With the NBA 2K eLeague getting closer and closer, details on the tournament keep on emerging. Grant Paranjape, the new Director of esports for Monumental Sports & Entertainment, and Zach Leonsis, Senior VP and General Manager of Monumental Sports Network hosted an AMA session on Reddit to let players from all over the world asking questions on the new eLeague.
— Grant Paranjape (@Keiranthil) October 16, 2017
Here follow the most interesting parts from the session.
There are currently no news regarding the platform the tournament will be played on, but there were more confirmations regarding the studio where the play will actually happen. “This hasn’t been decided yet, as a league we’re working through the pros/cons of the various platforms (including PC) and how they’ll affect player performance. Hopefully will have more to share on that soon, but we’re definitely aware of how players’ controller preferences could impact their competitive performance. The studio will completely equipped for players to play in, you will not have to provide your own console. Having everything played out of a central studio ensures that nothing will get in the way of creating the most competitive environment for the players as possible.”
Unfortunately, there are still many things that are not confirmed, mostly regarding the players’ avatar, the game duration, and the version of the game being used. The tournament, as announced, will run from May through August.
A thing that is of course of high interest among the players is the salary that the eLeague players will receive. Naturally, no exact figures were shared, but it was confirmed once again that “teams will be providing housing + travel and it will not be the players’ responsibilities. From a team perspective, as well as my experience in esports, the salary is very competitive for a relatively new esports title and is enough to be considered a full time careers.”
During the session, Paranjape and Leonsis told several times that social media presence is more than welcome, but also that it won’t directly affect the try-out and draft process. “I think there is no question that [the draft] is an extremely selective process (the numbers tell that story on its own). However, the reason it is so selective is to truly find the best 85 NBA2k players. Social following and exposure will not be the main factors that determine eligibility in the draft, we’re looking for the best players in game, period.”
Only players of legal age (18+) will be allowed to be eligible for the draft. The try-out, as said, is going to be a very selective process so that teams can count on selecting only the best 85 players. “Take-Two is developing a new tryout mode that will be released closer to the Spring, where all players are able to participate in a format that ensures that all players try out on an even playing field. The mode will ensure that we see a players’ true skill level, without attribute enhancements earned from previous gameplay.
From there, we expect to have a clear view of who the best players are and that information will be available to all 17 NBA 2k League teams to decipher and strategize with. Besides skill, we also want to draft players that show great leadership ability, strong work ethic, and an ability to compliment teammates. Chemistry will be critical to team success, so we will seek team-oriented players. It also doesn’t hurt to have a positive presence on social accounts.”
Paranjape and Leonsis also showed to be not worried about the viewership numbers going down for 2K17’s All Star Tournament compared to 2K16’s Road to the Finals: “I think viewership is a tricky subject to touch on without the league having even started yet. We like to remind everyone that you have the most powerful marketing engine in the world (the NBA) and 17 individual teams’ marketing power behind making this successful, and I think they’re going to truly blow people away with what they come up with. In general, the league aims to be its own, successful, esports entity. I think for starters, we want to create the most competitive platform possible and then allow viewership and revenues to come as part of that. For now that’s our focus and we’re very excited with how it’s coming together.”
Another interesting aspect is how potential players should deal with college and work. There shouldn’t really be many difference with the counterpart of real-life players: “I think the best advice I can give is to just find a way to get be involved, even if its something as small as volunteering with an endemic team to help them with writing a business plan or setting up Quickbooks. When you’re applying to positions, having that endemic esports knowledge and experience in invaluable and will be a great addition to your education. For specific opportunities within the 2k league, there will definitely be more to come as the league evolves and grows. I would say brand managers positions and some of the more traditional marketing roles will be crucial as teams look to expand their esports businesses in a cohesive approach that fits with their other franchises.”
It was also discussed the difference between the possibility of being a good basketball player and a good NBA 2K player: “Can we have players who are both highly skilled and also have high basketball IQ? I think these go hand in hand really. In order to be one of the best players in the 2k world, you’re likely going to have a high basketball IQ also (or at least a high NBA 2k IQ). I think that that plays into what we’ve been talking about in terms of being a team-oriented player, that’s able to foster chemistry with teammates. I see these two as being complementary to each other vs. competing in a zero-sum game.”
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