ENCE CEO Mika Kuusisto on the importance of authenticity in esports

The lineup for Discover: Esports is taking shape with esports professionals from far and wide set to share their knowledge and wisdom this November 29-30.

Today we sit down with Mika Kuusisto, the CEO of ENCE Esports, one of the best known esports brands in Europe competing at the top of the world in several games. Mika has 20 years of experience growing technology and games companies on a global scale. In addition to running ENCE Mika keeps advising early stage tech startups with their growth strategies. Previously he was a Chief Revenue Officer at Outfit7 in charge of all revenue streams for 250 MAU mobile game developer. Before joining Outfit7 he led global business development for Unity Ads, which under his leadership grew to be one the biggest video ad network for games. He has been working with games since 2002.

So let’s dive in…

Tell us a bit about your company

ENCE is a Finnish esports organisation founded in 2013. We are best known for our Counter Strike team which is playing in the biggest tournaments in the world on a regular basis. ENCE is one of the best known esports brands in Europe and our fan song has even been integrated into CS:GO as the first (and only) team in the world.

What does your role entail?

I am the CEO of ENCE and in charge of the overall success of the company. I am mostly focused on the commercial side of the business.

Why should companies, brands and individuals be interested in the esports industry as a business proposition?

Esports is attracting a hard to reach young male audience globally. The audience is highly engaging, consumes esports on a daily basis throughout the year, and based on multiple research studies, has higher average income than for example traditional sports fans.

Why is it important for any prospective companies or to gain an authentic understanding of the esports industry if they’re interested in getting involved?

Esports fans are hard to reach and hard to please. Advertising and brand messaging through esports players as an example is widely accepted but must be authentic. Typically, endemic partnerships are easy to integrate to esports partnerships but non-endemic ones require significantly more (creative) effort.

What makes you most excited for the future of the esports industry?

Growth is unquestioned, while monetisation and business modelling undeveloped.

What’s your favourite competitive game?

Counter Strike: Global Offensive

What are your top five favourite games of all time and why?

  • CS:GO
  • NHL Console Hockey series
  • FIFA
  • GTA

Finally, what are your thoughts on the esports industry going forward? What major trends do you predict over the next 12 months?

From an esports team perspective monetisation needs to be significantly improved. Investors have started to require more diligent business planning and commercialization strategies and will not continue pumping cash to businesses without reasonable vision to build sustainable operations.

Hear from Mika and other leading esports figures this November 29-30 at Discover: Esports – book your ticket today.