Alex Valle is known to millions of fighting game fans as “CaliPower.” The pro gamer has been competing since the Street Fighter II days, long before Twitch and startups like Stream.Me even existed. These days Valle remains entrenched in the fighting eSports community and produces content and tournaments through his Level Up, LLC.
Valle has partnered with Stream.Me to launch the four-week Savage Series, which will send the champion all expenses paid to EVO 2017 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. Additionally, runner-up contestants, a circuit participant, and some lucky viewers at home will be awarded limited edition Street Fighter skateboard decks from Nsurgo.
Savage Series will be hosted and broadcast live via Stream.me, a video platform that gives viewers the ability to simultaneously view multiple players and casters in up to 4K HD video running at 60 frames-per-second. Competitors are invited to broadcast their matches exclusively via Stream.Me.
Valle, CEO and co-founder of Level Up Productions, discusses the opportunities the fighting game genre opens up for sponsors in this exclusive interview.
How have you seen the Capcom Cup impact the overall fighting eSports ecosystem?
The Capcom Cup has given the community a roadmap to becoming a world championship contender throughout the tour. Tournament organizers partnered with the tour have been given the opportunity to create higher quality events which attract new players and many fighting game fans watching on stream.
What role do you see this Savage Series playing in the fighting eSports genre?
These days, the first real opponent you play in fighting games is most likely from online matchmaking. We’re inviting North American players from the comfort of their own home to compete versus the best out there. Savage Series is a free online circuit which gives an opportunity to those players, which may not have the means to travel, compete at the largest fighting game event in the world, the EVO Championship Series in Las Vegas.
How are you working with Capcom on this new series?
Our friends at Capcom are currently in the offseason since Capcom Cup 2016 just ended in December. We are partnering with Stream.me to produce Savage Series as a community driven initiative which includes organizers and casters from globally recognized events such as Weds Night Fights and SoCal Regionals.
Will you be expanding beyond Street Fighter V in the future? What are your long-term plans for Savage Series?
There are plans to expand beyond Street Fighter V for sure. I’m a fan of various titles and have built relationships with publishers to bring even more opportunities for the players which love their games. With that said, timing has to be right such as release dates for upcoming titles, netcode testing, and trends in the community before announcing the next event. Savage Series is currently a one month circuit to kick off Street Fighter V Season 2 this year. We work with community feedback to determine our next move so hopefully everyone shares their thoughts after the series. This helps us figure out if a short circuit is best, a yearly, and/or what other game(s) they would like to see. I personally would love more travel opportunities for other major events.
What opportunities do you see the fighting eSports community opening up for sponsors and advertisers?
ESports events always have an opportunity to attract sponsors and advertisers through streaming and on the show floor. Events such as Savage Series highlights weekly competition where sponsors could utilize stream time to advertise their products and services to fighting game fans. The model has proven successful with certain events and partners—but it’s not easy.
How does this audience differ from the PC-centric MOBA and FPS eSports audience?
The fighting game community was born in the arcade era where players compete right next to each other on the same game cabinet. Rushing your opponent down in the fight in just a few minutes and witnessing their every emotion while doing it is the best feeling in the world. Having your friends watch the beatdown creates hype moments where everybody gets crazy-excited—like watching a knockout in boxing. Very easy to understand, right? Other eSports or PC-centric audiences have a certain build up which eventually turns into excitement. It’s more of the storytelling which leads to their hype moments and the casters being very informative to keep everyone aligned. These titles take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to finish a match or round. Whereas fighting games only take a few minutes.
Why did you partner with Stream.me over Twitch or other platforms?
Level Up is a neutral partner which works together with many platforms. Twitch is our 2016 partner for Weds Night Fights and SoCal Regionals for the Capcom Pro Tour. We are currently partnered with Stream.me to produce the Savage Series in 2017. We didn’t choose one platform over the other, but instead, decided to create as many avenues as possible for up-and-coming players, which is healthy for the scene. Stream.me has been amazing to work with on the Savage Series and we can’t wait to showcase the event in January to kick off the New Year.