Source - press release
Kazoo today claimed to have become "the UK's first agent for computer gamers", aiming to help pro-gamers find lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals. As they point out, the last couple of years have seen a boom in pro-gaming, with huge tournaments taking place featuring hundreds of players and offering upwards of $100,000 in prize money. But although top players can earn a small fortune in prizes, there is potentially just as much money to be made from sponsorship deals, with games-mad Korea currently leading the way and playing host to large numbers of people who are paid regular salaries to sit around playing Starcraft all day.
"Computer games are the new sport of the 21st century, and computer gamers are going to be the new sports stars", according to Kazoo director Roland Glover. "This is a massive new scene with a huge and passionate youth audience. These gamers are already well known for their skills and as games and tournaments grow in popularity we expect that gamers will one day have the high profile status of footballers. Companies will want to be involved in this as the brand opportunities are huge."
Previous British stars such as Hakeem and Sujoy have already earned themselves sponsorship deals allegedly stretching to six figures, but that was back in 1999 and companies seem to have less money and more sense these days. Pro-gaming also appears to be in something of a slump at the moment, with well publicised problems marring many of the recent large-scale tournaments, and prize money for individual players actually dropping as a result of increased interest in team games like Counter-Strike.
But if Kazoo can make good on their claims then it could give the pro-gaming scene here in the UK a much needed boost. Top players such as Chris "Blokey" Hoare are already mixing it with the best that the likes of America and Sweden can offer, and a steadier income from gaming to allow them to concentrate on honing their skills certainly wouldn't hurt. We'll just have to wait and see if they can pull it off...