interviewed Bhaskar Choudhuri the Asia Pacific CMO of Lenovo, and touched on the company’s involvement in esports.

Lenovo is a big supporter of esports, and that’s hardly surprising as the sport is one of the biggest platforms for gaming hardware, Choudhuri told us.

“It’s inescapable for us. Gaming is no longer a niche. When you look at some of the successes of the recent gaming titles it is becoming significantly mainstream.”

Bhaskar Choudhuri, CMO Lenovo APAC.

According to Choudhuri, Lenovo’s take on esports starts with asking ‘how can we participate as a credible partner within that ecosystem?’ And he noted that many young people see a real opportunity to build a career in esports.

“We engage significantly with game developers,” he said.

Lenovo is also well along the process of building an Asia-wide tournament called The Legion of Champions — yeah it’s a bit bigger than our League!

Now up to series three, the tournament includes players from Thailand, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Vietnam, with both Lenovo and Intel on board as sponsors.

Careers in esports

Part of the process of building the League involved dedicated workshops for people who are interested in careers in gaming — especially since, as he noted, many actual gamers have very short gaming careers.

The workshops included influencers and casters coming in to talk about their experiences beyond their own gamer days. “It is an emerging proposition, but it’s such an interesting and fascinating one.”

Building momentum

It was a slow few days day within the organisation. The Paladins team played on Friday night and came third in the country — which was good.

The Overwatch team, meanwhile, practised as they have a grand final coming up on Saturday night and they have a good opportunity to move up a division or two if they win.

In terms of building out the Paladins Oceanic Pro League, we have had some more attention and interest from some public relations people, and also from freelance writers. A few more organisations have also indicated that they want to get into the competition, and a few more Paladins teams have formed and have started practicing for the League, which kicks off next week.

To that end we have have already paired up a few teams. And we are hoping to announce two more teams have joined — hopefully tonight.

We’ve also been trying to engage with Hi-Rez to see if it can give us some extra help around things like social amplification.

At this stage we expect we will have more than the eight teams we were initially hoping for.

We also used the day setting up the How To Build an Esports Org pages on Which-50, where we will spend the next few weeks and months recording our experiences — warts and all — of building an esports organisation and launching a League.

From Which-50’s perspective, the goal is to learn about esports and to understand the mechanics of the sector — along with the motivations of players, fans, and market participants. We figured it would be more interesting to do this from the inside, than to take a traditional journalistic approach.

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