Another purposeful ICE Show

This week saw my sixth annual pilgrimage to the ICE London Show at ExCeL London. As usual it was almost overwhelming with in the region of 40,000 people, over 600 exhibitors and an estimated 3,000 product launches. By the end I was pretty exhausted, but what an incredible few days.

This year’s show felt very different for me. This was in part as I wasn’t based in the Consumer Protection Zone (CPZ) and so got to meet many new faces who ordinarily do not visit that area. Next we didn’t have a formal stand as in previous years, however the Clarion Esports Team welcomed and looked after us in the esports arena which was much appreciated. Finally for the first time in six years, I actually had the time to go and walk around the show, talk to many of the exhibitors and just appreciate how big this event is and meeting operators who offer esports (or fantasy sport) betting was absolutely worthwhile. It was good to talk about the differences in messaging around player protection for this audience and how ESG Gaming might help.

Being part of the esports arena certainly gave me a different appreciation for the show. I was particularly proud that we were able to showcase our short-documentary film, Ironclad, with Dr Sarah Hodge from Bournemouth University. The short-documentary film shot on location in Dundee, Salford and across London, the film explores the issue and impact of digital and tech inequality on the esports and gaming space, seen through the lived experience of players and the broader esports community. Ironclad features interviews with the likes of KingJae, the David Beckham co-owned Guild Esports, Dundee & Angus College, EXCEL Esports, and Esports Youth Club amongst others. We showcased the short-documentary film both in the esports arena and at ESIC and its screening made the official Day Two, two-minute highlights film by the organisers of ICE, Clarion Gaming: ICE Day Two Highlights.

Creating educational content that resonates with, and talks directly to consumers, is what we are seeking to achieve at ESG Gaming. I am so grateful to the ESG Gaming team who have managed to involve such high-profile stakeholders in our first short-documentary film, all of whom shared their lived experience and vision for esports, education and how the tech inequality gap may be narrowed. We have produced a creative piece of film which brings awareness and contributes to the wider debate around tech inequality, the role of esports education and how such is delivered. 

On a personal note I am really enjoying working with our team to establish ESG Gaming and putting aside any unconscious bias I may have had around gaming. This sector is very different and I do believe that the lure of and sheer popularity of gaming and esports can be a force for good. For example to engage disenfranchised young people in to learning; enabling viable high-tech careers and to position meaningful and relevant messages around mental-health, financial capability and social cohesion. The world is changing fast and we know young people adopt to new technology quickly. It is this space where ESG Gaming will focus. We do have a lot still to learn, but we will take an evidenced approach to our work, consistently evaluating and sharing insight. At ICE we also shared our Theory of Change for this strand of work, following an extensive research and literature review with Bournemouth University: Theory of Change

I am incredibly grateful to the Clarion Gaming team for their continued support of ESG Gaming as we embark on our journey to safeguard consumers in the digital world.