Complex Media Unwraps Vertical-Focused YouTube MCN

by Sahil Patel

As YouTube creators and networks continue to search for opportunities beyond the world’s biggest video site, an interesting thing is happening with traditional media companies and legacy publishers — they’re moving in the opposite direction.

In most cases, these companies are simply partnering with YouTube talent on content or promotional campaigns in the hopes of attracting their large, young, and engaged audiences.

Some companies — Conde Nast and Hearst, to name a few — have gone a step further and made heavy investments in the YouTube ecosystem. The latest in this thread, it appears, is male lifestyle publisher Complex Media, which is launching a new vertical-focused multi-channel network on YouTube.

Complex already boasts of a strong online video business. The company says its video network aggregates more than 120 million unique viewers each month. This includes its owned Complex TV platform, which launched in early 2013, as well as a syndication network that includes YouTube and Dailymotion.

Now the publisher wants to pay greater attention to YouTube, with a new MCN organized around five verticals core to its business: music, men’s fashion, sneaker culture, and sports.

The Complex MCN launches with 40 creators and channels on board, including DJ Vlad (669,000 subscribers), Tony Hawk’s Ride Channel (752,000 subscribers), and Hes Kicks (81,000 subscribers). Complex’s main YouTube channel(124,000 subscribers) as well as channels for its different sites within its larger media network are also part of the offering, which collectively reaches 6 million subscribers on YouTube.

For creators, Complex’s MCN is an opportunity to not only produce content with the company, but also take advantage of its sales force, which will look to coordinate larger vertical-spanning media buys, says Complex.

“Our sales team has proven successful at amplifying campaigns across our publisher network of over 120 media brands on the editorial side,” says Complex’s Video GM Nathan Brown. “We are excited to provide the same opportunity for video creators across YouTube, as well as Complex’s own publishing brands.”

On the content side, Complex will occasionally turn to its network when sourcing talent for new original programming (non-affiliated creators will be considered, too.) As for the slate of original content on Complex TV, including shows like “Magnum Opus,” “Riff Raff Realm,” and “Complex News,” as well they will various one-off pieces, Complex says they will be “funneled” into the appropriate verticals within the network.

Mapping The MMO Market

Online multi-player games have been popular for a long time. But in only a few short years, the market for MMOs has changed dramatically in terms of revenue, player preferences and addressable audience. Overall, the total category is on track to generate $11 billion in annual revenues by the end of this year, representing roughly 21 percent of the worldwide digital games market. By 2017, this number is forecast to grow to $13 billion. And so it is hardly a surprise that both small and large publishers alike are trying to claim their share of this thriving market.

Building The Dream
There’s plenty of random information on free-to-play MMOs floating around. And it is fascinating how many companies make million dollar decisions based on anecdotal evidence and things they’ve overheard at a conference. What’s been missing has been a consistent, reliable source of market data that goes beyond traffic estimates and, instead, provides insight into three key components: the monthly active user base, the percentage of players that convert to spending and, finally, the average spend per paying player.

For example, if you compare a title like League of Legends with World of Tanks, you immediately notice that the former has a much, much larger audience. However, the latter monetizes as higher rate and has a higher overall lifetime value. (This was the topic of an article we published earlier this year.) Each in their own way, these titles evolve and develop based on the unique characteristics of their user base and content strategy.

By building a data partner network consisting of developers, publishers and payment providers, we’ve managed to accumulate a dataset that contains the actual spending of over 37 million digital gamers, going back well over a decade. Consider for a moment that in the digital games market only a few percent of players actually converts to spending. This allows us to map out historical performance, read early signs of market saturation, build detailed life cycle curves, and establish title-level performance. Combined with in-depth qualitative consumer insight, we know exactly what drives the market, and it puts our publisher clients in a position to assess marketing budgets, identify major inflection points and benchmark overall performance.

Comparing Top MMOs
Looking at the current top ten MMOs we notice that League of Legends is now the number one MMO with $946 million in revenues so far in 2014. Riot Games’ emphasis on providing a unique player experience, rather than focusing on revenues, has paid off. Remarkably, incumbent titles like Crossfire ($897 million) and Dungeon Fighter ($891 million) managed to maintain their leadership positions, providing evidence to the notion that free-to-play gamers are much more loyal than is generally assumed. What’s really exciting is DOTA 2’s rise in the charts, reaching $136 million in revenues, now claiming the number nine spot, up from number 20 previously. And, finally, ahead of its earnings call Activision is brimming with good news: after announcing an increase in its subscriber base for World of Warcraft earlier, its new title Hearthstone managed to come in at number ten, ahead of titles like Elder Scrolls Online ($111 million) and Star Wars: The Old Republic ($106 million). Of course, there is no way of knowing whether Valve intends to announce Half-Life 3 now that Team Fortress 2 is losing its position and dropping from 11 to 14 with $92 million in year-to-date revenues, but one can dream.

Changing Consumer Preferences
The success of MOBA titles indicates a subtle but important shift in the way people like to play online. Offering the same fast paced action as first-person shooter games, MOBAs have quickly become one of the most popular game genres worldwide, growing their share of the overall MMO category from 16 percent to 24 percent in just the last year. On a title-level, we observe the ascendance of League of Legends and DOTA 2. Certainly, both companies’ eSports strategy played a major role in popularizing the MOBA genre, and it is paying them dividends.

But the popularity of the free-to-play model among consumers does not mean that traditional ways of publishing are on a decline. In fact, whenever there’s a major release on console, either via traditional retail or digital channels, we observe a dip in free-to-play spending. Gamers, the data tells us, play on multiple platforms at once and regularly shift their focus between them, expressed in both time played and money spent. Innovative game mechanics and monetization strategies, it suggests, do not exist in a vacuum, but rather expand and add to the gaming ecosystem. How publishers differentiate themselves in such a volatile market has become a key strategic component.

Changing Revenue Models
The recent news that World of Warcraft saw a 600,000 increase in its subscriber base in the lead-up to its new expansion, Warlords of Draenor, silenced critics of the subscription-based MMO revenue model. Generating well over one billion in annual revenues, the game is on track to tally 8.2 million subscribers by the end of the year. Its underlying mechanics have changed, however, as World of Warcraft now also features microtransactions and a partial free-to-play component. It is a sign that things are changing, especially for the major publishers, when a company like Activision retires Titan and, instead, doubles down on Heroes of the Storm.

A key reason why free-to-play is so popular among publishers is its ability to distribute and monetize new markets. In the absence of an installed console base and in countries where people generally play at Internet cafés rather than at home, free-to-play games offer high-quality game play that is also accessible. Consequently, we’ve seen a spectacular adoption by gamer audiences in markets like Brazil, Russia and Turkey. But Asia remains the biggest market for free-to-play MMOs: with $4.2 billion in revenues, it looms over North America ($3.1 billion) and Europe ($2.1 billion), two markets traditionally central to any successful publishing strategy. The popularity of this model, combined with the protectionist policies of a country like China, has allowed a company like Tencent to quickly become a dominating force in the industry. It has also, however, raised the bar for future growth, as big Asian publishers now ask themselves how to replicate their success in Western markets. Tencent’s answer so far has been to acquire and invest in companies that offer high quality game play that is also culturally relevant, like Riot Games and Epic. We expect to see more of this in the years to come.

So that’s where we are on the MMO market today. We still have a way to go, but by working together as an industry, we have managed to establish a necessary degree of market transparency. Because, let’s face it, game development and publishing isn’t getting any cheaper.

Marketing Games Doesn’t Have To Be Gross

By Brendan Sinclair

Marketing has a bad reputation among game developers, but it doesn’t have to be that way. That was the message marketing specialist Alex Hayter delivered while speaking at Gamercamp festival in Toronto on Friday.

When developers think of marketing, Hayter said they often picture a room full of suits trying to trick people into spending their money, empty buzz words like “brand synergy,” and cynically sexist ads and booth babes.

Alex Hayter

“This stuff makes you feel kinda gross, doesn’t it As game makers, this stuff makes us find marketing as at best ineffective, and at worst, slimy and disgusting,” Hayter said. “And as people who also buy and play video games, it makes us less compelled and less interested. But I’m here to tell you it doesn’t have to be like that. My main argument is that marketing doesn’t have to be gross, and it doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be an incredibly effective way for people to better understand what your game is about. And it doesn’t have to make you feel ashamed to take part in it.”

Marketing games can be as fun as making them, Hayter said, encouraging developers in the audience to eschew the standard tactics of selling games in favor of solutions that were fun, weird, and surprising. He gave some examples, including a Super T.I.M.E. Force trailer {link no longer active} that cribbed the style of Saturday morning cartoons of old, Nintendo’s original Super Smash Bros. TV spot {link no longer active}, and a German magazine ad for Quake portraying the id shooter as part of an idyllic family portrait.

Hayter said such ads show the developers have a certain sense of humor, and that “they don’t take the tacky, randy world of marketing too seriously.” It doesn’t hurt that these sort of campaigns also lend themselves more to sharing through social media.

“Moreover, it tells you that their game isn’t normal, because normal is boring,” Hayter said. “Weird marketing doesn’t have to inform people about your game explicitly, but instead reaches to your audience to say, ‘Hey, we get you,’ and creates a bond.”

Even if a developer doesn’t have the budget for slickly produced videos or magazine ads, Hayter said they can still get results on a shoestring budget, and pointed to a few campaigns he worked on as evidence.

For Pop Sandbox’s Pipe Trouble, a game that asks players to build a gas pipeline that meets the needs of the gas company as well as local farmers, Hayter said the team cobbled together arcade cabinets to house demo kiosks of the game, which then traveled to various locations and festivals around the Toronto area. Those cabinets got the game plenty of attention from the press, which then blossomed into a front page scandal as the government-funded game was wading into a deeply contentious area of political debate in Canada.

Other campaigns included one for SpongeLab Interactive in which the company attended conventions and hid sponges around the venue (with permission of course). Each sponge had a note on it saying that it could be brought back to the SpongeLab Interactive booth for a free prize (sponge toffee). For Blot Interactive’s Facebook game Chat Fu, Hayter saw an opportunity to merge the marketing with the game itself. Chat Fu is a Facebook chat where the goal is to trick the other person into saying a specific word, so Hayter organized a press interview from within the game that doubles as a showpiece for its mechanics.

“The opportunities are there,” Hayter said. “It just takes imagination. Next time you sit down and plan out marketing for your game, [have] some fun with your audience and yourself. Do something weird. Do something surprising. It’ll get your game realized, and you’ll have a great time.”

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Consumers Expect $200 VR

While there’s no concrete launch date yet for a consumer product, Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s Morpheus are slowly but steadily heading towards the finish line. Most developers has spoken to about virtual reality headsets have been enormously excited about the opportunities, but how do consumers feel Research firm EEDAR asked consumers about their awareness and excitement around VR and how much they are willing to spend.

Awareness of various VR devices at this point is quite high at 75 percent, but purchase intent of current PC and console gamers is very low — only 8 percent said they’ll buy a VR headset in the next 12 months (assuming one’s available). Part of the problem is that the majority of consumers still haven’t had a chance to try out VR in any capacity. 17 percent have tried it and when they do, they’re much more likely to want to buy.

EEDAR pointed out, “This need to personally experience VR stands in stark contrast to typical discovery methods within the gaming industry — where discovery is largely driven by word-of-mouth recommendations (only 22 percent said they would purchase a VR device based on a friend’s recommendation).”

Consumers who have shown an interest in VR made it clear that they want fresh experiences, not simply the latest shooter converted into a VR-compatible game. The desire for made-for-VR games aligns well with Oculus’ intent to provide a real sense of presence and immersion in its games. While new experiences are crucial to driving enjoyment, cost is still the most important factor impacting purchasing decisions, EEDAR found. Players are willing to invest in high-quality experiences, but are wary of the potential price tag (especially since, for most, adding VR would necessitate additional upgrades and peripherals).

On average, gamers indicated they would be willing to spend between $100-$200 on the headset itself, and up to $376 total (on the device, peripherals and necessary upgrades) to add VR capabilities to their gaming setups.

“Virtual Reality is a hot topic in the games industry right now, but consumers are still mostly undecided about whether they will purchase VR devices when they become commercially available. Most console and PC gamers are now aware of the VR devices, but only a small percentage have actually experienced the technology. It is a positive sign for VR that those that have tried the devices are still interested in purchase. The key for the industry will be making sure as many people as possible get a chance to try the device and that their experience is as high in quality as possible,” commented Patrick Walker, EEDAR’s Head of Insights and Analytics.

Republished from For more, read and subscribe to the newsletter to get the latest in game industry news, opinions, exclusive interviews, and industry data. 

Global Mobile Games Revenues To Reach $25 Billion In 2014

Newzoo, the international games market research firm, announced that its latest Quarterly Global Games Market Update, released to clients last week, includes a significant upward revision of growth forecasts for global mobile game revenues. It now expects global mobile game revenues to reach $25 billion in 2014, up 42 percent on 2013, following strong year-to-date growth in both mature and emerging markets, across smartphones and tablets. As a result, mobile games are on track to replace the traditional console market as the largest game segment by revenues in 2015.

Newzoo Revises Forecasts Upward Due to Strong & Broad Year-to-Date Growth
The growth of the mobile market is broad-based, with both “mature” Western and emerging markets growing fast in 2014. The North American market is now expected to grow 51 percent year-on-year and Western Europe by 47 percent. However, the fastest growth can be found in emerging Southeast Asian markets and China (+ 86 percent). The Japanese market also enjoys strong growth in iOS and Android game revenues, though overall remains stable due to the collapse of traditional feature phone game revenues. Despite a widely reported slump in new tablet unit sales, game revenues on tablets are growing faster than smartphones, cementing the position of tablets as a key gaming device.

According to Vincent van Deelen, Market Analyst at Newzoo: “With the public release of these new forecasts, Newzoo is deliberately countering the sentiment aired in recent months that the mobile gaming market is becoming saturated in mature Western markets, especially the US. This is simply not the case. We are also emphasizing that the recent results of individual high profile companies such as Rovio, King, DeNA and GREE are not necessarily indicative of the state of the mobile market as a whole. It is not in our interest to inflate market figures, but the hard facts have forced us to adjust our estimates upward. We have maintained our year-on-year growth rates toward 2017, ultimately leading to a $40 billion+ market in 2017.”

Mobile to Become World’s Largest Games Market Segment in 2015
Newzoo research shows that the high mobile growth rate is driven by both “organic growth”, lifting the overall market, and “cannibalistic growth,”, at the expense of other segments. In addition to the initial casualties of mobile growth (handheld console and online casual and social gaming), Newzoo notes signs of slower growth in (online) PC games and MMOs as spending is diverted to mobile devices.

Mobile is now expected to become the largest game segment by revenues in 2015, an astonishing feat given that Apple App Store only launched in 2008. According to Peter Warman, CEO of Newzoo: “In mature Western markets, we see the battle between iOS and Android shifting toward tablets. In most of these countries, including the U.S., Android smartphones gross more revenues than the iPhone, but the iPad keeps iOS ahead in overall mobile game spending. Android tablets seem to be in the same position its smartphones were in four years ago: fragmented in terms of device specs and a lower share of game and average spending. Amazon’s Kindle Fire is an exception, scoring high on both KPIs, but for now the iPad maintains its lead taking the lion’s share of tablet game revenues. Because mobile gaming is possible on two of the four screens (Smartphone & Tablet) it could theoretically claim half of consumer spending, leaving the other half for the remaining screens (PC and TV).

Apple’s Game Revenues Could Double Those of Nintendo This Year
The Apple App Store remains by far the biggest single platform in the mobile industry, accounting for about half the mobile games market revenues in 2014, with Google Play a close second. Newzoo estimates that Apple and Google will earn close to $4 billion and $3 billion respectively in games revenues in calendar year 2014, explaining the fast growth in Google’s “other revenues” in its recent quarterly results. To put this into perspective, Nintendo’s game revenues amounted to $2.4 billion last year and will likely be slightly lower this year. Other app stores likely to grab a significant market share in Android games include Amazon and several Chinese stores such as 360 Mobile Assistant, Tencent’s MyApp, Baidu Mobile Assistant and Xiaomi’s MIUI.

Streaming Services Are Changing TV Viewing

It’s no secret that more services are making the jump to streaming, as both HBO and CBS announced last week that it would be launching stand-alone apps where viewers could watch their favorite programming from a number of given devices. But could this change television viewership as we know it Michael Wolff of The Hollywood Reporter recently sounded off on the matter.

While the rise of streaming services is notable, that doesn’t automatically mean that television is on a deathknell. In fact, according to Wolff, the venue could very well expand even further, opening the door to possibly more revenue.

“Yet it is the Netflix model that breaks from web formats and reverts to traditional premium TV,” said Wolff. “It charges subscription fees; it licenses content (largely TV content); and now it makes, a la HBO, highly regarded programming using top talent. Other than residing on the web or as an app, Netflix actually rejects the conventions of digital media. It is not user-generated; it is not social; it is not bite size; it is not free. And now its approach is the one most other digital companies with big media ambitions — Google, Amazon, Yahoo — are looking to pursue: that is, to become like television.”

He continued, talking in television’s defense, “Television, in the digital view, will go the way of music and print, low-value fuel for the high-value digital engine. But television always has been a different sort of media product, never one thing (broadcast, cable, syndicated, first-run, rerun, VHS, DVD, DVR, etc.) but ever transforming, protean. It’s currency in the hands of savvy traders: You want my hit show, you give me this distribution advantage; you want my distribution, you give me your hit show. The more platforms, the more leverage.

“Indeed, traditional television’s establishment of streaming outlets is not merely an effort to compete with native digital TV platforms but to deliver a warning to satellite and cable distributors — mostly Comcast — that content producers have another way to weight the scales in negotiations for cable fees. Of course, at the same time, in this finely balanced ecosystem, Comcast, controlling the largest share of broadband delivery, also benefits from the growth of digital TV platforms. And with a two-tier net-neutrality rule coming — that is, a faster and slower speed — Comcast will have another thumb to put on its side of the scale,” Wolff continued.

He offered the concluding statements, “The digital world believes, too, that it gains key advantages on its own turf. But television, curiously, always has been very good at competing with itself. The archetype of the TV executive as rapacious and ever-calculating — a truly heartless suit — probably is an accurate one, meaning he or she negotiates well. TV product, available in myriad ways and through often competing distributors, has remained both carefully controlled and artfully profitable — now, with subscription and advertising revenue, more than ever. Once we believed television would be diminished in a fractured world; in fact, it turns out television’s power grows as it accommodates greater and more varied demand.

“Assume HBO bought Netflix for $30 billion. What would it own A streaming site that competes for its subscribers. By saving $30 billion and creating a stand-alone version of its HBO Go app, it essentially will have the same outcome: a streaming site that competes for its subscribers. But for every subscriber who shifts, it will make money at the Netflix rate of $8.99 a month (in many instances, more than it makes per subscriber from its cable deals). So it: a) hurts Netflix and all other digital competitors; b) does not hurt itself; c) establishes a new platform, potentially raising the share price of parent Time Warner; and d) has an empirical learning curve for how to grow across new platforms and extend its ubiquity. Ditto for CBS,” he said.

The full editorial can be read here.

Crowdsourcing Getting Accepted In Advertising

When it comes to advertising, most name brands like to stick to tried-and-true methods. However, an interesting new trend has arisen that not only provides a fresh voice to the medium, but could also give several crowdsourcing people a chance to shine.

That’s according to a new article from Mashable, which indicates that crowdsourced advertising isn’t just being saved for special occasions (like the Super Bowl) anymore. Instead, it’s becoming more like the norm, and founding a new model in the process.

James DeJulio, a co-founder and chief executive for ad tech firm Tongal, explains that there’s room for crowdsourced advertising in this medium, acting like the “Uber of the marketing world.” The demand for it has actually arisen quite a bit over the past few years, with original content being introduced across a number of platforms, such as digital and social media. It can also result in lower budgeting for ads, based around low-cost projects introduced by said partners.

“It’s non-traditional work, and it’s a model that’s really starting to catch on,” said DeJulio. “And creative people are enabled by technology now to do what only big organizations could do before.”

A lot of companies have been wary in regards to working with crowdsourced-based advertising, mainly because of the established trends that have already come from it. However, with more and more viral and television hits with certain ads, they’re starting to lean back a bit from this theory, and, indeed, give the “little guys” a chance to do their thing.

However, there’s still risk with it. “Even if you do want to let the inmates run the asylum, without the proper checks and balances in place, it can fall with a thud,” said Sean McNamara, chief strategy officer for Omelet. “It can be more work than if you’d manufactured the ad yourself, and if it fails, that’s just untenable for a brand with a low risk tolerance.”

That’s not to say that companies should be discouraged from giving it a try. Several big-name brands have benefitted from working with crowdsourcing with big results. Coca-Cola, for example, hosts a filmmakers’ program that airs in theaters across the country. A sample of this advertising can be seen below.


Oculus Rift Movie ‘Zero Point’ Coming

Even though it’s still a ways off from retail, the Oculus Rift has certainly come a long way from its early development days. Its current development kit is making the rounds, and, as you may recall, Facebook invested a whopping $2 billion in the technology.

Now, however, it appears that the tech will finally apply to an area outside of games, as virtual reality studio Condition One has announced that its forthcoming 3D 360-degree documentary film Zero Point will be making its premiere for the platform later this month.

The film will immerse audiences into the world of virtual reality, creating a completely unparalleled engaging experience, according to a description from the press release.

Danfung Dennis, the director of the Academy Award-nominated documentary feature Hell and Back Again, is helming the project, the first 360-degree film of its kind to be created for the Oculus. It takes a closer look at the creation of the virtual reality medium, documenting the researchers and developers who pioneered it.

In addition, the project features a mixture of video and audio components, including clips of a beach setting, one of the halls from the previously held Electronic Entertainment Expo back in June, and military training that takes place at Camp Pendleton. Viewers can immerse themselves in these experiences, getting a full look around and feeling like they’re actually “there,” so to speak.

The film was made using a custom VR-enabled camera, which works in conjunction with the technology, rather than simply allowing viewers to look ahead at a static screen. This could very well change the way they look at movies forever – and even prompt a few developers to try out projects of their own.

Zero Point will be available through the Oculus Rift development kits starting October 28 for the introductory price of $11.99. After November 4, it’ll go back up to its default price of $14.99.

Parties interested in the project can learn more through Condition One’s web page.

Yahoo! Grows Search Ads, Tumblr Ads

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer revealed during the company’s latest earnings call that Tumblr’s ad sales could reach an estimated $100 million by next year, according to Adweek. This is in response to critics who had questioned Mayer’s move in acquiring Tumblr. Mayer defended the move by stating, “We’ve come really far, really fast” in reference to Tumblr.

Still, the real bright spot for Yahoo! is the fact that the company has finally exhibited growth, albeit a meager 1 percent rise to $1.15 billion in the third quarter to beat analysts’ estimates. Yahoo’s overall quarterly revenue has not increased over the previous year’s mark since the fourth quarter of 2012, so this reversal is a welcome event for investors.

Yahoo! pointed out also that revenues from mobile exceeded $200 million, to show how the company is making progress on this all-important area. Also important is Yahoo!’s progress with search ads, as the company revealed its search advertising is now outpacing its display ads. Revenue from search advertising grew for the third straight quarter, this time by 4 percent year-over-year to $452 million. The click-throughs haven’t increased, but Yahoo! has managed to boost the fees paid by advertisers by 17 percent more on average for each of those clicks.

Display ads continue to be in decline for Yahoo!, with revenue falling 5 percent year-over-year to $447 million in the third quarter. The average price advertisers paid for a display ad dropped by 24 percent even though Yahoo sold 24 percent more banners than it did a year ago.

Still, Yahoo! is in good shape, especially with its $6.3 billion in Alibaba shares boosting the company’s cash reserves. Mayer sees the company’s moves as continuing in the right direction, and she is bullish on Tumblr. Tumblr will generate big numbers, according to Mayer. “More than 260 of the world’s top brands have a Tumblr presence,” she explained.


Good Gaming Exec Discusses Opportunities In Video Game Tournaments

Good Gaming, a subsidiary of CMG Holdings, has launched its first online tournament — the $10,000 Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft Open Invitational.  The subscription-based site will allow all of its members to compete in the Open Invitational Tournament with the 300 Top Tournament Finalists vying for cash prizes. In addition, qualifying Good Gaming members who participate in the tournament will also have the option to compete for much larger prizes in future seasonal and annual tournaments.

Samuel Schwieters Good GamingSamuel J. Schwieters, co-founder of Good Gaming

The new site has been designed to give aspiring eSports fans a chance to connect with other pro gaming fans, learn from eSports pros and improve their gaming skills. Samuel J. Schwieters, co-founder of Good Gaming, talks about the role this new site, and its tournaments, will play in the growing eSports field in this exclusive interview.

We’ve seen companies like Virgin Gaming enter online eSports with a lot of money and then leave the space. What are the challenges of online tournament gaming today?

Most new ventures and organizations face the common challenges of credibility, awareness, and education when they first enter a new space. The eSports industry is no different. We have a lot of respect for organizations like Virgin Gaming that have the courage to take those first steps into “uncharted waters” and shed light and experience for all of us that follow. That being said, we are hosting our debut opening amateur level tournament playing Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. We have a ten thousand dollar prize pool and you can watch the semi-finals and finals on Twitch at on October 26.

What differentiates Good Gaming from other offerings?

Good Gaming is a multi-game, multi-console platform.  Most other sites focus on a single game and/or a single aspect of gaming; we will be the proverbial hub for the most popular commodities associated with eSports.  Good Gaming is currently on release 1.0 of our Web platform, and will continue to grow and update the platform with community help and suggestions by design.  While most similar sites go live with the feature set they will have for the life of the site, with a few tweaks here and there, we thought it extremely important to build a robust back end that allows us to rapidly add features and experience improvements with the community, instead of just giving lip service to the concept of a “community site.”  As a start, we are offering tournaments, guides, news, and streaming, allowing us to deliver something for every eSports enthusiast.  We believe our Mercenary system is a unique and innovative offering. It allows gamers to trade and barter their goods and services in an efficient manner. As gamers become more comfortable with the Mercenary system we think they will use it in amazing and creative ways that we can’t predict, and that is exciting to us.

What impact has the rise of professional eSports opened up for the amateur market?

The rising fame of eSports has given the amateur level gamer something to aspire for. Professional eSports is seeing popularity that rivals that of the World Cup, and the amateur level gamer wants, more than anything, a piece of the fame, fortune, and notoriety. Good Gaming aims to be the bridge between amateur and professional, essentially creating the minor leagues of gaming.

What are the opportunities for sponsors in amateur eSports given Coke’s involvement in the League of Legends minor league system?

Given the audience of eSports enthusiasts numbers in the tens of millions worldwide, and given over 90 percent of them are amateurs the opportunities for sponsors is immense. Many amateurs have enjoyed partnerships with Twitch, as well as sponsorship from companies like; Razer, Red Bull, Monster, nVidia, and Logitech to name a few. eSports in our opinion has for the first time in history become  an activity that reaches across socioeconomic, race, gender, and national boundaries and speaks to a virtual standard of life with a universal language  and a common goal– gaming!

What has Twitch opened up for you company?

Drawing in audiences that rival those of the Stanley Cup and World Series, Twitch has shown the world that eSports isn’t just a fad and that eSports is here to stay. Twitch has provided Good Gaming an excellent medium to showcase our sponsored talent and allow all gamers an opportunity to view and share that experience in real time. Twitch has opened up many avenues for not just our company, but the entire gaming industry as a whole. It has raised eSports awareness, created a clean and innovative platform, given millions of people a voice in the massively growing gaming community, and changed the experience of gaming, social interaction and entertainment.  A very respectable quality of Twitch is the design of their platform, allowing quality of work and individual dedication to be the driving factor of success for their broadcasting.  In other words, it’s all about your skill, not who you know or how deep your pockets are.

How will you utilize livestreaming moving forward?

Livestreaming is a fundamental communication tool of eSports, it allows you, the viewer, the ability to almost step into the players shoes, experiencing the glory and passion for gaming as a whole. Livestreaming affords the viewer a very personal interactive experience. In other words, Livestreaming is not just about watching, it’s also about interaction which directly affects your experience and the experience of others who participate in the livestream.

What are the challenges of being found through the crowded livestreaming space today?

Sheer numbers, there are countless people that stream everything from eSports bigs like League of Legends all the way down to Mario 64, the most difficult part is generating traffic. On a platform such as Twitch, that has so many unique and talented users, it’s often hard to get noticed or get your message out. At Good Gaming, we think one of the ways of solving this problem is listening to the community, understand the wants and needs and trying to address those wants and needs the best we can.

What role will social media play in building your brand and tournaments?

Social media plays an extremely important role in advertising, branding and sharing information in general.  Social media allows us to connect to millions of people in a split second.  This is something that would be near impossible in any other way.

What’s it been like working with Blizzard and Hearthstone?

For anyone old enough to remember the first Warcraft title, they remember that instant adrenaline rush and excited feeling that something amazing just happened. More importantly you knew that without a doubt gaming had changed forever.  We love Blizzard, we have been playing Blizzard games since 1994.  Matter of fact, the Good Gaming founding members became friends because of Blizzard’s game World of Warcraft.  We couldn’t be more excited to be debuting our first tournament using a Blizzard game, let alone it being Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft.  We are excited to be working with Blizzard and hope to work with them for years to come.

What other games do you hope to add to your online tournaments?

We will be hosting tournaments for multiple titles, such as League of Legends, World of Warcraft, the Call of Duty Franchise, the upcoming Heroes of the Storm, Starcraft 2, and many more. Our aim is to provide any game that interests or provides value to the community either in whole or in part.  Whether it is building in Minecraft or dominating your opponents in combat, we want to be part of it.

How do you go about choosing game publishing partners?

Honestly, we approach game publishers whose content and work we enjoy. We are avid gamers ourselves, with thousands of hours of gaming under our belts.  So for Good Gaming, we are looking at the same things our membership is when it comes to picking and playing a game.  Summed up in three words, “What is cool.”

What do you feel eSports can learn from Valve having its players fund most of its $10 million Dota 2 Championship?

If that proves anything, it’s that gamers crave more tournaments and they are willing to be the driving force behind funding and populating future tournaments. It is proof through action that the gaming community is self-supporting and that is something we have every intent of reinforcing.

How do you see the money through online tournaments growing over the next five years?

Good Gaming sees future prize pools continue to rise as eSports continues to grow. We think the more important issue and one we are working very hard at is how the space between amateur and pro level gaming develops. In our opinion, it is crucial to the long term future of gaming, and the livelihoods of millions of people around the world that we build a solid and supportive infrastructure for gamers. Not just for our current generation but the generations that follow. We truly believe that the gaming community has a unique opportunity right now to shape the future and redefine the face of professional sports.