Photo by Nicole Cleary

Michelle Mannering is nominated for Esports Personality of the  Year at the Australian Games Awards (AGAs). She spoke with Gamers Classified about her reaction to being nominated and what makes for successful engagement with the Esports community.

Vote for Michelle Mannering to win Esports Personality of the  Year at the AGAs by clicking here. Voting closes December 7th 2018.

GC: What was your reaction to being nominated? 

MM: I was so excited. Looking at lots of the other finalists, I was thinking, how did I get here? Many of the others have done large international events and I’ve focused more on the local community tournaments and competitions. So I was super stoaked when I got announced as one of the finalists. It makes me feel that all the work I do in the community and in the industry is worth it. People are acknowledging the contributions I make and they love the work, passion, and effort I am putting into this. It’s all very exciting.

Michelle Mannering streaming from the PLE booth. Image courtesy of PLE Computer

GC: Ten years ago, did you think people could make a career out of playing video games?

MM: Hahaha, this is the same question I ask a lot of my interviewees. I think even five years ago, the landscape is very different. When I was younger I knew people were playing games and making a career out of it, but that was the top 1% and most of them were players. If we look at the industry now, it’s changed considerably. Many of my friends are making a career out of video games in so many ways now – players, tournament organisers, team owners, casters, hosts, streamers… there’s just so many options for people now. It’s an exciting time to be in the games industry and I’m so grateful I can be a part of it all.

GC: Do you have any tips for engaging with an Esports audience (either at an event or online)?

MM: Engaging with audiences is something new and exciting in esports. Many companies (especially non-endemic brands) jump on board the hype train because they think they are getting access to a new untapped audience – and they are but not in a traditional way. Engaging with the esports audience is very different to a traditional brand. The people have different ideas and expectations around how things should be done. But similar to a traditional sport, the audience is hungry for entertainment. And thus you must provide that entertainment. Think about the reasons why people attend traditional sporting matches – the atmosphere, access to the players and talent, seeing a live performance, the spectacle. When you move to online games (even in a live setting), some of the thrills of traditional sport are lost and therefore you must replace that with something different and more exciting. League of Legends Worlds is a key example of this. They add live performances and AR into their event to excite people. It’s a very fantasy-like world and what you show almost has to be fantasy-like, or fantastic!

Online engaging in audiences is in one way easier, and another more difficult. It’s easier because you have access to a bigger audience, but harder because that human interaction is not there. Again, something is lost and therefore you need to make up for that. Things like engaging in the chat conversations, offering digital items, showing really cool content on screen, and supplementing live entertainment (live esports events) with other forms of online media (such as Twitter, or Instagram) is always helpful.

At the heart of everything though, as long as you have fun engaging people and content, the audience will want to engage

Michelle Mannering hosting the Samsung UEL Finals in 2018. Image courtesy of Hive Gaming.

GC: Anything else you would like to add? E.g. thank yous, shout out to sponsors, general comments etc.

MM: It’s really exciting we have these Australian Games Awards. It’s awesome to recognise individuals, companies, teams, and products who are growing and driving the Australian esports scene. Awards aren’t just about celebrating achievements of individuals, but by extension, it celebrates what we are doing as a community. It creates success stories for us all to tell and us all to celebrate together. It’s only together can we achieve great things and grow our industry.

Michelle Mannering has made a statement via Facebook about her nomination and wider Esports experience. Please click here to read it.

Michelle Mannering has her own wesbite and is active on Facebook and  Twitter. Vote for her to win Esports Personality of the  Year at the AGAs by clicking here. Voting closes December 7th 2018.