The world’s largest esports company, ESL, has partnered with storage world leader Seagate Technology

Partner Content: Seagate on why superfast state-of-the-art storage is essential for esports

Games and players are essential for a successful esports tournament. But every esports organiser knows that the industry cannot exist without fast and powerful storage solutions. That’s why ESL, the world’s largest esports company, has teamed up with Seagate as their official partner. The world of competitive esports is an international
phenomenon with billions in revenue and hundreds of millions of fans. The best competitive gamers from all over the world compete in their game of choice, to raise a trophy and rake in millions of prize money. It is the world’s fastest-growing sport and next to football, the second sport that is truly global.

The backbone of this growth is a massive dedicated gaming community. According to a report by Newzoo, an esports analytics agency, 453 million people watched professional esports athletes in 2019, from seats at events or from home via streaming services.

For the professional esports athletes, finding success requires just as much dedication as traditional sports athletes. To stay at the top of their game, they have to adhere to strict diets and routines. Practices take 12 to 15 hours a day – they do everything to reach or maintain their peak performance level. To assist them on their journey from zero to hero, professional teams have trainers, managers, psychologists, dieticians and more.

Big business

As the scene became more and more professional, esports became a form of mass media entertainment. Since its modest, local LAN- based beginnings, esports has begun to resemble traditional sports with an established infrastructure. The community wanted a move towards organised, stadium-based tournaments, and that’s where ESL stepped in.

Today, ESL is the world’s largest esports company, with multiple international TV studios and fourteen offices around the world – from Asia all the way to the United States. They host world-wide competitions, stadium-size events, as well as grassroots amateur cups and matchmaking systems. They have shaped the history of esports, turned niche games into global sensations, and moments of brilliance into everlasting legacy.

Players expect an SSD

“Esports would not be possible without the PC architecture, internet and of course the games themselves. But storage is also a fundamental part of everything we do,” explains Dan Ellis, ESL UK head of business development. “Having the best storage solutions, like the Seagate FireCuda drives, is essential, both for the players as for our company.”

During physical tournaments, ESL relies on SSDs. On stage, each PC has a caddy and all players receive an SSD with their copy of Windows and their game settings installed on it. As soon as they connect the SSD to a PC, they are ready to go. At the end of the game, players simply shut down the PC, remove the SSD
and plug it into the practice room to continue practicing in the same environment.

“SSDs are absolutely essential for esports,” says Ellis. “We need the speeds for booting up the PC and installing the game. It also adds an important layer of security. The SSD ensures players that no moving parts will be damaged, for example in case it is dropped. Finally, preparing a hard drive for a tournament can take a lot of time. An SSD does the job much faster.”

Storage choices are not only important for the players on stage. ESL notices that the audience is really interested in the hardware solutions players are using. The fans trust that whatever works for the players and receives their endorsement, will also be good for themselves. That’s why an SSD must be high-performing, long- lasting and secure.

Seagate’s NAS systems, equipped with Seagate IronWolf drives, enable ESL to work remotely and ensure reliable performance and high speeds while hosting online esports leagues

Elite performance

Next-gen gaming is all about speed, compatibility and flexibility. Seagate solid state drives deliver the performance, simplicity and ingenious design to help gamers lift their skills to a higher level and realise peak potential. Purpose-built for esports athletes an optimised to deliver the intense speeds needed for the rigour of modern gaming, the Seagate FireCuda SSDs are the nec plus ultra for both amateur and (semi-) professional gamers.

“It would be impossible to operate without these SSDs,” says Ellis. “If you want to perform at the highest level, you need the ultra-fast speeds, long-lasting endurance, lowest latency and large capacities. Those are all the ingredients of the incredibly fast Seagate FireCuda 520 M.2 SSD.”

The Seagate FireCuda Gaming Dock is an alternative for laptop gamers, looking for a top-tier gaming experience. This is an elite 4TB HDD storage hub, with a dock to connect peripherals and an NVMe expansion slot. By installing a Seagate FireCuda 510 M.2 SSD in this slot, laptop gamers have the essential hardware upgrade to beat their PC gaming counterparts.

Storage ecosystem

Although SSDs have become indispensable for esports, hard drives remain very relevant. While SSDs are faster, HDDs are a great alternative when you need larger capacities. Players can install their most-played games on their SSD, while storing the rest of their game library on an HDD, for example.

Both SSDs and HDDs are also very valuable for ESL as a corporate company. ESL covers a broad field of services in esports and gaming technology, storytelling, event management, advertising and television production – fully catering to the needs of the esports ecosystem.

“We have a huge number of Seagate BarraCuda and FireCuda hard drives at our offices,” explains Ellis. “They are basically used for the content we create. We also run lots of game services that require SSDs. We believe Seagate has got a solid ecosystem of solutions, ranging from SSDs all the way to archive drives and massive storage, high-performance HDD.”

To enable ESL to work remotely, Seagate provides ESL with NAS systems, equipped with Seagate IronWolf drives. These purpose-built drives thrive in multi-user environments with high workload rates, to ensure reliable performance and high speeds while hosting online esports leagues.

“Seagate delivers world-class, cutting-edge, trustworthy storage solutions,” concludes Ellis. “That’s why we only work with Seagate drives, both internally as for our esports athletes.”

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