Landmark achievements in an unprecedented year
By: Chris Chan, President, Global Esports Federation – Singapore, 16 December 2020.
Today is a special day: the first anniversary of the Global Esports Federation.
It was Monday, 16 December 2019 – a year ago today – that we established the Global Esports Federation at our headquarters in Singapore. From the start, we had a clear mission: to convene the world’s esports ecosystem on one inclusive platform. Everyone together: athletes, players, the world’s publishers, developers, content, technology and institutional partners and sporting organizations.
We set out to promote the credibility, legitimacy and prestige of esports.
We think we have come so very far this first year in achieving just that. All the same, it is exciting to imagine what is to come in the year – and years – ahead.
It is remarkable to think about the giant leaps esports has made in roughly 50 years. In 1972, just three years after Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, students at Stanford held what might be called the first esports event, competing on the video game Spacewar!. As the world burst online in the 1990s, with the now indispensable internet, it connected Planet Earth and made online competitive gaming possible.
Our world, especially now, is full of many uncertainties. One thing, though, seems very certain. Esports will continue to grow. And we are proud to be part of that evolution.
Around the world, this year has been so very challenging for so many.
Yet our ability to convene has been proven. Inspired and guided by the leadership of the GEF Board and more than 100 Commission Members, as well as colleagues who contribute their time and expertise, we have rapidly accelerated engagement with the global esports community. It is true: we are connecting the world through esports.
Today – in just one year – we can already celebrate more than 110 partnerships.
At our worldwide launch, we marked a historic moment for esports, establishing a strong partnership with Tencent as our Founding Global Partner.
In our strategic partnerships since, we have made significant headway in expanding our global footprint — with, among others, the Commonwealth Games Federation, the Olympic Council of Asia and its 45 National Olympic Committees, the Olympic Committees of South America (ODESUR) and the Invictus Games Foundation, founded by The Duke of Sussex.
Of our many global partners, both strategic and commercial, we can proudly say this: each is committed to the universal values of equality, diversity, inclusion, fair play and innovation, and to elevating esports throughout the world.
We have set a pathway in developing initiatives that are in service to the esports community worldwide. For example, the #worldconnected initiative provided the platform to establish the innovative Publishers and Developers Advisory Council (PDAC). There is nothing like it. It is an unprecedented effort.
Over the past few months, we have announced our expansive global events portfolio, including our flagship competitive esports event — the Global Esports Games (GEG), which will be held for the first time in 2021.
Today also marks the start of the inaugural edition of the #worldconnected series (#wcs20), comprising a global collective of esports community events, and GEFcon — the Global Esports Convention — a thought leadership, ideas and innovation incubator, with 14 sessions over two days with 50 speakers from across the globe and thousands of registrants.
Indeed, there is much to celebrate for all our achievements so far.
All the same, our vision to promote a safe, inclusive and healthy esports ecosystem that celebrates and inspires youth remains paramount in all that we do.
It was thus a thrilling moment when world sporting legend Cristiano Ronaldo just days ago lent his voice in support of the Global Esports Federation Performance+ wellness initiative — encouraging responsible esports and promoting optimized performance, wellness and a balanced lifestyle.
Today, a year later, as together with our GEF Board colleagues we take stock, we look to the future.
We believe that the future of esports is very bright and will evolve faster in the next decade than ever before. Esports will become even more exciting, with advances in artificial intelligence and virtual and augmented reality. We are witnessing in real time the convergence of sport and esports. The walls are coming down. The potential to elevate sport through the power of technology is boundless and it is this technology and innovation for good that binds our #worldconnected.
Together, we have achieved so much and yet we have just begun. But what matters most now is what we do next. Thank you for sharing the vision and for helping to bring the Global Esports Federation this far. The best is yet to come.
Congratulations once again. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.