DreamHack is a Swedish production company specializing in eSports tournaments and other gaming conventions. It is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records and Twin Galaxies as being the world's largest LAN party and computer festival with the world's fastest Internet connection, and the most generated traffic.
(XLIVE) Welcome back to the XLIVE Esports Summit, the opening reception here at the rooftop bar at the Ace Hotel. I am joined with my close friend Justin Varghese with DreamHack. Justin, how are you doing tonight?
(Justin Varghese) I'm doing great! It's been really great this opening night just getting to mingle with all the different attendees. It's really wonderful to see the variety of interests in esports as well as the variety of experience. Whether it's somebody that I'm meeting that is incredibly experienced in this space, or somebody who maybe is just looking to learn a little bit more on what's cooking in the world of esports.
Awesome. And you guys just got off of DreamHack Dallas. Tell us a little bit about that.
So DreamHack Dallas was ambitious to say the least. There were a lot of questions going into it. I mean, our first show that we had ever done in the United States was in Austin.
So for us to uproot that show entirely and move it to Dallas for the first year, you know, we had very modest expectations say the least. We took a chance on the city of Dallas and the city of Dallas took a chance on us. Before we even opened the doors it was actually the largest event we had ever done in the western hemisphere. And we did that with one twelfth of the team of last year, and one fifth of the marketing budget of last year as well.
Awesome. Does that mean we're going to see a bigger expansion in the North American area?
Oh yeah. This year for our first show in Dallas, we took over about half a million square feet of Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. When we're talking about the future of DreamHack in Dallas and beyond, for Kay Bailey specifically, we looking at taking over the whole convention center in about three to five years. And that's about a million square feet. And beyond that, we're not talking about just taking over a convention centers, right? We're looking into the future and thinking, well how do we take over entire cities? And really galvanize the entire populace around that and make it so that we have this true end to end experience throughout the city, that's really a celebration of all things gaming and esports.
Amazing. And this is your first time here at XLIVE?
Yeah. First time at XLIVE. It's been great so far. Definitely looking forward to speaking tomorrow.
This is like day 0.5, right? Because it's just the opening reception. But what are some of the things that you're looking to get out of your trip here at XLIVE this week?
You know, one of the things that's always really exciting to me is being able to educate more and more people about the sports space.
I think there's a ton of misconception, and a lot of snake oil salesman who try to connect with you, pass themselves off as experts and then walk away with your money because you just don't know any better.,I think that for this space to grow, it's all about educating the right people, having the right perspective and insights and doing it in an altruistic way that really helps elevate the scene as a whole. Esports as a whole is, it's huge. We're $1 billion industry so far, but this is just still a fraction of gaming as a whole. And I'm really trying to figure out who are the next big movers and shakers that are going to get us not only to the 2 billion marker, but maybe the 200 billion and beyond marker.
Last question for you, Justin. What games are you playing right now?
Oh Man. You know, after DreamHack, Dallas ended we had some mandatory vacation. I got a little bit of R&R, but right now I'm enjoying the Witcher three way too much. That game is way too fun!
And what's your platform of choice?
It's kind of a mixed bag. You know, I started off as a console kid. The Nintendo 64 was my first console. Right now though, it's all about the PC. I love the PC. But I also put in a ton of time on my switch playing all sorts of great games. Even my PS4 gets some love as well. So I'm about it all. I'm gaming agnostic! Everything gaming under one roof. Not only DreamHack's motto, but also the motto in my house as well
And for those that want to follow you on social media and the like, where can they follow you?
It's @Jvarg1990 on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, literally everything.
Awesome. Thank you so much Justin. Thanks for being here, and we're looking forward to hearing you speak tomorrow. For everything XLIVE, follow us here. Click the follow, the like, the subscribe, all that jazz and we'll catch you on the next one.
To learn more about the XLIVE Esports Summit, visit esports.xlivecon.com