iRU has taken part in the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi

iRU Executive Director Victoria Tarantina spoke at the session "The Cybersports Industry as a Development Path for the IT Industry".
21 february 2019

The Russian Investment Forum 2019 was held on February 13-15 at the Olympic Park Main Media Centre, Sochi. The forum is a key platform for presenting investment and economic potential of the regions. The main theme of the Forum 2019: “National Projects: from Strategy to Action”. The organizer is the Roscongress Foundation.

iRU, one of the leading Russian manufacturers of computer equipment, was represented by Victoria Tarantina, iRU Executive Director, who participated as a speaker at the session "The Cybersports Industry as a Development Path for the IT Industry".

Speakers of that session:

  • Dmitry Smith, President of the Esports Federation of Russia
  • Roman Dvoryankin, General Manager
  • Alexander Prokopiev, State Duma Deputy
  • Victoria Tarantina, iRU Executive Director
  • Olga Ocheretina, Director of Public Relations of PJSC Post Bank
  • Dmitry Kolobov, Director of the Department of Socially Significant Goods Development of the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

The moderator, Head of the Youth Policy Department of MGIMO Stanislav Surovtsev, set the tone for the conversation: "Since becoming an official sport, esport in the modern world and in Russia has ceased to be an entertainment and has developed into an intensive branch of the economy. The volume of this market is estimated at $45 million, and it continues to grow – the forecast for 2019 is $53 million". The participants continued the discussion and noted that esport is a legitimate sport along with football, hockey and other sports. Well-known clubs formed in the country have become legitimate business units with all the necessary infrastructure. The team Virtus.Pro with dedicated fans and top places in international competitions is widely known in Russia and abroad (note: iRU had previously supported the team as a technical partner for several years). Then the speakers discussed the economic prospects of the Russian cybersports industry and noted that esport was not only in the focus of attention of general public and business but also the executive and legislative bodies, moreover, it started influencing the IT industry as a whole.

Then the moderator Stanislav Surovtsev directed the discussion towards the esports equipment production and industry: "Victoria, what measures of State support seem necessary to localize the production of computer equipment and peripherals?"

Victoria Tarantina"As a business representative, I want to highlight issues on the economics of the esport. Many segments involved in it make real money: game creators earn by selling games and related options; tournament organizers earn on sponsorship packages and by selling broadcast rights to channels; streaming platforms earn on broadcasting and advertising; even bookmakers earn by accepting our bets. How can the manufacturers of such equipment make money? They have no ways to do this, and the situation is the same in Russia and throughout the world. Esports equipment is not only computer equipment and accessories but also chairs in which players can train and compete with comfort. Manufacturers are currently involved in the economics of esport as sponsors and this is the only opportunity for us to present ourselves to players, both professionals and those who are just preparing to become a professional. Thus, we announce ourselves, show our capabilities, talk about technical advantages of our products – and this is our business for now. Sponsorship of esport is rather brand building for us, we do not see monetization to the extent we see it from advertising campaigns that we initiate ourselves: gifts in the form of codes for games, t-shirts with logos of famous games. I believe that the support of equipment manufacturers is an economic task on which I would like to focus the attention of the Government.

We monitor esports venues and divide them into stationary ones, where regular gaming events on the same equipment are held, and temporary ones, where tournaments are organized – today it may be this place, tomorrow – Barnaul, the day after tomorrow – Novosibirsk, and these venues may not be used for future events. That is, in the absence of permanent training facilities, cyber sportsmen develop their skills at home, perhaps on the PCs built by sportsmen themselves. It is an overall objective for us to "transfer" cyber sportsmen from their houses to a professionally equipped training facility for the development of the cybersports industry.

Regarding the development of our own domestic production of computer hardware, I want to note that gaming computer is a standard PC but more productive, with a fast graphics card, and in accordance with Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 719 it shall be localized (with the motherboard of domestic origin).

Esport is not regulated by the State, and public procurement is not carried out within the industry under Federal laws No. 44-FZ and 223-FZ, so we can’t bet on players with our domestic equipment because the investments in technological developments are large but the market is not as large as Southeast Asia, that's why the cost of domestic gaming PC is uncompetitive. Maintaining price equality for a wide segment of players is one of the future tasks we need to think about. To invest in the development of graphics cards will be difficult for at least a few more years because the developers of the chips are much faster than our research and development specialists".

Stanislav Surovtsev: "Victoria, can you see the market when deciding on the development of domestic graphics card?"

Victoria Tarantina: "As I've said before, it is difficult to keep up with the production of graphics cards, so we have yet to see the market. If esport will be taught in schools and universities as a sports discipline, nothing will prevent us from assessing it and, in case of good prospects, investing in its development, including the development of graphics cards, because it can give us additional weight in the share of iRU domestic products."

During the session, the speakers also talked about the prospects for manufacturers at the stages of development of school and student esports leagues, on measures for supporting business in relation to esport; specific cases on the investment of banking structures in that direction were given.

The total number of forum participants in all categories (including exhibitors and media representatives) amounted to more than 8,000 delegates (30% more than in 2018): leading economists and businessmen, experts and consultants, journalists and exhibitors, heads of major domestic and foreign companies, representatives of federal and regional authorities. The forum was attended by representatives from over 65 foreign countries. The most numerous delegations (officials and business representatives) were from the following countries: USA (115), Switzerland (49), UK (38), France (36), Germany (35), Italy (25), China (25), Netherlands (20), Japan (16).

As part of the business program, 71 events were held, at which, according to the Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Forum Dmitry Kozak, "the whole range of national projects – from industry support to social issues – was discussed". At sessions, round tables, business breakfasts, in the case-zone, they talked about the key performance indicators of national projects and the influence of their implementation on the development of the Russian economy and the quality of life of Russians in 2018-2024. More than 530 speakers, experts and moderators provided professional discussions at panel sessions and round tables. During the forum 567 agreements and letters of intent were signed.

The text has been prepared with the use of the official materials of the forum.

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