We start from an important, fundamental assumption that could help to understand why I am writing these words as an editorial in response to the one published yesterday. Never, except in exceptional cases like this, have I allowed myself to use the first person singular: the reason is that I prefer to report objective facts, both qualitative and quantitative, rather than mere opinions, trying rather to provoke a reasoning in the reader. Even this editorial will not exempt from reporting facts and trying to achieve the same goal, however I cannot be exempt from giving my personal opinion too because Ivan Grieco, aka “Rampage in the Box”, is a friend, a person with whom I have worked several times, with whom I have dined, with whom I have often found myself chatting pleasantly, with whom I have shared the fantastic esports experience of following the Call of Duty World Championships in Orlando.
Perhaps for this very reason I can not help but have my say, precisely because it is a friend and a person I want to protect, as I already did some time ago with Ferakton and KenRhen, albeit in other ways. Let’s start from the beginning. Ivan is a professional who has given a lot to the Italian esports scene, he gave his all, first as a player and coach, then as a caster, probably receiving less than he deserved. Many know him from his Call of Duty background but the truth is that Ivan has commented on matches of practically any video game (and more): from FIFA to CS: GO, from Crash Team Racing Nitro Fueled to presenting events such as Lega Prima and the Rainbow Six Siege finals of the PG Nationals. A very respectable curriculum made of experience gained in the field, an experience that has placed him for years as a reference point for many young gamers, even for those who, one day, would like to be a caster. That is, those people who create the pathos, who build the atmosphere of a match, and do not simply tell what happens.
But the question now becomes: do we really need more Ivan Grieco? The answer, it might surprise you, to me is no. Ivan was an important character for the Italian esports scene, not just “a caster”: an eclectic, showy character who built his own image different from the usual dull commentator we were used to, more like a Mediaset commentator than a one of the RAI, to make a comparison. A type of figure necessary to give a boost to the world of esports, to create that extra interest that arouses media attention. Do we still need it? At this moment, no.
At present, esports has already achieved the attention it deserves, or in any case that minimum of interest necessary to keep curiosity alive in the Italian sector. And as more and more sponsors arrive, more and more professionals from other sectors, not only does the competition become fierce but a certain type of behavioral bar is established. This is why a character like Ivan’s is extremely difficult to find a place. Such an eclectic, outgoing figure that he went far beyond the simple role of caster. His own public utterances show a person aspiring to other roles as well. And it’s not necessarily bad, quite the contrary.
Ivan intelligently understood this very well last year. The pandemic epidemic has blocked practically all esports events, even the eSerieA one that should have started in March 2020 and that Ivan himself should have commented. The resulting lockdown allowed Ivan to explore new territories, to realize that he could be more than just a caster, that he could become a reference figure in other areas. He personally promoted the protest of many Twitch streamers against the unclear policies of the global entertainment giant Amazon; he began to bring politics and current affairs to his viewers, commenting on the most important news on a daily basis, as well as proposing his analyzes on investigative programs (Report on all, for example). Until today, with its channel which now hosts prominent representatives of Italian politics: former minister Fedeli, Marco Rizzo of the Communist Party, Cristiano Zuliani, senator of the League, and soon (Thursday 4 October) the mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi. His new job is doing it very well, the idea is that you are now wearing a suit tailored for him, who is now more of a commentator, interested more in political issues than in esports-related topics. We can say that Ivan Grieco is now a figure who has little or nothing to do with esports at the moment.
Ivan is no longer a caster, he is now an all-round commentator. A job that involves clamor, being enterprising and at times even seeming uncomfortable. A figure that, in general, it is not easy to coexist with that of caster. For some time, Ivan Grieco has chosen of his own free will to represent a different character, who perhaps clashes a little with the role of caster. A path defined by a Twitch channel where he addresses issues that have nothing to do with competitive gaming, and which are probably one of the reasons why Infront, Lega Serie A and above all PG Esports have no longer contacted him.
Having listened to both sides, I can say that as often happens the truth lies somewhere in between. On the one hand, Ivan complains not so much the non-compliance with previous agreements, as the not timely communication of not having been confirmed; on the other hand, those called into question affirm that they have never given rise to alleged confirmations, as for a simple “we’ll see later”, while candidly stating that there was a delay in communication, caused by the organizational complexity of the eSerieA competition which sees more actors involved. Unless there was a written agreement between him and the organizers of the eSerie A, there is no malvalence behind the fact that the latter have decided to aim for others. This is also how new professionals can emerge, with the courage to focus on new names, perhaps little known at the moment, but with growth prospects.
Another issue related to communication in general. It will be a coincidence, but the difficulty in finding news on the draft of the new eSerie A, was objective. While smaller organizations forward messages, emails, tweets and so on to give news (in time) of their initiatives, yesterday we read very little of the eSerie A on the net. Very few news have leaked from posts and tweets launched almost in a personal capacity. A strategy that leaves a little surprised, in the negative.
As for Ivan, probably rightly so, the export scene evolves and grows also redefining roles, skills, hierarchies and appearances on screen. We are not saying that Ivan has had his day (God forbid, not even 30 years old!) But only that right now, and perhaps for this project, that’s right. In this period, perhaps Infront, Lega Serie A and PG Esports, have found more than one reason to bet on someone else, trying to launch a completely new project, starting from the absolute protagonists, and from those who, around them, will go to create atmosphere: the voices of the casters, in fact.