Expertise in the art of the experience has never had a higher premium, as venues and tournament producers continue to ramp up engagement tactics that sometimes need to last for weeks. Meanwhile, DreamHack, founded in 1994 as a BYOC LAN party, continues to evangelize the digital festival, featuring multiple esports competitions, live music, exhibitions, creative competitions, LAN party, cosplay and more, with the company reporting over 310,000 visitors in 2018. Cynopsis Esports asked Anna Nordlander, COO of DreamHack about the company’s goals moving forward.
Nordlander on lessons learned: Overall the lessons for us are primarily about continuing to evolve and offer our visitors the best experience possible. There are two routes here. For our standalone esports events (like DreamHack Masters and the just completed CORSAIR DreamLeague Dota 2 Major we hosted in Stockholm), we’re focusing on enhancing the visitor experience so it’s not just about sitting and watching gameplay. We’re trying to make the show a lot more engaging by implementing more interactivity and participation. This is primarily done through both the DreamHack App we have developed ourselves, having an onstage host interacting just with the audience on-site, as well as developing new features in our broadcast for both the on-site and online viewers. For our festival events, we are primarily focusing on branching out even further to reach new audiences and new communities. Good examples of this would be our expansion into mobile gaming with the DreamHack Mobile Series, and themed music nights, like the Metal Night we’re hosting at DreamHack Dallas featuring Trivium.
On 2019 goals: Our goals are simply to continue growing both our event attendance and online viewership. We have really established ourselves in the US now, and for 2019 we are adding two new events in Brazil and The Netherlands, and aim to start strong in both those regions and carry that momentum forward.
On reinvention: We feel we’re constantly in a process of reviewing and re-inventing ourselves, we are trying to make sure that our festival events are always featuring the most interesting content for gaming and esports fans. Our focus is to branching out into more diverse activities areas that are all connected by the umbrella of gaming, meaning our event visitors will have seen a bigger focus on art, indie games, collegiate and more broad genres of gaming than just PC gaming (eg, mobile, console, VR).
On key activations: With Com Hem we set a new world record for DreamHack Summer 2018. Com Hem delivered a connection to DreamHack with a speed of 1.6 terabits per second. The record got established by Guinness World Records as the fastest Internet connection ever used simultaneously by a larger group of people.
We also had a great and a bit unconventional activation with Fortum, one of the largest electricity suppliers in Sweden, during DreamHack Masters in Stockholm 2018. To catch the audience attention we faked a power outage during the opening ceremony when the arena was full of people and then played a video showing the importance of electricity within esports.
On new territories: There is a huge amount of interest globally that we see for festival events in gaming and esports, it’s hard to pinpoint a region specifically but we’re looking closely at all of Asia, especially China, as well as other markets a bit closer to home like California, and the UK.