Esports DreamHack Atlanta 2017- how it is relevant to financial services

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DreamHack is the world’s largest digital festival, a meeting place for gamers and centered on a massive LAN party.

The latest edition, DreamHack Atlanta was hosted from July 21-23 at Georgia World Congress Center. DreamHack sees over 26,000 visitors, 22,483 unique devices and close to 10 000 visitors who enjoy DreamHack with their own computer.

Sankar Krishnan at the DreamHack Atlanta Event

I had the opportunity to spend the weekend with a group of Digital Natives at DreamHack Atlanta. The event was full of creativity and excellently organized. I am sharing my views of this Parallel Universe that we live in.

1.      True Diversity: e-sports events are a lesson to the entire Financial Services Community on what diversity means. For starters there were natives of all sizes, shapes, preferences, languages and ethnicity—got together as part of a team with a single mission to win the GAME or make a KILL.  When these teens grow up it is highly likely that they would associate with a bank where diversity is embraced.

2.      Ergonomics: The event showcased a lot of amazing keyboards, desks, chairs and mouse which were so friendly to gamers. These designs were based on a lot of research on what it takes to produce a better result in gaming. It is not easy for the average bank employee to benefit from customized office furniture which may hamper productivity.

3.      Online vs Offline: There seems to be a view that folks that behave well in online situations over a large sample period were likely to be good in real life as well. This reasoning supports a lot of recent research that talks to how a customer’s online behavior can be a good predictor of his FICO score or how someone’s Social Media score (that is AI-driven) can be a key input into a credit model that determines how much loan, cards or mortgage credit should one qualifies for. With gamers making money in a very different manner it will be interested to see how the industry considers their application for a card or a loan?

4.      Bring your Own Console: One of the genres of competition which attracted maximum participation was the “bring your own console” event where gamers produced better results.  This is likely to be true in financial services and companies. Also this indirectly supports the concept of “work at home.”

Images from DreamHack

It was also an education to understand that a variety of these gamers are keen to attend Universities with an esports degree and are counting on a esports scholarship. For universities that support esports read blog https://blog.starters.co/17-colleges-with-varsity-esports-programs-ce01b5c4f3ce.

So what are some of the areas where banking processes can be enhanced to embrace gamification?  My friend Jim Marous reported it best in his blog www.thefinancialbrand.com.

Account Opening:  Especially as teens enter the work force—unless account opening is as easy as opening an Instagram account or downloading a game—they are unlikely to embrace that bank or service.

Virtual Reality: Gamers are ahead of the average consumer in embracing VR for banking and are an ideal focus group for testing out VR or AR for banking. This is also true for chatbot focus groups.

Social Dollars: Gamers are so used to working with social dollars (for example to purchase skins or guns or better game equipment to improve their scores) and Paypal that any banking experience that embraces this need will be a natural extension of their teen life. Rewards based banking is a key to keep their business. Should there be a social dollar exchange that runs of a blockchain as an example?

Transaction Fulfillment: Given that the span of attention of gamers and most digital natives is very limited they are likely to prefer a one-click experience for all their banking transactions.

Biometrics: This group is likely to prefer new forms of biometrics as opposed to standard passwords. Emoji-based access is also popular with gamers.

Training: Given that this group is so used to streaming on “Twitch” and watching live streams and improving their gaming, they are less likely to succeed in classroom-type training and the way banks train their future employees need to change.

While the discussion above is restricted to financial services it should be noted that this is very true of their approach to retail and almost every aspect of life. One can only hope that they do not lose their identity as they go through multiple experiences and continue to focus on school and the basics of life as a lot of what basics mean is changing on a daily basis.

About the Author: Sankar Krishnan

A career banker with Citi and Standard Chartered, Krishnan is an EVP in the Capital Markets and Banking Business Unit of Capgemini (www.capgemini.com). The views expressed by the author are his own and does not represent that of Capgemini.

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