Paul Ward Details eSports Arena’s National Plans

After three years of development, the first dedicated eSports Arena from the startup called eSports Arena is open for business. The grand opening for the Orange County location is Oct. 2, which also marks the first of many tournaments for the company across Dota 2, Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, League of Legends, Call of Duty, and other games.

The company is charging gamers a $12.99 monthly membership to get access to the facility, which features 120 PCs and 64 game consoles. When there aren t tournaments or events being held, anyone can play games. eSports Arena is building a network of arenas across the U.S. with three facilities already in the works. Paul Ward, founder and CEO of eSports Arena, details the company s national plans in this exclusive interview.

When is the launch and how are you celebrating

eSports Arena is launching Oct. 2-4 with a $25,000 Hearthstone invitational featuring 14 pros and two qualifiers. It’s going to be a great event for the North American Hearthstone community and we have partnered with game developer and pro player Brian Kibler.

What type of funding have you received for the first arenas

We’ve bootstrapped the past few years and taken very little investment. This is one reason it has taken so long (about three years), but in the end we have complete control over the future of our arenas. Finding a suitable space for our first arena was also a challenge, but we were able to find a building owner that believed in the concept and wasn’t only looking at our bank account — which is rare.

Can you run through the specs of the arena

Our first Arena located in Orange County California is a completely renovated 15,000 square foot facility. We have a 1,100 square foot stage, a 2,300 square foot mezzanine, and a 11,000 square foot main floor. The building is purpose built for live broadcasts and events, meaning we have 100 percent modular equipment and extensive cabling throughout the space. Anyone can come in and plug in there broadcast equipment almost anywhere and be ready to go. On any given day we have 120 PC’s provided by CyberPower PC and 64 consoles. All of that equipment can be quickly and easily replaced with 1,000 auditorium seats. So we can go from open bracket tournament to final stage match like no other venue. We have an unbelievable amount of power and Internet with redundancies. The facility is the ideal venue for any broadcast event especially eSports.

What role will this arena play for any established leagues or games

We’re excited at the prospect of working with existing leagues and event organizers. We’re a fraction of the overall cost of traditional venues and have a much more streamlined approach to booking and planning events/leagues. We’re also excited about the live stream opportunities that individual streamers have now to interact with their fans and create truly unique content on a regular basis.

What are your plans on hosting or launching your own eSports tournaments/leagues

We have a 2015 calendar full of events across titles. We’re producing some of these events and other organizations are producing there own events in our space. Starting in October we’ll be producing weekly LAN leagues across titles like League of Legends, Hearthstone, Dota 2, and Counter Strike. We’re bringing in top commentators and professionals to be a part of these leagues. There needs to be more emphasis on the up-and-coming players and the community level competition and we are the platform for this growth. We’re not trying to replace the at-home gaming experience, nor are we trying to be the Staples Center, but we think there is a lot of room in between, which is where we come in.

What other cities are you targeting for arenas and are there any specific openings planned

We’ll be in San Francisco and Austin soon. I can’t give dates because there are just too many variables.

Will all arenas be identical

The Arenas will very much be products of their respective markets. The San Francisco real estate market is far different than Austin, Texas, so we have to approach them differently. The core of the Arenas will remain constant though: modular turn-key broadcast venues focused on eSports.

How will you use this network of arenas once they’re all functional

We’re creating the ability to host singular national events across multiple markets. This gives the competitor, fan, and organizer the ability to push eSports passed the occasional pop up bubble events and into the entertainment juggernaut it should be. Creating regional affinity is a powerful element in traditional sports and it will be for eSports soon.

How are you selecting cities

We want to be where the eSports demographic is and where other tech companies, specifically game developers, are. The synergy with game developers is one thing we’re really excited about. With these venues, companies big and small have endless opportunities to take their game to the next level with eSports. Everyone wants to be the next Riot Games with their massive eSports success, we just made it much easier.

Is this a national focus or are there international plans

We have a national focus at the moment. We’re very open to international plans and collaborations. The sky is the limit.

Seriously Talks Treasure Hunting With YouTube Stars

Seriously’s Best Fiends has managed to become quite the mobile hit, with a high number of installs and a number of noteworthy promotions, including a recent tie-in with YouTube superstar PewDiePie. But now the publisher has launched its biggest promotion to date, teaming up with a number of other YouTube superstars with a new campaign called “The Worst’s Biggest Mobile Treasure Hunt.”

13 different YouTube stars are on board for the promotion, including Rosanna Pansino, CaptainSparklez and DanTDM among others. They provide clues to players within the game to help them find 13 different stickers within the game. Those that manage to find them all can unlock Newt, the rarest of the Fiends, along with a stockpile of in-game currency, including gold and diamonds.

Seriously has been promoting the game like crazy on its Facebook page, even providing a few hints for those that might have missed them in the game. We had a chance to sit down with vice president of marketing and communications for Seriously, Philip Hickey, to get more insight into this attention-getting campaign.

Tell us about this Treasure Hunt and how the community can get involved with it.

We are working with 13 of the biggest YouTube stars including Rosanna PansinoCaptainSparklezDanTDM and CutiePieMarzia, with a combined total of 60 million subscribers. The treasure hunt kicked off (last week), and each YouTube star released a video on their channels which included them hiding their personal stickers throughout the game and providing exclusive hints for  their fans and Best Fiends players to find them. By uncovering all 13 stickers, players can unlock the treasure chest containing the rarest of all Fiends in the game, Newt, as well as gold and diamonds. To see the videos, hints and updates, players can visit and

How did you go about selecting the key YouTube talent involved with this promotion Are they fans of the game as well

When working with YouTube stars, it’s important that they are a natural fit. We had worked with some of the stars like Rosanna Pansino, CaptainSparklez and CutiePieMarzia in previous campaigns. They are fans of the game and resonate well with the Best Fiends audience.  Rosanna Pansino is a big fan of the character Howie!

Best Fiends has done a great job landing atop the free apps lists for iPhone and iPad. What do you think it is that keeps players coming back for more

We treat our game as a service and are continually delivering new updates and engaging content based on what are users are looking for. Frequent updates (around every 3 weeks), a strong attention to detail, addictive gameplay and innovative marketing campaigns help keep our players engaged and our community to grow to the size it is today with over 500,000 Facebook fans and nearly over 250,000 followers on Instagram and Twitter combined.

Now that Twitch has introduced an upload service, does your team see any potential with working with popular streamers on that end Or are you sticking with YouTube for now

We are always looking to break through with innovative marketing campaigns and exploring new partnerships and this is something we will be watching closely. Speaking of Twitch, we are part of their Indie Spotlight series this month.

Do you have any other promotions planned for the future Or can you say yet

We are always looking for unconventional ways to cut through and get discovered. We ve done some really interesting campaigns here at Seriously with YouTubers like PewDiePie in the past and are excited about the results we have seen so far with  the  “World s Biggest Treasure Hunt !”  We might have a few new tricks up our sleeve ! Stay tuned!

More information about the Treasure Hunt can be found here, on Seriously’s official Best Fiends page.

Native Ads Face Challenge With Readers, Viewers

Native advertising has become a preferred choice for many companies, with better performance than traditional ads on a number of sites. Still, native ads are facing challenges that are shifting public opinion of the form into a negative direction.

Contently recently surveyed over 500 consumers using native ads across various sites, including BuzzFeed, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The poll results showed that different publications had varying degrees of issues with distinguishing an article from paid content.


“On nearly every publication we tested, consumers tend to identify native advertising as an article, not an advertisement,” the study concluded.

62 percent of respondents also felt that a news site manages to lose credibility any time it publishes a native ad, since it’s intertwined with editorial content. “Consumers often have a difficult time identifying the brand associated with a piece of native advertising, but it varies greatly, from as low as 63 percent (on The Onion) to as high as 88 percent (on Forbes),” the study indicated.

Contently editor-in-chief Joe Lazauskas had plenty to say on the matter, telling IBTimes, “I question whether it’s valid that consumers won’t enjoy it if they know it comes from the brand. We do see Americans enjoy content from brands like Red Bull and American Express. They recognize it’s branded and enjoy it anyway.”

Sponsored content can go a long way as well, says Lazauskas, adding that it has “shown progress on brand lift metric, particularly for people repeatedly exposed to sponsored content.”



“We are invested,” said Lazauskas. “We do want to see the media world come to a better place where instead of intrusive, deceiving advertising, there’s good storytelling going on.”

“At the same time we feel the responsibility to look into various issues that may not be helping to bring that world into fruition,” he added. “If we can help guide everyone into better practices, that’s a win. If this study does help publishers find better ways to present native advertising, we will have contributed good to the media world we work in.”


Native advertising at present faces a big challenge with over 50 percent of those polled showing distrust in sponsored content.

Speaking with Mobile Marketing Watch, Ad Age‘s Matt Crenshaw had plenty to add on the matter. “When the concept of native advertising first gained widespread attention in 2012, it was expected to life publishers’ fortunes and rescue digital advertising from the perpetual downward slide of display ad rates,” he said. “Fast-forward three years, and native has largely delivered on that promise.

“When executed well, with time and care put into ensuring the content is in the right tone and has the right message, native formats blend into vertical streams in a manner that’s much less disruptive to users (while still marked as ‘sponsored’ so as not to be deceptive),” he said. “Meanwhile, publishers get ad inventory that users will actually look at and engage with, instead of reflexively ignoring, as many of us have trained ourselves to do with right-rail display ads.”

The solution in Crenshaw’s mind lies shifting the goal of brands to focus on quality and engagement rather than just views and scalability. “As native ads move toward real-time bidding and programmatic processes, they’re looking a bit like Frankenstein in some cases,” says Crenshaw. “I’m talking about display ads that have been broken down into component parts — an image, a headline, a snippet of content and a brand logo, for instance — and automatically reassembled and injected into a publisher’s content stream. As a result, they’re frequently clumsy and appear out of context.”

Quality of content can make a difference. “When executed well by traditional publishers, usually when they’re selling it directly and producing it in-house, native advertising can deliver quality storytelling and also be highly effective,” Crenshaw stated. “The crucial ingredient is content that people actually want to read, as opposed to a direct-response display ad that’s been shoehorned into a content module.”

Why App Marketers Are Turning To Instagram for User Acquisition

Facebook-owned Instagram has become been gaining interest from the looks of some stats provided by companies like AppsFlyer and Apsalar, with “a selection of games spanning the Social Casino, RPG, Strategy, Sports and Match 3 genres” becoming notable hits on the site despite the somewhat higher cost.

The show that while Instagram’s cost-per-install is fairly high, it has been doing well to attract game marketers to the platform for user acquisition (UA):

  • Average click-through rate (CTR): 2.32%
  • Average cost-per-install (CPI): $4.17
  • Average cost-per-click (CPC): $0.36
  • Average cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM): $6.22

Meanwhile, numbers across all UA channels in general, provided by Chartboost, are as follows

  • iOS average CPI in US: $2.23
  • iPad average CPI in US: $2.59
  • iPhone average CPI in US: $2.04
  • Amazon average CPI in US: $1.78

To get more insight on Instagram’s strength in this field, we spoke with a couple of involved parties to discuss: Apsalar, an omni-channel data management platform, Christian Calderon of Dots, who has been using Instagram for this specific purpose, and Ayzenberg‘s Charles Vasquez.

There’s a lot that goes into looking at UA channels on the Instagram front, as Christian Calderon, head of marketing for Dots, recently explained to us. “Instagram’s demographic closely aligns with that of Two Dots, and I was really excited to drive awareness for Two Dots to our core audience on Instagram at scale.”

It appears that it’s been greatly effective as well. “Because our core audience is so aligned with Instagram, it has been working out very well for us; Instagram instantly became our top channel, and continues to be. In addition, it is totally additive to our total spend on Facebook,” Calderon said.

But a strategy can only do so much without evolution — something that the team was easily prepared for, according to Calderon. “We tried a few different things creative-wise with Instagram.  I’ve found that the approach that ended up working best for us on Instagram is similar to our approach on Facebook,” Calderon noted. “Two Dots-branded product shots that exemplify the core gameplay mechanic in an art-inspired way are killing it for us on all funnel and ROI metrics.”

The effectiveness of Instagram as a UA channel can go a long way as well, according to co-founder and CEO for Apsalar, Michael Oiknine, explained. “Instagram can be a highly effective channel for app user acquisition,” said Oiknine. “I see four key strengths: engaging, action-oriented ad formats, precision audience targeting based upon a broad range of user characteristics, streamlined ad management via the Facebook Ads Manager, and spend flexibility to accommodate both large and niche ad budgets. But UA is only part of the story. We’re also seeing more and more clients interested in using our audience creation and delivery tools to deliver targetable audiences to the Facebook Ads Manager for remarketing across all of the Facebook properties, including Instagram.”

There’s no question that Instagram is a social media platform with one of the highest level of audience engagement, if not the highest. What remains to be seen is the deeper in-game analytics of these audiences including their LTV,” said Charles Vasquez, Ayzenberg’s Digital Media Director.  Instagram commands a huge social audience, it gives marketers the opportunity to reach highly engaged audiences through native-based ads which increases the relevance of the content. Brands are curating a moment of high engagement with their core audiences. They are showcasing their product in unique and inspiring ways.

“From a retention perspective we are seeing strong metrics that are consistent with the rates we see for programs across the Facebook properties,” Oiknine explained.

As far as how Instagram metrics are being used he stated, “We launched Instagram tracking less than a month ago. But we are already seeing many of our largest clients test and implement programs on Instagram, and inquiries from other clients have been very strong. We ve had clients express interest around the world – in the US, Latin America, Asia, and the EU. Given the strong click, install and retention metrics we have seen, it appears (to be effective). The metrics are strong even in the first weeks of tracking.”

Oiknine concluded, “Instagram can add bigness for a UA program. Instagram offers both scale and the opportunity for precision targeting of a UA program. Further, it s a truly international property with strength in many of the major app markets worldwide.

“Finally, the audience targeting capabilities facilitate great re-engagement opportunities. We’re seeing more and more clients express interest in using Apsalar to deliver customer audiences of user device advertising ids to the Facebook Ads Manager for remarketing efforts across all of the Facebook properties.”

A Look Inside Twitch’s Creative Community

For those in attendance at TwitchCon, it may have been a surprise to learn that the platform most known for game streaming has also attracted an entirely different audience who finds community and inspiration among their fellow streamers. Twitch’s creative community is getting increasing attention in part due to its passionate participants. In fact, there was even a dedicated gallery space for these creative streamers at TwitchCon, showcasing what the talent on the platform is creating.

‘Street Fighter V’ Ready To Take On eSports

Ever since its announcement late last year at Sony’s PlayStation Experience event, Capcom’s Street Fighter V has been building an incredible amount of anticipation among fans. The forthcoming fighting game promises to not only be the most impressive in the series to date, but also the most accessible. Fans and pros alike will be able to get into its many nuances, and the cross-compatibility of the PC and PlayStation 4 versions means the player base will be unified across the two platforms.

What’s more, the game is likely to be a hit during the Capcom Pro Tour, a special series of events where fans compete for big cash and prizes. It has already become a big mover-and-shaker in the eSports industry, and Street Fighter V should propel it even further when it makes its debut on PlayStation 4 and Steam early next year.

VentureBeat recently posted an article featuring an interview with Capcom’s director of marketing and eSports, Matt Dahlgren, about Street Fighter V‘s impact in the community, as well as what it can do for the eSports scene.

First off, Street Fighter plays a vital role in Capcom’s business model, since it’s one of its biggest franchises. “Street Fighter is actually unique because it is owned by Capcom USA,” said Dahlgren. “So we have a very large fighting team structure that is in place there that handles everything, from our product marketing to our licensing business. There are also some levels of development oversight as well, so if there is anything that has to do with Street Fighter as a brand, I am involved in it at some capacity.” This is unique, considering that Street Fighter V is being developed in Japan, but still being released as a U.S. property.

As far as getting a game involved with the Capcom Pro Tour (and thus competing for the Capcom Cup), Dahlgren explains, “It’s pretty much up to our discretion. We have a very strong team that is built from people who come from the fighting game community. So we look at various tournament organizers and the ones that we feel are really pushing the bar in terms of production capabilities and really trying to rise the fighting scene to new heights, we want to partner up with those.

“So when we created the Capcom Pro Tour, we didn’t want to come in and basically take over the competitive scene. We wanted to create a structure that provided opportunity for everyone that’s involved. So all of the tournaments, with the exception of Capcom Cup, are still run and are independent organizations, but we basically tried to band everyone together to tell a better story of what goes on (in the fighting game tournament scene) throughout the year.”

Dahlgren also talked about the structure of the tournament, which seems pretty detailed. “Basically what it is doing [is that] it takes the fighting game scene that has existed for many, many years and like, all it is doing is taking advantage of the structure and getting everyone to work together to tell a better narrative of what goes on throughout the year.

“So now the events are not necessarily competing with each other, they re more working together to tell a larger story. So the way the Capcom Pro Tour works is we have 32 spots up for grabs to qualify for the Capcom Cup. The Capcom Cup is our year-end finale. We ve got 16 premiere events. Anyone that wins a premiere event will automatically qualify for the Capcom Cup.

“Then we are partnered with 40 other tournaments on the side, which we call ranking events. They all get ranking points for the top eight placements and then we track those on our leaderboards. That determines our next 15 spots. Then we automatically invite the previous year s champion, which round up to 32.”

It’s worldwide, as well. “We put a lot of effort to make sure Capcom Pro Tour is a globally minded league. We split up the premiere events and ranking events evenly per territory, so North America, Europe, and Asia all have the same amount of points. Then for the remaining category we split those up into either emerging markets or events we consider to be global,” said Dahlgren. “Like EVO brings in talent from all over the world, so we consider that a part of our global structure.”

As for what role the next Street Fighter will play in all this, Dahlgren explained, “I would say, really the Capcom Pro Tour was built for Street Fighter V. We just wanted to launch it earlier [running the Street Fighter IV series] to make sure we got into a good rhythm before Street Fighter V came out.

“But Street Fighter V is the first Street Fighter that has been created with eSports in mind,” he continued. “We ll be balancing the game during the Capcom Pro Tour to show respect towards the competitive scene. We re also going to have some announcements in the near future as to how the game will tie in directly with the Capcom Pro Tour. But Street Fighter V is really the product that we believe is going to help Street Fighter rise as a competitive product and help the fighting game community grow over all.”

Online will play a huge part as well. “We have a lot of concepts that we re putting together. We know online play is going to be a really huge focus for Street Fighter, so we want to make sure there are online components to the Capcom Pro Tour,” Dahlgren added. “Things will make a lot more sense and layer together in the very near future.”

The full interview can be found here. Street Fighter V will release early next year.

Playmob’s Jude Ower On Changing the World With Video Games

A new initiative called Global Goals, has gotten 193 global leaders committed to 17 Global Goals in order to achieve three key targets over the next 15 years: ending extreme poverty, fixing climate change, and fighting inequality and justice.

In an effort to get game developers involved, Playmob has introduced its own initiative, #WorldsBiggestGame, in the hopes of getting major platforms, studios and publishers to spread the word in the gaming community, and working in their own right to complete these goals.

Playmob founder Jude Ower recently took the time to sit down with [a]listdaily to discuss how this initiative can make “every click count.”

Where does the potential lie in games when it comes to changing the world

Games have huge reach and engagement, directly from in game, from their communities and from exposure on stores. A third of the global population play games and this rises year on year as games become more accessible so in terms of reach they have huge power. The other area we focus on is fundraisers in games which again are very impactful. Bringing communities together to focus on a common goal, such as building a school or planting trees in areas of deforestation, can tangibly show gamers their power in force. We like to show goals and transparent results, almost like using games mechanics to make progress and level up in the real world! The ultimate goal being a safer and healthier planet and people, global.

How did Playmob first come up with the #WorldsBiggestGame initiative

As part of the Project Everyone initiative to support the Global Goals, there was a Worlds Biggest Lesson and Worlds Biggest Cinema Ad initiative. No games or stores had been involved so far so we felt like we needed to create an initiative to group gamer activity together. So following on from previous initiatives, #worldsbiggestgame made a lot of sense

Social media plays a big part in this outreach, but are there other methods for players to consider Such as in the games themselves

Definitely. Most titles involved have in-game placements and items such as virtual T-shirts for players, info in the game as a button, banner or interstitial. Our ambition is for each studio and store to then support individual goals and causes to make a tangible impact. The best way for this to happen is games to run in game fundraisers to sell and donate from in app purchases, and for store to feature and promote games giving back and even look at getting involved financially too.

How big a community would you say the project has thus far

In terms of our potential reach we estimate 1.5 billion which would be the cumulative potential reach of stores, games and social media.

What would you say is the toughest part with this initiative

Time. We had around 6 weeks to bring together studios and stores. Quite a few studios just couldn’t get us into the development schedules they had already set and some were keen to have more time to do something big – they felt this deserved a bigger effort and are interested to take part afterwards on the follow up impact piece. With more time i.e. starting at least 3 months before would give us ample time to bring together more partners and allow everyone to plan ahead. In general and overall, the toughest part of this will be making sure everyone knows and once they know, how do they make an impact. All partners will have to be thinking beyond the awareness part and to the impact part, as this is the element which will drive change.

What countries are the most supportive when it comes to #WorldsBiggestGame thus far How has the community outreach been

It is hard to tell at this stage but in terms of reach, the biggest traffic has been generated from US, Brazil, Mexico, France, Germany, Turkey, Vietnam, Spain, Thailand and the UK (in order of traffic). However we know that the majority of countries globally have engaged. This may be more reflective of where the coverage is than the support so far but we will have a better idea of support towards the end of the week when we analyze the engagement metrics.

Finally, you stated in a previous interview that you see the program going big places in a year s time. What do you predict the results will be at that point

I see this program being the educational piece at the start to kick off big things. When I say that, I mean the impact that can be made. The more people aware of what needs to happen, will hopefully generate engagement in future campaigns moving forward. In a year’s time, I would love to give an update of how much was raised and the impact made and how this has contributed to the Global Goals movement. Showing specifically gaming will show that gamers can have a power impact on making a difference and completely change the opinion of games and gamers to the media. We are all about keeping the momentum going and we are already planning the year ahead and what this looks like and who could be involved. We want to help games studio, publishers, platforms and brands realize how they can unlock their audiences to make a positive difference.

Millennials Are Leading Mobile-First Lives According To Study

Reaching out to a millennial audience can be tricky, especially considering that a small portion of them don’t even utilize social media. With that said, a good handful of millennial college students are showing preference when it comes to mobile devices.

Per this story from MediaPost, smartphones seem to be the most preferred method for this young crowd when it comes to advertising, based on numbers provided by Qriously and the Interactive Advertising Bureau. “Today’s college students are leading mobile first lives and will surely take their mobile-first mindset with them into the world after graduation,” said Anna Bager, senior vice president and general manager for the Bureau, in the mobile and video division.

The results from the study show that six percent of students polled are more likely to use their mobile phone as a medium to view relevant ads, with male college students likely to utilize them more than females. Meanwhile, 19 percent of those polled felt the same way when it came to television ads.

In addition, around 49 percent of average smartphone owners indicate that they’ve interacted with an ad seen on their devices, while 55 percent of students stated that they have taken such an action with a mobile ad.

More numbers from the study indicate that college students are more likely to seek out additional details based on an advertisement, instead of the average user by a comparison of 13 percent to 9.5 percent. They also seem more likely to take a screenshot of an ad (13 percent versus seven percent), although less likely to tap on a mobile ad (12 percent versus 16 percent).

On top of that, roughly three in four college students admitted that they make purchases on their mobile devices.

Another report, GfK MRI’s “Survey of the American Consumer,” had its own side stats to report as well. Educated female millennials are more likely to make video calls than other demographics, according to their findings, and most of those calls would be done through a mobile phone, instead of a tablet or eReader device.

So what does this mean It indicates that some mobile ads are actually successful with a certain part of the younger demographic, although finding an appealing factor to them doesn’t hurt when it comes to expanding said audience. And phones seem to be the way to go over tablets and larger devices, since they’re far more accessible.

The full details of the study can be found here.

Marketing ‘World of Warships’

The latest game to go live from Wargaming is World of Warships, and it is receiving rave reviews, both from critics and (more importantly) from users. Like World of Tanks, you’re thrown into multiplayer online battles with heavy weapons — but in this case, you’re sailing the massive ships of the US and Japanese navies into battle. There are ten maps, four classes of ships, and dozens of different ships, which you can either earn your way towards through game play or spend some money to get the ships you want. It’s all rendered beautifully on the PC, and the strategic gameplay will be appealing to a large audience of gamers.

Erik Whiteford

Erik Whiteford, director of marketing for Wargaming North America, spoke with [a]listdaily about the company’s plans for World of Warships.

Who’s your target audience for World of Warships Do you think it’s largely World of Tanks or World of Warplanes players who want to try something different, or do you think you can attract a player Wargaming hasn’t seen before

When it comes to World of Warships and our other titles, there will obviously be some cross over in players; however, we strongly believe that we will have a whole new audience to tap into. While there is some level of similarity with World of Tanks, everything in this game is different — from the strategy, to the pace, to the overall gameplay. These differences will bring a shift towards new players and yes, absolutely, we will be able to attract players Wargaming has not seen before. We’re excited about the new possibilities.

Where do you expect to see the most players for World of Warships Will that be centered in Europe, or the US, or in Asia

Our games have always enjoyed success on a global scale and we expect the same to be true with World of Warships. My primary focus is on the North and Latin American markets and we see World of Warships as a property that should great success in both regions.

What sort of marketing campaign is planned for World of Warships How do you plan to inform, attract, and engage players with World of Warships

Overall, our team has been heavily focusing on online and television campaigns. Online, we target gaming sites, militaria sites, and a few lifestyle sites. We are also very focused on social media, and online video outlets. With television, we have been efficient and very targeted in our market outreach — instead of doing massive marketing campaigns, we have chosen to be very surgical in generating awareness, focusing on targets who would be most likely to receive and amplify our game.

That said, while these outbound marketing tactics does a lot of heavy lifting, we also have been growing an influencer program in-house; tapping into the growing streaming and influencer community to use mediums — such as word of mouth — to generate awareness. Our games at Wargaming, especially World of Warships, are games that have never really been made or replicated before, and we want our players to be able to play these games for the first time, firsthand, and share their own experiences. Listening to the feedback from our community will help us to build the best experience possible and ultimately build our base of loyal, core users.

What role do you expect influencers to play in bringing players to World of Warships How important are influencers to marketing your games these days, and do you see their role expanding in the future

Perfect segue from the above — in this day and age, as media grows more and more fractured, we understand that means there are even more opportunities to find new players. Within these new opportunities, influencers stand at the heart of outreach. They are honest, they are real, and they will not lie to their community — in fact, they are one of the community. If you find the right influencers, you can find the right voice to spread your message. This is what we’re doing now, working with YouTubers, Streamers, bringing 10 influencers and 10 brand loyalists from all around the country and taking them with us to TwitchCon — this is a part of our core grassroots messaging, and we are going to continue to do it.

What are the eSports prospects for World of Warships Do you expect eSports to play an important role in marketing the game

We currently have not made any official announcements around eSports, but in general, any team-based MMO has an opportunity to be an eSports title. Overall, eSports is an incredibly important component to gameplay as it adds an incredible amount of engagement, excitement, and retention.

I only see eSports growing and becoming more and more important as time goes on — especially in the free-to-play MMO space.