Wargaming.net dismiss eSports porn sponsorship: World of Tanks is “a family product” | PCGamesN

Wargaming.net dismiss eSports porn sponsorship: World of Tanks is “a family product”

world of tanks esports youporn nicolas passemard wargaming

This weekend sees YouPorn’s Dota 2 team take part in its first tournament. It’s the first time a porn site has sponsored an eSports team. I recently spoke with Wargaming’s head of eSports in Europe, Nicolas Passemard, about the effect YouPorn’s sponsorship could have on eSports’ audience.

“When we see the audience coming to our events, a father with his son I find this personally really satisfying,” Passemard said. “I’m proud of it and I’d like it to stay like that. [… But] If we start adding YouPorn or whatever company which is very adult oriented then I expect the parents to be responsible enough not to bring their children.”

ESports have seen an explosion in popularity in recent years and, with that popularity, the audience has grown in some unexpected directions. When I went to the World of Tanks Grand Finals back in April there were a lot of children in the audience, taken for a day out with their parents.

Last week, while interviewing Passemard about the future of World of Tanks’ eSports division I brought up the possibility of YouPorn, or another adult site, becoming a team sponsor. This was before YouPorn announced the formation of Team YP but the company had announced their intention back in July. I asked whether Wargaming would ever deny a team from being sponsored by a company.

“It’s never happened,” Passemard said. “Let’s go extreme, if a company was very politically engaged and was selling weapons then I can see roadblocks, yes. But I’d like to avoid putting my fingers into a team’s matters, the responsibility is theirs.

“If it’s so big it becomes a problem then we will go in the most healthy way. We’ll talk to them and try to find a solution.”

He was, however, “definitely” worried about the effect an adult content would have on the audience for World of Tanks. “We have accreditation in Europe and all around the world, a limit of age for the audience. We have to be sure that we respect this system. It can change: it won’t happen, but if we added gore and blood to the game [it would] rise to, maybe, 16+ and then I expect the parents to avoid bringing their children. It’s the same with sponsorship. If we start adding YouPorn, or whatever company which is very adult-oriented, I expect the parents to be responsible enough not to bring their children. But this is not happening now.

“We are a family product and this is something that is really satisfying. When we see the audience coming to our events, that is exactly as you said, a father with his son I find this personally really satisfying. I’m proud of it and I’d like it to stay like that.”

Passemard explained that eSports games “break a cliche,” people expect eSports to be watched exclusively by teenage boys but their audiences are men and women of all ages, people coming with their families.

“It’s not only that, it’s bigger,” he tells me. “ESports has one advantage over classic sports: only your skill matters. We don’t care about your gender, your religion, your nationality, your size, your weight, your strength, you can join. If you’re good you will be accepted. We have this DPS, one of the best DPS in Europe and the world, in Kazna Kru who is in a wheelchair. He’s handicapped but in the field you don’t want to cross him, he’s going to crush your tank. That’s all people care about, nobody cares about his handicap.

“That’s something so good about eSports. I wish we could see more examples of minorities or people who are excluded from other sports to come to join eSports. Here they are respected, accepted, and we want them.

“We want everyone.”