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SMW '19: Torque's Darcy Lorincz Talks Motor Esports

Read the complete transcript of this interview:

Tim Siglin: Welcome back to this second day of Streaming Media West 2019. I'm Tim Siglin, Contributing Editor with Streaming Media Magazine and the founding executive director of the not-for-profit HelpMe! Stream. And today, I've got with me Darcy Lorincz. Darcy, what's the name of your company and what does your company focus on?

Darcy Lorincz: The company I'm here with is Torque Esports.

Tim: Okay.

Darcy: And our focus on two things: vertically we're orientated towards motor sports and automotive in this gaming sector. And then horizontally we have a number of properties, including business analytics, data intelligence, streaming, which is Universal or UMG Gaming.

Tim: Okay.

Darcy: And a number of other assets. So, you know, kind of a full service company for ourselves and, obviously, for others that use our services.

Tim: And when you talk about the auto sports and like that, are we talking typical U.S. racing? Or Formula One?

Darcy: All of the above. Our game that we have is called Gear.Club and it supports all types of racing, from open wheel Formula One-type racing, to rally, to road race. We really don't differentiate. For us, automotive and motor sports, we cover it all. It's a global practice for us.

Tim: In that, how do you get, I'm assuming you map-tracked that kind of thing, or race tracks.

Darcy: Absolutely.

Tim: And how is that handled, is it LIDAR? Is it machine vision, computer vision?

Darcy: Yeah, I mean, historically it's been a bear. We have to go out and do a lot of surveys and scanning and laser scanning, and it'd take you months to get there. Today, with advances in, especially in rendering, like what NVIDIA's kinda doing for people, you got LIDAR, you've got spacial kind of volumetric things we do. You can put a track down now in days versus months. Definitely that technology's helped a lot in the gaming side, for us for sure.

Tim: Obviously, within the game, there's communication and like that, where does the streaming aspect come in? Is it people watching the game on, say, Twitch or something like that? Or is it also in-game streaming of audio?

Darcy: Oh, it's all of the above. For the majority of the consumers that watch our events, so UMG Gaming is a great example, we have Fortnite Fridays and Minecraft Mondays and those typical things you hear about, so those are produced events. We've got a green screen in a studio and do that. But ultimately, the scale in the business is we do literally thousands of events a day that are automated. And that's where people are challenging each other in different games. For the racing side it'll be: challenge to a race and who wins the race? All the other games, whatever they are, it's who wins the battle?

Tim: That's a far cry from the first time I played Pole Position, so obviously if you've got people challenging like you said, you have to automate it. What's the audience size for your Fortnite Fridays/Minecraft Mondays type of thing?

Darcy: It depends. The automated daily events, that's people and their friends. You're getting a few thousand people watching. Everybody's got a social following so when they challenge each other, you immediately find out, you tell your friends that you're on this challenge and people watch you. The big events, especially when you get an influencer or some major gamer come in, we can have millions, and we do.

Tim: Wow, okay.

Darcy: That's obviously drawing in the Twitch audience, the influencers have their own following.

Tim: Sure.

Darcy: It ends up being a significant uptick when there's an influencer. In any given Friday, because people know there's prizes and money and things that they can win, it's significant audience.

Tim: Nice.

Darcy: In the gaming side, obviously, we know the numbers in things like Fortnite and Minecraft. There's millions of players.

Tim: Right.

Darcy: In our game, on the driving side, which we're launching, a lot of competitions starting next month around the World's Fastest Gamer. It's 14,000,000+ gamers, so if each of those people have 10 friends, and they have 10 friends you can imagine the audience size, right? So it's significant.

Tim: Nice. So, speaking of what you're launching, talk to me about what we can, sort of, expect a year out in esports and streaming. What's your, sort of, projection of where the market is going?

Darcy: You know, for us, it's just growing audience. Clearly, having an automotive vertical we get to control our destiny. We've got our own game, we've got our own streaming network with UMG. For us, it's just more audience. How can we grow the audience? How do you create challenges that are interesting? How can you bring in talent, not just talking about gamers but we have drivers that are in Formula One.

Tim: Sure.

Darcy: They are in other series. When somebody says that Juan Pablo Montoya is coming to play or setting the high score, people pay attention.

Tim: Right. Well, and those drivers are competitive as well, so ultimately it sort of feeds nicely into that.

Darcy: Yeah, it does feed nicely. And it's cool to see the whole progression, from a gamer to actually our ambitions, and we've been doing this for a number of years, is you ultimately can be a real racer and get in the seat of a real car. That actually creates a significant crowd of just automotive fans, race fans because they want to see these kids go from the couch gaming on a mobile device suddenly they're in the seat of a Formula E or--

Tim: Well, it's interesting, from a bit of a reverse, Jose Castillo, who you know, who does the streaming media shows, but he also hosts the NASCAR Trackside Live. He got part of his start in social media at the Bristol Motor Speedway, when there was a rainout. He and Dale Earnheardt, Jr. sat there and played video games. I could totally see how that could help boost the audience significantly when you have a well-known racer in whatever the series is and like that.

Darcy: I think, you know you asked where the future was, I think you'll see more sports games that are more real. I'm not kicking fantasy sports or first-person shooter or battle royale, that's got its own popularity. I believe that the convergence of sports and streaming and esports are--I actually call it competitive gaming-- but we'll use esports, but ultimately that's all coming together nicely and when you have sports like the NBA and their 2K stuff, what we're doing in racing, what others are doing in football, it looks nice because, that audience, you look at all the audiences across regular sports, especially motor sports, it's declining. People aren't going to the gates and they're not watching television because they're young and they're at home playing games. How do we get, the real thing is: How do we reach that audience, bring them online? Treat them like they're a race fan, but in the virtual world.

Tim: And especially do that in the off season to get their anticipation up for the actual season itself in real life.

Darcy: And the GT Academy was the foundation of all this, which we ran for a number of seasons. Now this World's Fastest Gamer, everybody--when you get in the seat of a car and it's a racecar, you think you can win.

Tim: Right.

Darcy: I don't care if you're good or bad, that's your ambition. So that obviously creates a lot of buzz around things and we're giving away a lot of prizes. I don't know if you know, a million dollars and a ride in a real car. For us, we expect next year just to keep numbers to keep going up.

Tim: Right, nice, awesome. Darcy, as always, thank you for coming and sitting with us and we'll be right back with our next interview.

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