2015 was yet another incredible year for esports. For my part, I made a big switch in my career from ESL to Gfinity in March, not fully retiring from the world of hosting and commentating, but definitely stepping back to play a bigger role in the broadcast and production side of things as I headed up the Gfinity offering.
We had some big challenges early on and while things weren’t always perfect, the team rallied and the production improved immeasurably over the summer to the point where we were putting out some very credible broadcasts. The team worked tirelessly to ensure we improved every single broadcast until we were delivering a great experience. I’m particularly thankful to Mike, Ben and Ollie who were a hugely important part of taking the broadcast team forward with their enthusiasm and will set the team on good ground in 2016.
As the summer passed, my role pivoted a little to some of the creative areas within Gfinity and while I am always comfortable taking on new challenges, it wasn’t quite as enjoyable. Nothing to do with Gfinity as such, just something I couldn’t put my finger on, but I wasn’t having the same fun.
I also had some huge opportunities to host events and when Valve come asking to host The International, you just don’t say no. Likewise, when I was asked to do the CS:GO major for DreamHack and towards the end of the year the first ever DOTA2 major, I could not refuse. Returning to the hosting role was relatively easy (I guess it’s like riding a bike!) and it was clear to me as I attended these events I had not lost the bug for hosting and presenting esports events, indeed I had missed them a lot.
Towards the end of the year, the sheer amount of work and the years of long hours, days and weeks had finally caught up on me, I was burnt out. Fortunately, Neville Upton (CEO at Gfinity) noticed this before I did and sent me on a long holiday through December with a perfect book. I will be forever grateful for his wisdom.
I’m pleased to say I’ve come back fully restored, with a new perspective and a renewed passion for esports, as if that was ever in any doubt!
That said, I have decided to make some changes and while I’m not sure where it will lead me, I’m comfortable with that, for now. I will be leaving Gfinity at the end of February and concentrating on the hosting and presenting side of things in a freelance capacity. I’ve already got a couple of things lined up in the first quarter of this year, but I’m keen to find some more, gotta keep paying the bills!
I’ve begun to explore other options within esports too and I think we are headed for a very interesting year, so I am very much keeping my options open. Who knows where I will end up this year, but hopefully somewhere that offers me the chance to bring more to esports, grow the scene further still and perhaps allow me to produce something unique and exciting at the same time.
I’d like to thank Neville, Paul Kent and Martin Wyatt in particular for their belief in hiring me in the first place and to all the friends I made at Gfinity, I wish the very best to all of you for 2016!
See you on the tele ;)