She’s had front-row seats to the explosion of esports in the last few years, so we had to ask about her journey as we set off on a new path of ours.
Lauren “Pansy” Scott is a full-fledged veteran of esports broadcasting. She earned her stripes as a member of our storytelling crew for the most important CS:GO tournaments over the last five years, making our Cologne HQ offices her home for much of that time. We caught up with her to discuss the evolution of the industry, the rise of Battle Royale titles and the involvement of women in esports to gain some valuable insight as we embark on a new adventure with our brand refresh.
1 – You’ve been involved with CS:GO broadcasts basically since the game launched in 2012. Which moments have stuck with you the most in this time?
There are so many to mention, there are moments that will always stand out, like the race to beat NiP or the Fnatic legacy. I think personally seeing NiP in Cologne, 19 June 2014. The Third Major, watching the Ninjas rekindle their fire against Fnatic after chasing that Major title for so long. I was watching backstage after the winning moment and seeing Get_Right coming off the stage with tears in his eyes made me realise how much this game truly meant to them.
2 – You’ve also had front row seats to the evolution of esports broadcasting in this period when the industry has expanded quite rapidly. How has the job of talents changed in this period?
I think the role of talent has changed but in ways I didn’t expect. Maybe it’s my fault for underestimating certain aspects of being an entertainer. I think seeing esports find its own personality was huge. The core audience didn’t want the same old buttoned-up approach you see in traditional sports, they want people they can identify with, people who are just like them; and it’s an honour to be part of that.
My biggest growing pain was feeling comfortable and confident enough to actually be myself and know that people will enjoy it.
3 – Before casting you were involved in esports as a player. What was that like? Did this experience help you become a better broadcaster later?
It feels like a lifetime ago, I feel like almost a different person to then. My hands shake these days when I’m the last one alive for my team and the pressure is on me… back then it didn’t even make me worry.
I think being a pro player, or a high-tier player in any game, makes you understand the process. It makes you realise how hard it is to find those margins at the highest level. Almost everyone you face will be, let’s say, at 80%. You have to find the room to push that extra 20%. Whether you spend two more hours a day practising than they do, watch their demos, or warm up for longer; whatever it takes to find that 20%.
It gives you a window into understanding the work these players put in these days. I think that alone will allow people who have been pros to understand the mentality and work ethic that it takes to be at the top of any profession.
4 – Do you think it’s absolutely necessary for talent to play their respective game at a “respectable” level? How would you rate your own gaming skills?
I like to have that hands-on experience. I don’t think that applies to all talent, I know some can theorycraft VERY well. However, I learn by doing. In PUBG, the team I was mostly playing with eventually pushed pretty far into the qualifiers for big tournaments. Some have carried on and play in professional teams. I think it helps me forge that hands-on experience as to knowing the mentality of a player. I might not know their exact thoughts, but i can guess pretty darn well.
I was too late for Counter-Strike. I played the other side of FPS games when i was coming up in esports. I wasn’t a huge 1.6 or CSS player, I played a little but not a lot. However, I grinded it out. I wouldn’t say I’m a high-tier player, but I think i made up for it with time. I put in over 6.000 hours into CS:GO to ensure that i can at least say I tried.
These days, I play a whole lot. I think i have accepted that i will never have the dedication to be a pro or even a high-tier competitive player, but every now and then I can certainly push expectations.
5 – You’ve been focussing a lot on casting PUBG lately. What would you say are the keys to the Battle Royale genre craze we are currently seeing?
The thing that I believe set PUBG and other Battle Royales apart is purely the fact of the adrenaline you feel. It’s’ been so long since a new FPS style has actually settled into the rotation of games. Battle Royale naturally pushes progression and excitement.
“There can only be one winner” is a brilliant concept, it makes you feel like you are just trying to survive. I think that captured a lot of players and made them feel something in games they haven’t had in a long time.
6 – How would you compare PUBG and CS:GO as a show for spectators? What separates them? What is similar?
I think there are some very key similarities that make them very accessible. It’s a simple concept for PUBG: one team wins, by hook or by crook. It makes any spectator understand the purest concept of it. CS:GO, on the other hand, has so many small details, but at its core, watching one player pull off a 1 vs 5 and win the round is easily understandable and exciting.
PUBG still needs work as a spectator sport, whereas CS:GO has it locked down and polished. It will take time but eventually it should be exactly like being in that situation yourself.
7 – Much has been said about the lack of female representation at the very top tier of esports, what’s your take? How can we get more women involved at this level?
Oh man isn’t that just a hot potato! I wish there was a female champion I could back. I am waiting for it to happen. If I could answer that final question I would have tried to act on it myself by now, but honestly it’s not that easy.
You want to talk about visibility and accessibility, that’s being worked on. That’s getting there. It’s easier now more than ever for a female to find a team and try it out. However, none of them have pushed to the tier one spot so far. The same can be said for most men who play games, however. That top percentage of players is so small.
I will back any female player who pushes that far. I love watching Scarlett play SC or Hafu, but I want that in an FPS game.
8 – What has been the coolest experience you’ve had at one of our events so far? Any funny stories involving other talent or players you’d like to share?
I already hear the warning bells of “this doesn’t leave this event” ringing in my head. There are some amazing moments that I have shared with my co-workers at these events. It’s a weird ragtag group of people who love the same thing and bond over the long days in this new entertainment world.
I think watching Machine burn a hole in his only shirt for the day was a prime one. Machine hitting his head on the sponsor laptop is another… I mean most of them are about Machine. Sadly, I can’t say any more here. Otherwise I will break the code of honour.
9 – Any advice for young aspiring esports broadcasters?
PLEASE WATCH YOUR OWN WORK BACK. IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, NO ONE ELSE WILL.
The amount of casters who ask me for advice but don’t watch their own work back blows my mind. Be your own critic and then nothing anyone else will throw at you will bother you. That doesn’t sound healthy but, you know… do what you can with that.
10 – Where do you see yourself in five years?
I have no clue. I don’t think this business will be for the old, and eventually i will not be the demographic. Hell, I already feel like I’m pushing it. I hope I’m involved in one way or another. This industry gave me everything I have now and I don’t want to walk away without leaving a mark.