The Esports Federation of Slovenia asked Boban Totovsky, IESF General Secretary and Head of the Macedonian Esports Federation, some questions on the topic of esports.
We asked Boban Totovsky, IESF General Secretary and President of the Macedonian Esports Federation, some questions on the topic of esports.
Welcome! Can you introduce yourself and tell us when and how you started doing e-sports? Did you try your hand as an esports athlete before organizing esports?
My name is Boban Totovsky, I am the Secretary General of IESF and President of the Macedonian Esports Federation. I am active in esports since 2005, as the leader of the Macedonian esports federation in international competitions. The first competition I attended was the WCG (Internet World Games) in 2005 in Singapore.
I was never a professional gamer, I started playing games on my Commodore 64 at the age of 9 🙂
What do you think about the first time people think of when they hear about esports, and has this idea changed over the years?
Most people are still confused and need additional explanation. I try to explain to them that it is a sport and compare it to chess, snooker, darts and other sports with low physical activity.
There will always be skeptics who will not believe that playing games can be a sport. Many years ago, no one would have believed that we would set foot on the moon, but look what we are today 🙂
Recent years have shown the growing popularity of esports. You might have some advice for someone who wants to do e-sports as an actor or organizer.
There is a huge difference between the players and the organisers. Players should be careful not to overburden their physical or mental health with play. Anyone who wants to become a professional e-sportsman can find many documents on the Internet that explain the process. It is not easy to become a professional player, but it is the same in other sports.
As for the organizers, these are special people. They must love the game, the organization process, and the system itself if they want it to stay active. We’ve all read about the trillions going on in this industry, but the harsh truth is that few of them make that much money. But many people, even though they don’t earn much, are making changes.
Recently, esports has been officially recognized as a sport. Can you tell us about the main obstacles you had to overcome and how long this battle actually lasted?
patience. It took me 17 years. The Macedonian Esports Association is one of the oldest federations of its kind in the world and the first in Europe. Many applications have been denied, but we have insisted on the motive that e-athletes should be equal to any athlete. The achievements are huge and I believe we are going to bring about a big change in the region, and other countries will follow. MESF is ready to help all federations in the region achieve similar results.
Speaking of which, you have tips for other federations on the issue of recognizing esports as a sport.
For this to happen, the national union must be strong and properly organized. It’s not an easy process, but it is definitely achievable.
They are all greatly influenced by the laws relating to sports in individual countries. So, the main advice I can give is to have a concrete start, involve all the stakeholders of the state, and explain to the community that you are helping them, not restricting them.
Now that we understand your past, what are your plans for the coming years and what do you think are the major obstacles along the way?
Last year we created Adria Esports. One of my goals is to make it stronger or use it as a liaison in the area. From the Macedonian Esports Federation, we will try to defend our gold in CS: GO and repeat the success this year in Bali. At the international level, the biggest obstacle for us is the global recognition of esports, as different national laws inherently make it difficult to recognize esports as a sport in one country. So the goal is to unite the world’s esports families. Our main problem is the Olympic Committee’s opinion of the violence inherent in video games. We will need more time to prove that this does not affect violence outside of games.
EŠZS is a member of the IeSF, where it performs a very specific job, that of secretary. Can you explain the work of a secretary in more detail? What are your obligations?
The work of a general secretary in an international organization can be compared to the work of a director in a company. My duties include human resource management, member communication, legal affairs, finance, sponsorship, promotion, etc.
Are esports really comparable to classic sports (viewership, sponsor interest, media interest, etc)? You can tell us about some of the similarities and differences between the types of sports.
I would argue that almost everything is comparable, only the two unknowns are different. Some esports tournaments even have more views and media attention than the Olympics. The primary difference is the type of medium (classic vs internet) and the purchasing power of consumers, but this too will change over time.
Can you tell us which game is closest to your heart and why?
age of empires
I also play CS: GO, but I find less time for games.
You can give a brief overview of the games that are currently popular in esports, or. Games that will soon join your list.
In my opinion, it is first in the CS: GO list, and LOL, DOTA2 and Valorant are among the top ten in terms of popularity. Mobile games have exploded lately, but unfortunately there are fewer views for them and the level of professionalism is different. The advantage of e-sports is that it adapts to the desires of the audience.
Most classical athletes are known to retire before the age of 35. Where is eSports in this regard?
In the best case scenario, 90% of esports athletes can be employed in esports or information technology. It’s fun, young and full of possibilities. Last year, IESF had no workers in Macedonia, today there are already 7 workers and the number will only increase.
The President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, estimates that it is still too early to include e-sports in the Olympic program. Do you think eSports should be included in the Olympic program, or does it deserve its own version of the Olympic Games?
We always want to be part of the sports family, and have the opportunity to learn from experienced individuals and sports federations. I don’t know when we will have this opportunity, but I can say that over time, esports will only become part of this family. The IESF creates an ecosystem, but I firmly believe that it is just as important that our athletes be respected as any other athlete.