The iconic gaming-tech brand Razer is today launching the 'Razer Invitational', which seems like a nice way to close out this ridiculous year and usher in a new (hopefully better) one.
The Razer Invitational is an epic tournament that lasts until the end of January, where anyone can simply apply to take part, and even have the chance to win some prizes.
And if you're looking for more insights, you've come to the right place: we spoke with Yann Salsedo, the Head of Esports & Social Media at Razer, about this new tournament and esports in general...
What is the Razer Invitational?
Before we get into the juicy quotes from our interview, it's probably worth explaining what the Razer Invitational Tournament actually is.
The official press bumf describes it as "a free-to-enter, free-for-all tournament for up to 90,000 players in Fortnite Trio, battling it out across 6 tournaments for some amazing cash and hardware prizes. To enter the RI-Europe, all prospective challengers have to do is get a team together and sign up at on the Razer Invitational – Europe website.
"The winning team in each tournament will walk away with EUR 3,600, with EUR 1,800 and EUR 1,200 for 2nd and 3rd place, and hardware prizes for 4th and 5th place. Viewers can win cool Razer hardware just by watching the streams, voting on MVPs or taking part in side challenges such as fastest time on the assault course – or they can submit their best Fortnite open play clip for a chance to win Razer kit."
The tournaments will take place between December 10th 2020 and January 30th 2021, with each tournament able to support up to 5000 players.
Back in the day of 'cyber sports'
Of course, Razer has had a hand in this market since the early days of esports, which has now grown into a multi-billion dollar enterprise.
As Salsedo explained, "Back in 2000, we were the first company to sponsor an event with over $100,000 of cash prize. Back in those days, it was a lot of money and the monitors were huge compared to today. Actually, it wasn't even called esports back then but cyber sports.
"So yeah, we have really been moving in this sphere and basically helping this ecosystem to grow. We at Razer have been present since the beginning, and I remember back in the day, we wanted to be on television, and now we just don't care." He went onto explain that the average age of a TV viewer doesn't necessarily overlap with your average esports fan these days.
Salsedo added: "So you can see it now, that you have traditional sports aimed more and more to attract a younger audience, because earlier I was talking about the 2000's where we had to use salespeople to try and attract other audiences in different age ranges, and now we can do that through our online channels and our tournaments such as this one."
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Razer x Fortnite
It's interesting that throughout this tournament, the only game being played is Fortnite.
As Epic Games recently launched Season 5, which revolves around a western theme, we wondered whether this was more than a coincidence with the tournament launching so soon after this, and whether there would be a crossover in skins or gliders related to Razer.
Salsedo said, "Unfortunately not, Epic is very restrictive on that part. So the idea for this tournament was not to create any kind of scheme or things like that. This is just a competition and not only a competition, but a community interaction as well."
Points mean prizes
Prizes are a big deal to many tournaments, with cash prizes and peripherals in the offing here, and we asked Yann's thoughts about prizes as a whole:
"When it comes to the prizes," he said, "we will also have giveaways and we will have some cool stuff going even during the stream. We will make sure that if you're not participating and watching it instead, that you have the chance to win something regardless.
"I really want to make this very clear: I don't like the word prizes, it's more of a reward to say thank you to the community. This is really important to me, especially after this year."
Any advice for esports newbies?
We asked if there was any advice to someone who has been a watcher of the tournaments before, but was hesitant in joining.
Salsedo said, "There's no big advice here, it's just to make your own experience, right? This tournament is helping you to make your own experience. And don't think that you're going to lose or win or whatever; just do it.
"You wouldn't say that I'm not going to the cinema because maybe the movie is bad. You won't know until you go and see it. So we will give you all the possibilities to have fun and to have a professional environment to do it in. So yeah, yeah, there is no big advice on that. Just click in and simply go for it."
You can learn more about the Razer Invitational on the official website at this link.