Intel and the Brazilian Esports Phenomenon

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As the esports industry continues to skyrocket, with revenues projected to reach an astounding $16.03 million in 2023, Brazil has quickly emerged as a critical player in the global gaming landscape. With an expected annual growth rate of 7.75% through 2027, the Brazilian market is poised to reach a remarkable $21.61 million in market volume. While China currently leads the pack with an anticipated market volume of $445.20 million in 2023, Brazil’s passion for gaming and the thriving esports scene must be addressed.

In an exclusive CGMagazine interview, we delve into the heart of Brazil’s esports phenomenon and explore its unique gaming culture. We sit down with Marketing Director at Intel Brazil, Carlos Buarque, to discuss the company’s strategic involvement in the burgeoning esports market and the role of high-profile events like the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) in nurturing its growth.

For the uninitiated, the IEM—a series of international gaming tournaments held around the world—has been running for over 16 years, making it one of the longest-running branded championships in the world. It serves as a testament to Intel’s commitment to the gaming community and the esports industry. And with Brazil being one of the largest demographics for esports in the world, it is worth understanding why and what makes the country so passionate about the sport.

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My first question is really just, why? Why Intel? Why esports? Why are we in Rio?

Carlos Buarque: Well, because you saw the passion that Brazilians have for esports. We really love esports, and Counter-Strike, in particular, is very popular here. For Intel, gaming and esports are strategic because, as we say, it’s like Formula 1 for cars, where all the innovations that we have on PCs happen first on gaming PCs and then are adopted later on mainstream computers. The same thing is happening here, and we are seeing a lot of innovation that Intel is bringing to gamers first.

They’re the early adopters, and then it’s applied to regular, let’s say, standard PCs and computers for the general public. Gaming is also very important because it’s a very demanding audience. They demand better computers, better performance, and better screens. So it’s an environment that we want to be associated with because of the innovation that gaming brings, so it’s really key for us. Esports, in particular, is huge here in Brazil. We have this passionate audience, and it’s a great way to build our brand and the right preference for Intel with that audience.

Why do you think Brazil is so passionate about esports, especially compared to other places?

Carlos Buarque: That’s a good question. I don’t know why, but I see that specifically with Counter-Strike, we have a long history that started when we had what we called LAN houses. People would play in these special houses because they didn’t have computers at home. So it’s an old game that’s very popular and long-lasting, and it depends a lot on the skill of the players, not what they can buy. It’s very popular with that audience, and we’ve also had very strong teams and players that have become very popular and successful worldwide and are still playing. I think that’s why it’s still so big for us.

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If you saw somebody getting involved in esports and wanting to start out, what should they get from Intel to get themselves started?

Carlos Buarque: Well, that’s a great question. For esports specifically, in this competitive scenario, it does not have to be a very powerful machine because those games are demanding, but not the really, really heavy ones. There are other games that are not esports games that are much heavier needing more graphics processing, for example. But when we talk about esports, you need to have a responsive machine.

So we’re going to recommend at least a Core i5 or better with a good video card. Even then, it’s an affordable configuration for people to start enjoying esports. Now, if the person wants to go to much heavier games, then okay, you need a stronger processor, a strong video card, and probably more memory to support that.

Are the teams today playing with any Intel gear in their PCs?

Carlos Buarque: Yes, all the PCs that they use here at Intel Extreme Masters are based on Intel Core. Everyone’s Team Intel. It has to be Intel Extreme Masters.

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So, what do you think Intel gains from being a part of the esports community?

Carlos Buarque: Well, we have some important wins. One is obviously on the branding side and connecting with that audience and getting them to choose Intel over the competition. So it’s important for us to show that we support esports, and it’s not something that’s punctual. We’ve been doing Intel Extreme Masters for over 16 years, I think. It’s the longest-running branded championship in the world. 

It’s really nice to be able to bring it back to Brazil to show that connection with the audience and that commitment to the gaming and esports community. So it’s really good for us. The other thing is that it also helps us to drive the demand for PCs here in Brazil. So we’re working with partners like Acer and Amazon and also with local manufacturers in Brazil to do special promotions for this audience and use it as a demand engine for us.

Do you think esports is at the top of its game right now, or do you think there is further to go?

Carlos Buarque: Honestly, I think there is still room to grow. If you look at it, we obviously had two years of the pandemic, which kind of limited all these meetings that we have. When we had Intel Extreme Masters Rio last year, right after the pandemic ended, it was a huge success because we had this long wait. So it was very, very impactful. But I think there is room to grow because we have, for example, more championships like this in Brazil from other games like Valorant, League of Legends, and others. There are a lot of games and a lot of different players, and I think there is a lot of room to grow.

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What’s next from Intel that you can tell us about?

Carlos Buarque: Well, when we think about this audience, we will continue working with our partners to ensure that we are launching the best products here in Brazil with local production to be competitive on a price point. But also, we’ll continue supporting this audience through events and championships, either with direct investments from Intel or commercial investments from our partners. So that’s also really important for us to continue having this association and showing that we are committed to the gaming community and esports community.

Intel Extreme Masters Dallas is taking place this weekend, June 2-4, 2023, at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. Grab your tickets now!

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