That we are now talking about a person-to-person (P2P) betting exchange for eSports shows the degree to which the eSports gambling sector is evolving at a pace. PVP.ME is undoubtedly catching a wave with its offering, particularly given the recent news with regard to skin gambling, and so GamCrowd caught up with c-founder Yurk Kolesnik, the company’s chief executive, to discuss the product and what he sees as the opportunities ahead. One thing is clear about PVP.ME – it is a company run by gamers with, as Kolesnik says, 1000s of hours of playing time between him and the company’s other three founders under their collective belts. He says the company’s goal is to make watching eSports “more entertaining and exciting and drastically boost passion and viewers’ involvement”. This is how he plans on doing it:
GamCrowd: How do you think the eSports market is developing?
Yury Kolesnik: The fact that eSports is becoming mainstream, getting broadcasts on national TVs and attracting sponsors outside of gaming scene is great. However, lots of gamers think that being mainstream will make eSports worse. Streamers already have to change their style to facilitate specific standards of TV. Because of this attempts to go mainstream, gamers have to sacrifice their watching experience. Some other people fear that games may become more casual in order to attract this new audience of non-gamers. So in general, I think that it’s important to save the initial spirit of eSports that made it huge and understand the fact, that eSports will never be the same as traditional sports, such as football or basketball.
GamCrowd: Why do you think person-to-person betting is particularly suited to eSports?
Yury Kolesnik: It has advantages both in terms of product and audience. P2P puts much less stress on the company for live betting, because in eSports it’s so difficult to predict the game flow. Even now after almost a year of eSports being mainstream and bets offered by huge bookmakers, like Betway, the live-betting experience for users is kind of ‘meh’. Markets are paused most of the time and even closed at the middle of the game. Our biggest challenge is to make bets matched as fast as possible during live games simply because of rapidly changing odds. We use our system of bots, creating virtual liquidity for these small changes, that helps to increase the amount of matched bets during the game. As for the audience, gamers are competitive by nature. They play eSports because of competitive spirit, to win and to be better than their opponent. People feel more safe betting versus other players, because service is not directly interested in them losing the bet and it always more exciting to win money from another player then from faceless company. We are working on making betting process more competitive and fun, so players felt like playing a game versus other players and had more fun winning and more desire to comeback after losing.
GamCrowd: Why have you chosen to base your operation out of Curacao?
Yury Kolesnik: We started the company without significant financial backing and wanted to first develop the service, test business-model and collect feedback from our users. That’s why we chose the most cost-effective option for us - Curacao. At the moment it covers most of our needs. We also had to register company in Cyprus in order to be able to work with some payment systems in Europe.
GamCrowd: What do you hope to get out of the show?
Yury Kolesnik: We are looking for partners who will help us to achieve our fundraising goals. But we also interested in networking and finding companies to create potential synergies with.
GamCrowd: What are the company’s future plans? How do you think eSports P2P betting will develop generally?
Yury Kolesnik: Our mission is to make watching video games even more fun and increase people involvement. We will increase number of covered games, as well as amount of markets. We plan to partner with gaming communities to bring betting to their favorite games and even organise tournaments. We want to create a place, where people go to have fun watching video games and to compete with other players based on their game sense and knowledge. But we don’t want to stop on tournaments only, there are also streamers with huge audience, and we want to make their watching experience even more passionate. We are working on specific bets for stream audience to get them more engaged and on the other hand, attract more viewers to the stream.