When you enjoy doing something, you usually do it well, just like how persistence and enthusiasm are key players in bringing an idea to life. Andreas Berlinger, passionate gamer at the A1 Group had to go through several rounds around the company and drink at least 100 coffees with people he needed to convince before successfully spreading the eGaming virus and making eSports a fixed part in the A1 portfolio. #MakeItHappen

Andreas Berlinger
Empowering Ideas
at A1 Group

 

Faced with slow internet at home, Andreas knew he had to do something. From then on, this D’Artagnan of gamers started looking for companions for his quest to improve internet performance, not only for his own needs, but also for those of the rapidly growing gaming community. After all, Andreas was and is convinced, that “we offer a product which has a positive influence on gaming: internet access! High bandwidth is necessary for downloading just as much as a stable connection and latency. And those are an A1 asset.”

Do you want to know what makes A1 and eSports make a perfect fit? Read on and find out more about Andreas’ tips in pursuing goals and his attitude towards gaming. And also what we can learn about ourselves when playing.

What were your highlights of the past 5 years?

2015

The first time I asked around in the company why we’re not doing anything for gamers, the answer back then was that the target group was too small. I then stumbled upon a study from Germany, according to which two thirds of the population play something: board games, card games or video games. I was then told: „Yes Andreas, it may be so that every other household plays something, but every household has a household. That is why we would rather concentrate on smart home solutions.“ This was a setback for sure, but I did not stop believing.

2016

After Game City in Vienna (3-day event with more than 70,000 visitors), I decided to get active myself. First, I started to collect ideas in focus groups and then I went on to pick the right people within our company – many small pieces making the ultimate proposition together!

2017

Introduction of the Premium Modem as a „Gamer’s Modem“, foundation of the Adria League and A1 eSports League.

2018 – 2019

Opening of the A1 eSports Hubs in Vienna, Dornbirn and Golling … and more on the way! :-)

What was your first computer game?
Back in 1984 I loved playing flight simulator games on the C64 and later on the Amiga, like Interceptor – of course while listening to the soundtrack of „Top Gun“ and „Iron Eagle“. :-) Even though everyone has played Super Mario at some point, Halo was and is the best game of all time.

What is so inspiring about gaming?
A successful game is like an interactive film or a good book:it fascinates you and you become an active part of it. It combines a story, graphic design and sound and freedom of decision to a certain level making it a media artpiece.


Gaming is just fun!


Do you get nostalgic when playing?
Not really. When I play old games today I do not understand my fascination from my childhood anymore. I really prefer playing with today’s graphic design, sound and controllers. Secondly: Gaming is not only for children!

 

»Everyone should play games. It helps to destress, raise tolerance levels for mistakes and in the end you really learn a lot about yourself.«

What did you learn about yourself?
Honestly, a lot. I definitely know what motivates me. To make mistakes is no issue for me, because it happens many times when playing. I have been talking to many people in the past years who stopped playing, the reason being that they did not like making mistakes. My advice to them is: start again! It has to be ok to make mistakes – while playing as well as in professional life.

Are you a different person when playing than in daily life?
Playing is part of my „daily life”. I am probably most honest when playing. Plato is supposed to have said: “You Can Discover More About a Person in an Hour of Play than in a Year of Conversation.”

How many hours do you spend playing per week?
Too little (laughs). Maybe 4-6 hours per week. Besides that, we have a fixed virtual meeting with my fellows every Thursday. It’s been going on for more than 14 years.

Regarding addiction to gaming. How do you handle that?
I think addiction starts when something harms a person in a physical, mental or social way. If he or she does not notice it him-or herself, then their environment has to take action.

What are the advantages of eSports compared to real sports?
I believe the big difference lies is the relationship between fans and athletes. Many of the big stars are streaming on Twitch for instance. This is so much more personal than just a TV interview. As a fan, I am following the game or training and get directly in touch with my hero’s comments and reactions.

 

The „make a wish“ foundation facilitates critically ill children to make a wish come true. Recently, you met three kids who were passionate about eGaming, where A1 was able to cause some happy moments.

 

This was a great experience – not only for the kids, but also for myself. I will never forget the sparkle in their eyes when they arrived in the hall at the eSports League in November and their big smiles when they entered the stage. You could feel their fascination and emotion clearly. To feel happiness is great, but to give it, that’s ways better.

Header Image: A1 eSports League Austria – Rise of the Legends (c) David Ihl