He rarely expresses himself before the cameras, but Jens Hilgers has made an exception and accepted to meet us. Second step of our series we made at the Gamescom.
Somehow, esport owes him a lot. As a founder of Turtle Entertainment, the company that operates ESL, he served as CEO until 2010 and then transitioned to a non-operational role on the Supervisory Board.. Jens Hilgers is also minority owner of the G2 Esports team. He shares his experience with Carlos “Ocelote” Rodriguez and gives him advices for the team management. And as if that was not enough, Jens Hilgers is the Dojo Madness’ CEO, a big data company in esports focusing on coaching and training tools for gamers and eSports fans, and invests in esports company, through his investment vehicle, BITKRAFT.
For about one hour, we tried to understand what is the view of this dynamic entrepreneur on electronic sport today. We discussed all subjects: the market of electronic sport, its development opportunities, and its future challenges. Below is a condensed version of our chat.
G2 Esport / Fnatic – a complicated background
If we had to express a regret, it would be that we recorded This interview took place Friday, August 19th, days before journalist Richard Lewis published a video calling into question a loan made by Hilgers to Fnatic. (Here the document) We would have liked to question Jens about this. An ESL board member, co-owner of a club, who would own financial interests in another competitor club? This it would be unethical as per the rules set up for the competitors in the LCS, the League of Legends championship organised by RiotGames.
A few days after the interview, Riot Games ruled that “The loan agreement was made without malicious intent to circumvent some property rules of the team and doesn’t reflect a scenario where there would be an effective control over several teams.” Riot Games issues Hilgers a warning and it was mutually agreed upon that Hilgers would unwind the loan. You can read his thoughts here.
It is quite a challenge to condense a 20-year career into an hour interview but we are quite proud to have been able to achieve this interview. Jens Hilgers has a long experience in the video game contest and makes it easy to understand his success. We feel that everything he touches turns to gold. In which concerns the market outlook Jens is reassuring. Hilgers’ market outlook is reassuring, and serves as a reminder that esports continues to grow, but at its own pace.
But with this interview, it appears that his great passion for his job may sometimes allow a little lack of synthesis skills and a kind of political cant from time to time (no hard feelings!). We would have liked to go further! We were concerned by the subject of the WESA (World Electronic Sport Association). We asked Jens about it, but as he is not the appropriate spokesperson for this initiative he declined to comment.
Nevertheless, provided the complicated background, Jens Hilgers informed us of his desire to publish this interview. He confided us that he was hoping it could enhance transparency. We do share this hope and, for this reason, thanks!