Iasi, Romania is The New European E-Sports Gaming Capital in

by | Mar 18, 2022

Adrian Socaciu, the president of the Romanian Sports Institute (ISR), proposed strategies and solutions for the revitalization of Romanian sport, now with Iasi, E-sports in Europe has officially found a new home.

Gurus chat with Adrian Socaciu as he tells all about all things E-sports, gaming, and the future.

Gurus: Is the Iasi city the new capital of European gaming and E-sports? Can you elaborate?

Adrian Socaciu: Iasi is working on that. Our team is providing continuous support as we believe in playing an active role in the communities is creating a mutually beneficial partnership, therefore I flew weekly to Iasi to make sure that everything goes according to plan.

It is well known that the latest tech & trends on E-sports and gaming in Europe moved to one of the oldest cities in Romania, Iasi. The city is a political, economic and cultural centre of the province of Moldavia and home of the first Romanian university since 1860, the “Alexandru Ioan Cuza University”. The city is the oldest higher education institution in Romania, with a tradition of excellence for innovation in the IT field and its related gaming industry.

I am proud to announce that Iasi will host the 15th World Esports Championships Finals in 2023 (according to the announcement made by the International Esports Federation).

The World Esports Championships will return to Romania after the country’s capital Bucharest staged the event in 2013, and are set to feature over 130 nations and 1200 players. The World Championship pits the world’s best against each other to determine which nation will claim the cup in the only global Esports tournament featuring national teams. (Iași, Romania Set to Host 15th IESF World Esports Championships in 2023 | International Esports Federation)

It is a challenging project which requires a passion for E-sport and determination to make things happen. We are working to host an unforgettable edition as well as to make an awareness campaign that Iasi is Europe’s Biggest Gaming & E-sport capital and host city of the 15th World Esports Championships Finals in 2023.  We are providing the latest European technology statistics, trends, and data in order to excel in this field. The next level is to become one of the global hubs for online and browser game production.

I will explain to you why Iasi is the perfect city to host the 15th World Esports Championships Finals in 2023; the multicultural city is home to 6 universities with over 60,000 students annually, with a population of 507,100 inhabitants, with a culminating growth of the IT sector in the last 6 years, reaching the presence of over 15,000 employees in local and international companies like Amazon, SCC, Ness Technologies, Continental, Levi9, Centric IT Solutions.

Moreover, Iasi was declared Emerging City of the Year at the EEC Outsourcing Awards in Warsaw, Poland, in 2018, ranked as second in the top of the fastest-growing European technology communities (111% in 2019, compared to 2018) and winner of the title of “Best Smart City Project of the Year” in 2019.

Gurus: We have heard that the gaming industry in Romania is on an upward trend. What are the latest stats?

Adrian Socaciu: The Romanian Gaming Industry has reported over 200 million EUR in revenue in 2020, according to data reported to the tax authorities. This means a 19.1% increase in revenue as compared to 2019, “On par with” the global YoY increase which was 19.2% according to Newzoo. In terms of staffing, companies are reporting an average increase of 5% in total headcount. The number of studios reported has increased to 120 from the latest reported numbers. As compared to the latest report, only 45% of studios interviewed have less than 10 employees (67% in 2018) while another 42% have between 10 and 100 employees. Romania is a market of game developers, the studios that have ‘’game development’’ as the main activity (both original and as service providers) round up 67.9% (and 17% services and tools providers). Out of all service providers, 70% of them have an intention to develop their own games in the future. As compared to 2018, in 2020 only 37% of studios are using and expecting to rely solely on internal funds for development with over 60% of companies using or expecting to use external funding. The concentration of revenue by the companies on top remains high however, the top 10 Romanian gaming companies accumulated 90% of the total local industry revenue, while the top 30 companies accumulated 98% of the revenue. The number of women in the industry is also low as a whole, only 20% of the professionals in the local game dev community being women. The numbers look better if we look at the 15 biggest employers, 27% of the employees being women. For the first time, RGDA has looked into the reasons why studios become inactive and almost 70% of them found themselves in the situation that after their game launched, it failed to provide enough revenue for the company to stay afloat. (Date conform R O M A N I A N GA M E S I N D US T RY REPORT).

The video games industry in Romania currently comprises over 125 companies and some 6000 people working in this field, which places the country within the top 5 in the European Union. But the road to these figures was rather special, it does not exhibit the situation of one or more local companies reaching international success and then the industry is built around those firms. Instead, Romania features an interesting mix of top multinational companies with a significant presence and an active, growing, energetic community of independent creators.

Gurus: Romania developed many projects in the Esport industry lately, this industry is covered by a legal aspect?

Adrian Socaciu: I would like to explain what is Esport and the similarities with traditional sports as follows the same criteria. Esports is a global phenomenon; that’s why is important to understand this field in a global aspect that covers the digital world in organized competitive gaming. Esports is structured in tournaments and leagues with rules for different levels where the esports share many commonalities with traditional sports.

As you already know, we have been nominated in June 2020 by International E-Sports Federation. The process of joining the IESF took some time. However, Romania met the key criteria of being an official member of IESF.

I worked closely with professionals in this field and we shared our expertise and knowledge in order to create a fertile ground for new ideas, therefore I thank and appreciate the involvement in this great project to my working group, too: Tudor Dăescu (Bucharest Gaming Week / Gaming Marathon / Gaming Video Awards / Esports Summit), Marius Radu (GG Industry / Bucharest Gaming Week / Gaming Marathon), Alexandru Ion (Nexus Gaming / Romanian Esports League / Gaming Marathon), Mihai Cotos (Digital Crusade) and Cosma Wolkonsky (YEPP)

Along with the working party, succeeded to develop a legislative proposal. Therefore I approached the Romanian Government in order to convey an Esports legislation. We had 3 working meetings in 2021 with the state councillor Mara Mareş followed by a public debate at the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Along with the law firm Benga Coltan and Associates, I worked on the legislative proposal that I submitted to the government. I would like to quote Mara Mareş (during her presence at the eSports Summit Bucharest 2021), she declared:

The need to support e-sports in Romania is real, and the opportunity to regulate them is very clear. We have managed, in less than a year, to establish a working group that has formulated a simple, flexible and well-founded legislative proposal, which will allow Romania to catch up, in a short time, with countries with a long history in this field. It’s a law that will encourage thousands of young people to turn their passion for gaming into a profession as a professional player esports “.

Gurus: I would like to know, who is the man behind this ambitious Esports project? Who is Adrian Socaciu? Can you reveal more about yourself?

Adrian Socaciu: Yes, of course! My motto in life is: “Discover the champion in you” whether you are a doctor, engineer, actor, waiter or high-performance athlete! Don’t give up on your dream! With this motto, I presume I concentrated my life’s view, where I suggest to reflect on your performances and to embark on a remarkable journey where you will be your own champion.

I have extended experience in the sports field as I was a soccer/football player in the C division (2000-2002) and national vice-champion of junior volleyball in 2005. I was President of the Student Sports organization, where I developed a university sports system with 80,000 students for 8 sports departments (2010-2016). I will enumerate some of my achievements as I was:

– Initiator of the country project Summer University 2021 (2015);

– in Forbes Magazine Laureate, 30 Under 30 (2015);

– Adviser to the Minister of Youth and Sports (2016-2017);

– President of the Romanian Sports Institute from 2017 until now;

– Leading the first Forum dedicated to Romanian sport in 2018  (where were invited 75 speakers from 35 countries from 4 continents and 350 participants);

– Adviser to the Chamber of Deputies 2021 -2022 | CEO and Founder of citysport.ro companies

Gurus: I am quite sure you are involved in many sports projects; can you reveal some of them from your agenda?

Adrian Socaciu: I won’t elaborate on all my projects as I prefer to let my actions talk about me, as “Well done is better than well said” (Benjamin Franklin). For this year, I have had discussions with “Alexandru Ioan Cuza University” Iasi for an academic program in order to ensure a successful and enriching academic experience.

Upcoming projects are; NFT launch dedicated to worldwide Esports; to organize a festival of gaming and Esport in 2023, (the festival will be held in Iasi), to help the startups in eSports industry in taking a variety of approaches to innovate this field, therefore I am planning in a gaming and Esports hub for start-ups in Iasi, and after the completion of the Esport legislation, we will start for the construction of an Esport arena in Iasi.

Article Written By: Cyan Leigh Dacasin | Managing Editor

IG: Adrian Socaciu

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