Dear GameStop,

Yesterday I tweeted the following,

“GameStop should turn all of their stores into lan centers that also sell games and gaming hardware. Have brands bid on being the official headset/mkb/controller/pc/console/etc provider of the lan center.

Charge by the hour on stations.
Sell products.
Sell concessions.”

Then the joker in me followed that tweet up with this one,

“I just saved their brand. They should give me double on my Xbox one trade, $3.75 would work, I guess.”

The point behind these tweets was to draw attention to a brand that I love and to shine a light on just how worried I am about their brand, with that being said I’d like to take this time to talk about GameStop and my vision for their brand.

LAN centers. I firmly believe the gaming and esports space 100% needs a national brand to support LAN centers in every state in the United States. Name a brand that is in a better position than GameStop to make this happen?

Some of you are thinking WOW Scotty, LAN centers? Nobody would even care, wrong… GameStop could be the official LAN partner of every single video game that remotely has an interest in esports. With my idea, you would have GameStop running qualifiers that would lead to state championships for state titles. So many people think that people with the most significant followings on social media speak on behalf of everyone; this isn’t true.

Everyone wants to talk about esports viewership numbers, but they should be talking about esports participation numbers!!! Esports fans are not equal to traditional sports fans… traditional sports has a distinct pathway to being a pro, and once you fail at becoming a pro, you are forever labeled a spectator.

This is what makes esports so amazing, you can be a top-level pro in an esports title regardless if you can’t run fast, you can’t jump high, you’re too short, too skinny, too big, for the most parts you’re not held back by the same physical limitations that would hold you back from being a traditional sports pro.

GameStop stores are not fresh or fun or exciting, and they 100% need to be. GameStop should celebrate the playing of video games, and they should celebrate the best players of those video games, they should celebrate the professional scene of those video games.

With publishers like ATVI moving Overwatch and now Call of Duty to localized esports titles, and professional sports leagues like the NBA doing the same thing by having city-based esports teams, am I the only one who sees this as an immense opportunity? GameStop has the infrastructure to run local/state/national championships for any game/esport.

Lastly, I need a reason to hang out, take some of the pressure off of your core business before it’s too late, you must reinvent your brand now, not later… start today! PC Bangs are super popular overseas, and here in the states you have bars/restaurants that are focusing on gaming and esports, and they are blowing up because of it.

Thanks for reading and feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn with any feedback you may have!

Esports Is a Content Delivery Platform, Period.

Yes, I have said this for a while now, but I have never taken the time to put my feelings on paper for all to read. Most of you who know me know I am very passionate when it comes to esports, and I have a burning passion for seeing and helping it continue to grow.

Esports at its core is about competition right? Human nature is to compete, compete for food, compete for land, compete for a better job, compete for a better car, better house, competing is something we do and don’t even think about it.

I have seen 70yr old women competing on Bejeweled on Facebook and talking smack to each other based on who has the highest score or have reached the highest level. I have coached young men in football and watched them compete during a football game, then watched them compete after the game at my house playing Madden. Competition is in our DNA and esports allows anyone to scratch their competitive itch regardless of how fast he or she can run, or high they can jump, how much they weigh or how tall they are.

Content is king! How many times have you heard that before? If you follow me or know me, then you will know I say this all the time. Content is king, and we need to take care of our king at all costs. Without written and video content then all of the competition that I have talked would be almost meaningless from a value proposition.

Good content that is engaging and draws in views and traffic is valuable to esports, it allows us, marketers, to be storytellers for our products and services. As traditional media keeps declining, you will see more and more non-endemic brands turn their marketing budgets to gaming and more importantly esports. When these brands turn to esports, we need to be ready to serve them and help them integrate their campaigns seamlessly into our ecosystem.

Within esports, there are a few types of vehicles that are driving and delivering content.

1. Dev’s/Publishers:
2. Org’s/Teams:
3. Media Companies:
4. Independent Content Creators/Players:

If you have been around long enough, then you have seen first hand how meaningful content from Devs/Publishers has grown over the years. I mean, some of the content that is being created around the Overwatch World League is some of the best I have seen.

I love content from Orgs and Teams when I can get it, sadly not many of them are producing good and regular content, this needs to change asap. People want to connect with their favorite players and who better to quench that thirst than the teams that they play for. Behind the scenes, please, let me connect with my favorite player… People know Player B is impressive at his job, but they want to know the real Player B, what makes Player B tick? What does Player B do daily, how does Player B live? It is all about the players. As more investment takes place into other Orgs, you will see the content efforts pick up.

The big one for me here is Media Companies… running a media company is very tough these days and is NOT a short-term play in my opinion. I do feel that the best esports focused media companies that are left standing within the next 12 to 36 months will do very well. I am confident you will see a few of them get acquired by larger brands that are forced to move into the esports space for impressions/views/users.

Number four on my list is so significant to me that I am going to take the time to write another blog post that only covers that topic.  Look for it to go up next month.

If the content is King, who is trying to own esports?

The Race For Esports Viewership

In case you didn’t know we have a massive power struggle that has already started in the world of live streaming Esports and Gaming content.  YouTube Gaming announced yesterday that they have partnered with FACEIT in a multi-year deal that will bring the ECS(Esports Championship Series) to YouTube.

You can say this is a black eye for Twitch seeing how ECS was created out of a partnership between Twitch and FACEIT less than a year ago.  You can read about it here in case you missed that announcement last year.  Now, between you and me, I have no idea if YouTube just outbid Twitch to make this happen or if Twitch thought it wasn’t worth the investment and decided to pass, on the surface, it seems that they’ve lost something they put a lot of time and money in.

The next 12-24 months will be very exciting when it comes to streaming.  I think it’s obvious that Twitch is way out in front of everyone else.  But, after YouTube making this play for ECS I’m certain you will see other big moves very soon.  For now, I think we should all pay close attention to the following sites.

1. Twitch
2. YouTube
3. Beam
4. MLG.TV

I can hear you now… “Scotty, what are you on about mate. Beam is new.. and MLG pretty much has nothing going for it other than Call Of Duty events.”  Yes, you’re right.  Microsoft acquired Beam late last year, and I can tell you they’re putting a lot of time and effort into the platform.

What’s important to note is that Beam is a Microsoft product.  That matters because of Esports titles like Halo and Gears Of War.  Why would Microsoft want to allow the impressions/ad revenue that Halo/Gow generate go to Twitch’s coffers when they now own a site like Beam?  Now, I’m only speaking to this in regards to Esports Lan Events that would normally be streamed on Twitch for example.

MLG.TV gets a ton of shit from people within the Call Of Duty community.  Everyone use to say that “MLG killed COD” when streamers like Nadeshot and others made a move from Twitch to the MLG platform.  This is simply a load of bullshit.  COD was hitting some tremendous numbers on MLG.TV.  Fast forward, and most everyone is back to streaming on Twitch, and a lot of them have fewer viewers now than when they were on MLG.TV.  I still believe MLG.TV will be the exclusive home for all ATVI/BLIZZARD Esports streams in the future.

Let me know what you think about streaming sites, which site is your favorite and why?

The $300,000 Irrelevant H1Z1 Event

Some of you will love this post, and some of you will hate it. I completely understand you regardless of if you agree or disagree with me on this but, hear me out. Please note I’m a huge fan of H1Z1 King of the Kill and at the time of writing this I have around 500 hours of play time invested into the game.

What is the $300,000 H1Z1 King Of The Kill event? I’ll tell you in Daybreak Games own words, “H1Z1: Fight for the Crown is a six-part esports docuseries coming this spring to The CW Network, with the finale featuring the first ever 5-man H1Z1: King of the Kill tournament! The 75-person tournament will feature 15 elite teams of five, including Echo Fox, Rogue Gaming, Panda Global and Denial Esports, all competing for their share of a $300,000 prize pool.”

Now that we all know what it is, I’m going to highlight a few of my issues with the event.

  • 75 person tournament based on five players per team for a total of 15 teams. Players must be ranked in the top 200 leaderboards based on “Solo scores.”
  • “The Tournament will be filmed on March 19th, 2017” in front of a live studio audience.
  • “The H1Z1: Fight for the Crown tournament will be broadcast on April 20, 2017 on The CW Network.”
  • “The actual tournament will consist of only one game where all of the prize money will be distributed. The tournament will be very high pressure and intense!”

THIS NEXT ONE IS A BIGGIE..

  • “Tournament Results and Confidentiality: Players and Teams in the Tournament must not disclose the winner of the Tournament. As the filming of the tournament will not be live, and the surprise of the winner is a crucial element to the commercial viability of the broadcast, disclosing the winner will cause the Tournament and the Sponsor irreparable harm. Therefore, all Players individually and Team agree to each pay one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) to Sponsor for any disclosure of any Player or Team’s finishing placement in the Tournament attributable to that Player or Team or disclosed by a person associated with the Player or Team. This is not a penalty but a requirement due to the loss of economic interest that Sponsor may suffer.”

Ok, let’s start from the top. The prize pool is excellent, and I’m happy Daybreak decided to go towards a team based event instead of the traditional free for all aka “solos” event.

My first issue is how players must qualify to play for a team in the event, why must all of the players be in the top 200 on the Twin Galaxies leaderboards for them to be eligible to be on a team? This makes zero sense, it’s almost like they’re saying org owners/players are too stupid to ensure they have the best team possible going into the event.

The tournament won’t be steamed in Twitch.tv in a live environment setting.. are you kidding me? Did someone forget the only reason the game is relevant, is because of Twitch and the streamers who continue to play the game regardless of all the issues the game has?

The tournament will be shown on “The CW Network” almost a month after the event is over. WHAT? WHO? WHY? Please come out and say this is all a joke?

Speaking of the event being aired on TV over a month after it’s over… you expect people to stay silent on the outcome of the event? Five players will win $180,000, and they can’t say a damn word to anyone? Have you lost your minds?

“Individual players and teams agree to EACH pay $100,000 to Sponsor for any disclosure of any Player or Team’s finishing placement.” Yes, I wanted to quote that part again as this is simply amazing! We live in a world where people want to consume content in real-time and yet we have an Esports event being treated like it’s something that should be on HBO.

This simply doesn’t work, can you imagine if E League did this with CSGO? People would be burning down the CNN headquarters in Atlanta, GA. Just recently the Call of Duty World League event had a delayed broadcast pushed one hour late to Twitch after it was aired on MLG.TV and it was laughable at best.

People in Esports and Gaming, please remember we don’t need TV to continue the incredible growth of Esports.. TV needs us! As their numbers keep declining and ours keep growing, a ton of traditional marketing budgets will continue to flow into our space.