In the third and final part of our interview with British host and esports personality Paul ‘Redeye’ Chaloner, we asked him about his views on how Brexit is affecting esports and whether auto chess can make it as a successful esport.
You can read part 1 on Luckbox and esports betting here and part 2 on UK esports here.
What are your thoughts on Brexit and how that’s affecting esports in the UK?
I’m going to put my cards on the table – I didn’t want us to leave Europe. I wanted us to stay involved because it affects my job heavily, it affects esports heavily and the people I employ heavily.
So for me it’s a very negative thing, but I respect that the slight majority won out and I just want to either get on with it or cancel it. Do one or the other now, we’ve messed around for too long.
The uncertainty is definitely costing us money as an agency, and it’s definitely frustrating from a talent point of view as well. Is talent still going to be able to go backwards and forwards from the UK, from Europe? We don’t know. And honestly, they don’t really know.
They think that it will be okay, but that makes it much harder when Ben [Woodward, Code Red Esports co-founder] is starting to book events for after October and we’ve got plenty of European people on our books that are saying to us: ‘Well, do I need a visa to come after that?’
I don’t know and we don’t know. And the Government doesn’t know.
That’s very uncertain – and that uncertainty causes a lot of stress and a lot of grief, in an industry, which is still growing.
“Auto chess is great to compete in and play casually with friends. It’s easy to enter and hard to master,but the problem is it’s not that fun to watch.”
Outgoing Culture Minister Margot James has been supportive of esports over the past year or so. What are your thoughts on what she’s done?
Margot James (who has now stepped down) has been very supportive of our industry, very supportive of growing UK esports and very committed to it as well. We’re starting to see the fruits of that with Weavr coming through and I’m sure we’ll see more projects come through as well.
My frustration with the culture ministry is that it’s too slow – and these wheels do turn slow in government.
There is a frustration for me – I feel that we could be a centre of excellence for esports. Not just in Europe but in the world. We could be a fantastic place for esports, we could offer tremendous incentives for companies to come here, such as publishers and developers, esports companies and teams, players and player houses and centres of excellence… training facilities etc.
I think we could be unbelievably well positioned. We’re effectively right in the middle of the world in terms of time zones. We’re in the perfect place to get to North America in seven or eight hours, to get to Asia in seven or eight hours and to get to Africa in seven or eight hours. We are literally in the middle of the esports world right now, why the hell are we not taking advantage of that when we could do?
So I’ll keep on at them. But we need to get Brexit sorted because without that, we just don’t know how to go forward after that. Where do we go? What direction do we go in? We don’t know.
So I just want this to be done and then we can start moving in on making the UK a fantastic esports destination.
“I feel that the UK could be a centre of excellence for esports. But we need to get Brexit sorted because without that, we just don’t know how to go forward. Things are very uncertain – and that uncertainty causes a lot of stress and a lot of grief in an industry which is still growing.”
The auto chess genre has been on the rise lately, what with Dota Auto Chess, Dota Underlords and Teamfight Tactics proving popular. What are your thoughts on this genre?
Generally speaking, it’s popular casually but the problems that always come with these kind of games – and they include things like the card game genre – is that it’s very difficult to make it a decent esport that people want to watch.
I think auto chess has a very similar problem. It’s great to compete in and it’s great to play casually with friends. It’s got a huge learning curve in it, which is fabulous. It’s easy to enter and hard to master, so it ticks the boxes of being a successful esport, but the problem is it’s not that fun to watch. And that’s always been the issue with card games as well.
Unless you’re a hardcore fan and want to learn from the players that are playing, it’s inherently not that interesting.
This is people sitting in chairs mulling over what to do next in turn-based scenarios. Now, none of those games have ever worked as esports in the past. So if it does, I would be surprised, but I’d also be pleasantly surprised because it is a fun game.
Paul was speaking to Esports News UK about the upcoming launch of Luckbox, which recently added eight new games to its betting platform.
Dom is an award-winning writer who graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.
As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.