Esports: What pushed NAVI to venture into Mobile Legends

Angela Coloma, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 02 2021 05:56 PM

SINGAPORE -- With teams for over 16 game titles, Ukraine-based gaming organization Natus Vincere (NAVI) entered the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang scene just a few months ago. 

Speaking to reporters at a virtual press conference here, NAVI's chief operating officer Aleksey Kucherov said constant communication with developers Moonton and viewership are what piqued them into acquiring an ML:BB team of their own. 

"We started investing in Mobile Legends in just few months ago and this also happened because of right communication with gaming publishers and as I've said it's very important for us right now," Kucherov said. 

"It's also interesting for us to invest in a team who is a leader of our market and that's why basically we expand to this gaming title." 

NAVI entered the ML:BB market after it acquired Deus Vult's former players, and is one of the first major gaming organizations from the West to thrust into ML:BB. 

Asked on the potential of other big gaming teams such as Team Secret and Team Liquid adapting an ML team of their own, Kucherov said it was important for clubs to communicate with players and game developers, adding that it was hard to speak on behalf of other gaming organizations. 

"The ecosystem of every gaming title is important for every club... It means that every club should see big audiences. And they should see interests from the gaming publisher. They should communicate with the teams. They should announce plans regarding their gaming titles for the next year, for example, because this long-term planning is very interesting and very important topic for every club," Kucherov said. 

NAVI is one of the major gaming organizations around the world, at par with the likes of Team Secret and Team Liquid, with rosters for Counter Strike, Dota 2, among others. 

It also sees potential in the audience and market of Southeast Asia, calling it the "strongest" in the ML:BB scene. But Kucherov said the organization is leaning more on building their homegrown players -- for now. 

"NAVi is a CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) club first of all, of course we have allowed European audience as well. However, we feel that we should go through our own home region because we can build here the strongest team. We can communicate, speak with the players, we can gather them. We know how to fix some issues, performance issues, player issues. It's just a native region. So it's much easier for us to build a stronger team here than in other regions," Kucherov said. 

"However, the audience of the SEA region is also a very interesting for us. So let's see how it goes." 

Parading a mix of Russian and Ukranian players, NAVI will be one of 16 participating teams in the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang World Championship to be held from December 6.