The following is Part 2 of a two-part interview with Evan Frasca, Marketing Specialist for the Philadelphia Fusion. In case you haven’t checked out Part 1, you can give it a read here.
JY: Now, gaming is evolving at a rapid pace. Where do you think we’ll end up eventually? Will we see something like Ready Player One?
EF: One thing people gloss over is the fact that while esports is huge and it’s still growing, it’s still in the early stages of its life cycle. Obviously, regulation is a huge pillar that I think people tend not to think about and how that’s going to end up happening whether the trend of franchise leagues continues to be the future or not.
What I would love to see is more availability in terms of esports frameworks. Right now, there’s a path being crafted for how you become a professional gamer. What I think will be interesting is how more normalized approaches to that start to appear.
Co-ops or internships that allow you to develop professional skills relating to being a competitive gamer.
Philadelphia Fusion Marketing Specialist Evan Frasca (Photo credit: Robert Paul for Blizzard Entertainment)
JY: Things like going to school for statistical analytics and then branch off as a specialist in MOBA analytics or FPS analytics?
EF: All kinds of diversification like that. That’s probably the first example most people will think of in terms of tying a traditional education into gaming.
Even more casual than that, though, it could be more specific things that you could take to become a pro. Classes that help augment a player’s perspective on being a pro. All of that is super interesting to me.
JY: With how quick gaming and culture evolves, and we see that reflected in what’s popular in games, is that good or bad for the industry and how does it affect you in terms of building the brand and engagement?
EF: I think it’s definitely a good thing. There are changes that are happening in terms of the culture that may not be as favorable as others — that being said, what I love about what’s happening currently is we're kind of at the point where much of traditional audiences are absorbing it at the same time and at an accelerated rate.
People are experiencing what it’s like to blend aspects of pop culture with gaming and esports at a really fast rate. Music, fashion, food, and anime. All of the changes are really hard to take in as they come because they’re so massive, but the really cool thing is that they’re all happening at once.
JY: A couple of questions about the World Health Organization gaming disorder classification. As kids are more and more influenced by pro players and streamers, how do we draw that line between passion and obsession?
EF: It is exactly as you said. Drawing that line and finding the balance. It is exceptionally important for parents to identify digital trends that their kids are becoming aware of. Whether it’s gaming, Snapchat, or Tic Tok.
I’m not saying parents need to moderate and take charge of every single thing, but when you identify something your kids are passionate about, that’s when you need to step in and ask: How do we harness this passion? How do create a healthy environment to develop this passion? The parents need to be able to take a moment and ask why their kid loves this or that. They need to engage with them and understand and learn about it. That will shape the path for them to keep their kids safe and healthy.
JY: That speaks a lot to the responsibility of a parent, but what about players, teams, and organizations? Do they have a responsibility to be a good role model?
EF: Absolutely. For the Fusion, we pride ourselves on being a super diverse team. A team that is available for anyone of any given background to resonate with.
When it comes down to expressing priorities around mental health or physical health — there was an initiative on Twitter about spreading mental health awareness. It takes two seconds for us to write that tweet and put out that hashtag. That might not mean anything to a typical viewer, but to someone who is experiencing issues like that it can really resonate with them.
Going back to the gaming disorder, which obviously there’s a massive buzz around that, for me, I would not go out of my way to say that’s a legitimate disorder or something that you need to be careful of. What you do need to be careful of is letting your child or family take something and run with it to the point that you can’t control or be there for them anymore.
As long as the people in your family care about you and care to learn about the things you love, that’s what we want to spread as a team. We want to say: these kids are doing this and your kids can, too. It’s up to you and the teams to set the standard for which you can follow that path.
JY: Any final thoughts for readers and Fusion fans out there?
EF: Thanks to our sponsors and our amazing fans. We’re really excited for the second half of the season and really excited for the grand finals, and we’re even more excited to get to Philly real soon.