PAX East brings some interesting things to the table. Every time I attend the show, I end up being caught by surprise by a game, organization, or initiative that I hadn’t heard of prior.
This year, one of my first conversations was with the good folks over at COPE – or the Coalition of Parents in Esports. If you haven’t heard of them already, they are a group of parents whose children are professional esports athletes, and they’ve banded together to help one another forge better bonds with their children through esports and mentorship initiatives. COPE had one of the best booth aesthetics of the entire show – sporting tropical shirts and leis in their “COPE Cabana” on the show floor. How could I walk past that and not say hello?
I had the pleasure of speaking with Chris Spikoski, the co-founder and CEO of COPE – and father of Fortnite pro Griffin “Sceptic” Spikoski. Chris gave me a rundown on the origins of COPE, and how he and a few other parents first banded together at the Fortnite World Cup a few years back and struck up a conversation about how to better connect with – and support – their kids as they pursue their esports dreams.
Chris went on to say that there can sometimes be a stigma with parents in esports, people judge parents who encourage their kids for playing video games in the first place, and esports is no different. So instead of just shrugging off the hate, Chris and his fellow co-founders set out to create an organization that not only acts as a support system for esports pros and parents alike – but also has been able to rope in financial and legal consultants, for example, to make sure that the money being made by such young talent isn’t squandered or mismanaged.
As someone who’s always had the support of his parents whether it was for my love of gaming in general or for WGG/Not Another Gaming Podcast, seeing something like this take shape and impact the lives of families in the industry really warms the heart.