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Why this interview? Game Force combines an exhibition for fans of PC and console games with the semifinals and finals of their League of Legend (LoL) tournament. Many teams fought hard in the online qualifications to play the semi and final. SD Gaming was one of four teams that went up the stage after Game Force, just like Hyperfocus, ECVisualizer and SectoroneNova. So we decided to combine the visit of our LoL team with an interview with Steven.

After some telephone calls with Steven we managed to meet him outside and find ourselves a quit place in the sun near the water of the dock of world's biggest harbor Antwerp. We start the interview and discuss rapidly the issues we prepared, given the hectic schedule of Steven.

On our opening question "how did you get into the world of gaming and event" Steven answered:

"As a 14/15 year old I got interested in gaming and played myself. That was pretty nice and I became quickly a team member and we performed well. That was in 2000, 2001. However, we noticed that other teams were sponsored with t-shirts and a training server, so we asked our own Team manager - a boy from our age – allez why don’t we have t-shirts like the teams we beat?  We are better players but still we don’t have t-shirts? The Team Manager replied, "If you can do it better do it yourself?" And so the idea was born" Steven says with a smile.

"Tek9 was a community I put a lot of time in. We played at that time the game Call of Duty and the community that we had created provided a great need. In the peak period we had some 800,000 community members! I sold the community and I've moved on and focused on other developments. I be in touch with the community every now and then because yes, if you're there for so long and have been so intensively involved it always remains, of course, still a little tickle huh. "

Our little research shows that you are still the owner since 2008 of Gamevibes:

"At age 23 Steven Leunens, a young entrepreneur from Belgium, started his first company called Gamevibes. With this company he Aimed to be the first in the field of competitive gaming within his country, and establishment a sound foundation for future endeavors. The Antwerp eSports Festival is a 50,000 competitive gaming tournament in Antwerp, Belgium and the first step towards a professional background for eSports (electronic sports). This thesis explores one of the most daring opportunities within the gaming industry - a multibillion dollar market worldwide - called eSports. It Explains the basics of the game and tells a tale of a young entrepreneur and his quest to build the largest gaming event Belgium HAS ever seen, Despite all the problems he might face. It delivers some hard facts and statistics on where this new market is going to and what lies ahead and will give you an instant feeling you now know what it takes to tackle the wonderful world of competitive gaming. "

Source: Steven, author of the book "The Antwerp eSports Festival" (ISBN10 code 3639198522, ISBN13 code 9783639198522)

Furthermore Steven organizes events as from 2011 Gameland in Belgium / Bobbejaanland and later on also in the Netherlands / Slagharen. He choose to combine a theme park with a gaming event: 

  • Gameland 2011 - Bobbejaanland (BE): 18,000 visitors
  • Gameland 2012 - Bobbejaanland (BE): 22,000 visitors
  • Gameland Kids 2013 - Slagharen (NL): 22-23 June 2013
  • Gameland 2013 - Bobbejaanland (BE): 6-7-8 September 2013 

Look at the official aftermovie of Gameland 2012!

Steven worked as a specialist for Esports Heaven Media from 2009 till 2012 . He advised the daily management on the competitive gaming scene. He also managed the websites of tek9 (see above, fire or game vibes ed.) And Esports Heaven. He has used his knowledge and experience to roll out several successful projects. In marketing campaigns for major companies like Dell, Alienware, Universal, AMD and Full Tilt Poker, Steven is also directly involved.

Q: How do you organize it actually with your personal life? Are you the man who cuts the meat on Sunday at home?

Steven laughs. "No. I'm the guy who cooks at home. And according to my good friend. She has also a busy life and is happily accustomed to the crowds. She understands that the preparations for an event, such as now Game Force, requires a lot of attention from me. But I work a lot from home, and work differently after eating sometimes yet. This way I can keep private and work in balance."

Q: We understand that you are working fulltime in this business?

Steven nods affirmatively. "I can live from the income. And that's nice because this is my passion. Organizing events, I do not do it only in Belgium, but I'm going next month to Azerbaijan to take part in an international eSports convention. It is true that I, like any other organizer, cannot exist without volunteers. Partners can also take a share of responsibility, such as the catering is done by a group of people of a society, where the organization will receive a small fee for. And you still have access to people who know what they're doing, and there are good at. But I save obviously not in it, if you look at all the work that needs to be done, both in the preparation and on the day itself. Without volunteers this type of event could not be held. If you hire paid workers, the price of an entrance ticket rises to two, three, four times, and we will lose visitors."

Q: How are the numbers develop with the visitors?

"Well, I must say that if we had a few visitors today I really would have had a problem." Steven just scratching behind his ears at the thought. "Luckily all is going well and on this first day we already welcomed hundreds of people in the two halls that we have. But as this is the first version of this event, you run into unexpected small but sometimes annoying problems. We faced some problems with the sound of the stream, and a lack of change in the various cash registers. They are annoying niggles, but we learn from it and it ensures that it wil only go better next time."

Yes, we were already informed by people at home about the lag of sound when streaming was unacceptable. We experienced this problem also in our (SD Gaming, ed.) first game against ECVisualize, where the hall was filled with enthusiastic League of Legends fans. Such a theme event makes it worth while to prove the next time the organization is capable to prevent these kind of problems.

At that moment we ended the interview quickly; Steven's presence in the organization is urgently needed. With a friendly handshake we say goodbye and we see Steven hurry back to the crew. On his way to the next learning moment.

 

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