What are your thoughts on “pro” gaming and the competitive scene? I have a negative perception of it, most of the players seem super toxic in their mindsets or behaviors. I’m sure not all are, I’ve met some that are nice and pleasant but not most.

I think that competition at the highest skill levels can be compelling to watch for the right games. I think that the narrative that naturally grows out of high level competition results in rivalries that can be engaging for players to follow. I also think that high level competition self-selects for a certain amount of ego that helps drive the player to compete at a high level.

I also think that it's not healthy to get too involved in any kind of parasocial relationship with influencers, including professional gamers. These people are not in the spotlight because they are good people, they're in the spotlight because they can play a particular game very well. One would do well to remember that expertise in one field isn't necessarily transferrable to other fields. I should be able to admire someone's ability to perform at such a high level without needing to agree with them on anything else or condoning any toxic behavior.

From an industry perspective, pro gamers generally fall into the "influencer" bucket. The dev team will often solicit feedback from them since they tend to be extremely familiar with game systems, but listening to feedback should never be conflated with "will do exactly as they demand". Marketing may invite them to marketing events or set up sponsored competitions/exhibitions for these players to participate in as a way to generate interest in an upcoming product release. That's about it from my perspective.

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