As the football season winds to a close, the same rings true for the Madden Championship Series. The esports competition to crown the year's top MCS competitor is as hotly contested as ever, but the event also saw the presentation of the first MCS Positive Player Award.
This marks the second Positive Player Award from EA, but it's the first time a member of the Madden community has been a recipient of this honor. We had the opportunity to speak to EA Sr. Director of Esports Brand & Marketing Monica Dinsmore about the importance of this award and fostering positivity in competitive gaming.
EA reveals Greg "SL1MGHOST" Allen as first-ever MCS Positive Player Award recipient
During the heavily anticipated Ultimate Madden Bowl Finals broadcast, EA took a moment to reveal Greg "SL1MGHOST" Allen as the first winner of the Madden NFL 24 Championship Series (MCS) Positive Player Award. Nominations and voting for the award were done directly through the MCS community, and SL1MGHOST spoke briefly about the honor.
“I've always tried to look out for people in a positive way. This is truly amazing,” he said. “I want to thank all the competitors. I do a lot behind the scenes to try to make sure everybody's okay, to make it positive… You know, this is probably the best award that I've gotten in my lifetime.”
We also had the opportunity to speak to EA's Sr. Director of eSports Brand & Marketing, Monica Dinsmore, about the MCS Positive Player Award and how this award came to be.
"It began at the Electronic Arts level. It's super important for EA to create a safe space for our players to engage in our games. Our mission at EA is to inspire the world to play. And in order to connect with our global online community, we need them to feel welcome. We need it to be a safe environment and for evernyone to be included every time they play our games," she said.
"Esports is such a great platform for us to be able to showcase sportspersonship, and that's why the first Positive Player Award was given to a competitor in the ALGS (Apex Legends Global Series)," she said. "Now we're moving on to MCS and Madden, and then the next we'll be working with the EA Sports FC community. Using that is a really great way to amplify this really special award."
Gaming already brings people together, but competitive gaming has a special knack for creating dedicated close-knit communities even within larger gaming communities. When we spoke, Dinsmore talked about the power of using esports to bring players together in this way.
"It's such an amazing position to be in. Especially to be able to work across multiple games, because it really is a way to further connect beyond the game and bond around fandom. [Players] bond around that sort of deep love for people that play. It's almost like a special club if you get esports, especially if you get to attend an esports event in person," she said. "That's such an awesome experience for you to share with your fans and people that love the game. It's like a special club you feel like you belong to that is created by the community for the community. And then, ultimately publishers like EA do what they can to support that community."
"In talking with the nominees and subsequently the winners, it's just a really special way to be recognized within your own community. To know that your fellow competitors nominated you and supported you, and it's not just something that there's an EA committee sitting there and evaluating. It's really for the community and by the community, and the sentiment that I hear from nominees is that it's just a really special honor for the fellow competitors to nominate you," she said. "It feels like it just goes above and beyond what you could actually win in competition. It recognizes something that is really about your character, so that just makes it something that is really special for all the nominees but particularly the winner."
As our conversation wrapped up, EA's Monica Dinsmore also hammered home how special it has been to make the MCS Ultimate Madden Bowl Finals a part of the larger Super Bowl week experience, including Madden 24 being featured in the NFL Pro Bowl Games.
"It is really beneficial for us as a Madden ecosystem to show up together and show up alongside those big moments in the NFL. We wanna make it a celebration of football," she said. "The more that we can show up, as an esports organization and as a game, collectively with the real-life football game that we all love, it just makes it more impactful. And, like I said, a celebration of all things that are football."