At first glance, many people don't necessarily associate Salzburg with gaming or e-sports - and yet the city surprises with a lively community in which e-sports pros, hobby gamers and cosplayers feel at home. At the end of June, the city of Mozart will once again become a gaming hotspot when the Austrian gaming and eSports festival LEVEL UP takes place for the fourth time. Gaming pioneer W&H will also be there: the medical technology company from Salzburg is successfully using e-sports in its employer branding and has set up its own e-sports factory team.

Two success stories from Salzburg: Messezentrum Salzburg and the medical technology company W&H are pioneers in e-sports and gaming. What does it take?
In any case, a large portion of courage and thinking outside the box.


W&H will once again be part of the LEVEL UP gaming festival in 2024. © LEVEL UP / Fabian Stoffers


LEVEL UP – The Gaming Festival

LEVEL UP was organized for the first time in 2021. At a time when the world was characterized by uncertainty and social events could hardly take place, LEVEL UP brought the gaming community together in the real world. Despite all the challenges, the festival was a success and laid the foundation for the future of the event. The following year, the festival offered a wider range of games, interactive workshops and panels that addressed important topics in the gaming industry and included family and gaming-related topics such as tabletop, trading cards and cosplay. Year after year, the event has grown both in terms of its offering and the number of participants. "LEVEL UP - The Gaming Festival is now a permanent fixture in our event calendar. A study from last year shows[1]that 38% of the Austrian population regularly e-games, especially on their smartphones. In the age group up to 24, this figure is even higher at around 50%. We want to offer this broad audience a platform over two days to simply have fun and join in the excitement of our competitions," says Alexander Kribus, Managing Director of Messezentrum Salzburg.

W&H successfully uses e-sports in employer branding. © Amir Kaljikovic Photography

E-Sports by W&H

For W&H, it all started with participation in the first LEVEL UP in 2021. In the fall of 2022, W&H took the next step: by founding its own e-sports factory team, the company did pioneering work and turned its own employees into professional gamers. "We are taking an unconventional approach with our e-sports project and are often asked why a medical technology company is setting up a factory e-sports team. W&H has a lot in common with the gaming scene. E-athletes are team players - and so are we at W&H," explains Anita Thallinger, Director of Marketing at W&H. Over the past two years, the members of the W&H e-sports factory team have developed from absolute "newbies" to serious competitors. With this initiative, W&H proves that e-sports can be used successfully in employer branding. Every year at LEVEL UP, the company appeals to young talents in particular, who can get to know W&H in a completely new way. In 2023, the medical technology company received three HR awards for this.

LEVEL UP - The Gaming Festival makes gamers' hearts beat faster. © LEVEL UP / Lina Jakobi

Save the Date: LEVEL UP 2024

LEVEL UP 2024 will take place on June 29 and 30 at Messezentrum Salzburg - and W&H will be there again. This year, the aim is to reach the impressive mark of 10,000 participants and consolidate its place in the German-speaking gaming landscape. Visitors can battle it out on site with the W&H e-sports factory team, discover the latest gaming trends and join in the excitement at "Morekats Mayhem #5", the popular Rocket League competition. "Gaming has long been more than just a niche and appeals to a variety of different communities. LEVEL UP brings precisely these communities together to celebrate their shared passion for gaming," says Lena Braito, Project Manager LEVEL UP.

About LEVEL UP: 

LEVEL UP is the first Austrian gaming and eSports festival that brings together gamers, gaming fans, as well as creators and stars of the scene in an experience-oriented atmosphere to experience new trends and celebrate the common passion.