eSports Week 2: Mirrored Maps Madness

Prompt: With the understanding of how to create and run a tournament, create a 16-team bracket, and generate a random result and share those results. Describe how teams qualify, venue location, timing, staff needs, team needs, marketing, activation, sponsorship, ect. Argue for why your tournament would be successful and identify the biggest challenges for its creation. Evaluate the fan engagement of a major tournament and how they keep their fans happy and engaged. Identify and research an issue in the assigned reading and in your independent reading.


Link to tournament!

So I actually took the inspiration for this tournament from one I ran back when I was a community leader in the Team Fortress 2 Steam Forums. It was one of our most successful tournaments for a couple reasons: The spectators tuned in to see the mind-bending maps that were so similar yet so wrong, and the players took advantage of the plausible deniability of playing maps that were designed to be confusing, resulting in crazy frags and gutsy plays. It felt like an eSports version of Fischer Chess.

Team qualification would be a real problem, I’m not sure how we would handle this since nobody’s going to have prior histories on the chosen maps. (Back in the day this issue wasn’t applicable because we created the teams using whoever showed up to play).

I’ve noticed that professional tournaments love using data to generate fan engagement and interest. They use data to create storylines for specific players and teams, and to backup their predictions on what will happen next. I think one reason data is so successful for creating this user interest is that it makes the listener feel smart just by watching. When I watch CS:GO, a game I love but I’m not particularly good at, I’m partially studying the pros to see how I can improve, and when the casters point out some data trend and then tie it into the current meta, I feel like I just got better at the game by learning that.

I found the problems discussed in chapter 6 of Good Luck Have Fun very interesting to read, because I absolutely agree that eSports is suffering from its intrinsic link with internet culture and the problems therein. It’s sobering to remember that eSports is currently struggling to become a place where women and under-represented groups can feel comfortable participating as players or spectators, due in large part to the sheer difficulty in moderating the seething masses of young male internet fans participating at all times. I’m reminded of an article I wrote after ESL Cologne 2016, where I discussed Twitch chat and its meme-laden immaturity. I wrote that it was crass but ultimately harmless, and contributed positively to the experience by showing the viewer they were part of an active and interested community. Scarcely had my article been published that another writer, a young woman named Medic, wrote a rebuttal asserting that Twitch chat was not, in fact, harmless. In many ways (especially the way it reacted whenever a woman appeared on screen), Twitch chat was actively discouraging her from investing in the community because it was telling her that women were neither welcome nor expected to be interested anyway. As I’ve developed tournaments and created promotional content since then, I’ve tried to always remember what Medic’s article taught me, that I must be vigilant in noticing when an environment is fostering negative experiences even if I’m not one of the ones being targeted.

eSports Week 1: Three Potential Twitch Competitors

Can’t wait to see if the prof actually approves that third one as a focus of study


Prompt: Identify three gaming infrastructures (i.e. graphics, streaming services, game development, etc) and report how they will affect change and describe their impact. Give a projection for how you think the esports industry will look like in 5 years. Additionally, give an overview of most popular games in each game category and what has lead to their popularity, (200-700 words). Post this summary in SMWW e-Arena in the Week One Discussion Board by Friday. Have some fun with the discussion of this week’s theme.

I predict rapid alterations in what platforms are the leading voices in eSports. Twitch has been the leading platform for the last five years, since Twitch Plays Pokemon brought them into the public focus, but I’ve noticed that when it comes to online trends, there’s always an “early adapter” who falls out of focus as soon as things hit mainstream. It happened when Discord replaced Mumble/Skype, it happened when Facebook replaced MySpace, and it happened when Google replaced Yahoo. With eSports on the verge of going mainstream, this is Twitch’s moment to seize history, but I want to explore their biggest competitors, the companies I think most likely to possibly seize their crown.

(One supplementary note: I firmly believe that OWL-style professional leagues are the future of eSports, as opposed to CS:GO-style leagues composed of passionate communities and grassroots origins. Traditional sports have shown that centralized, corporate-style orgs are both profitable and popular, and the increased control by a single entity allows unprecedented levels of organization and unity in branding. This is one reason I think Twitch has the potential to be replaced; corporate leagues will have the resources and cohesion to abandon one streaming platform for another if the winds shift.)

While Twitch is currently the leader in eSport-related streaming, I’m personally very interested in YouTube and whether it will be able to nudge its way into Twitch’s domain. Both companies have been steadily increasing their competing services for a while (Twitch now allows permanent video storage via the Highlight feature, and YouTube is aggressively promoting its streaming service) and if YouTube can get their act together I think they have several important selling points that can give them the edge over Twitch, namely brand recognition and ease of video storage in volume. Their biggest downside is their draconic copyright policies that are turning content creators off the platform. This largely turns away any potential eSport communities that aren’t corporate-controlled, like the Overwatch League, but I’ve already mentioned I think OWL-style leagues are the future so YouTube can potentially overcome these issues.

Second, I’d like to explore Mixer, the other major Twitch competitor. Mixer has a couple perks in its court: Microsoft money, crowdplay integration, and Hypezone technology. The second one is the most important; Mixer’s main claim to fame is that it supports HTML plugins that allow the viewing audience to directly involve themselves in the stream. For example, they can vote directly for events to happen in-game, or randomly-selected opt-in viewers can play as characters in supported titles. This offers a level of interactivity that no other streaming platform can offer, and has huge potential for gambling/fantasy circuits. The big question is (a) Does Microsoft have the guts to make themselves the fantasy eSports site of choice and (b) will governments allow them to do so or will they condone the practice as underage gambling, similar to how microtransaction loot boxes have been banned in Belgium.

Third (as silly as this sounds), I want to examine YouPorn, not as a competitor to Twitch but as a peripheral provider who specializes in adult leagues. This largely stems from my belief that OWL-style leagues are the future, and most corporations want to keep a family-friendly appearance since underage gamers are a huge market for eSport-style games. Most of the biggest names in eSports (Blizzard, Riot, Twitch, Valve) insist on keeping things family friendly. YouPorn, in contrast, has sponsored NSFW tournaments and fielded prize-winning professional teams since 2014. With modern eSports unanimously embracing the childsafe experience, a counterpart adult league is an untapped market and YouPorn seems to be the only website attempting to claim it.

I’d go into more detail, but the prompt said to keep our post to under 700 words. If anyone wants further justification or commentary on these three sites of choice, please let me know! I have a lot to say on all three, and hope to be able to do so in future posts.

eSports: Let’s Get Down to Business

I’ve enrolled in an eSports business course! For posterity, part of the class involves creating professional-looking forum posts in the discussion threads, and I’d rather have mine saved somewhere when they inevitably shut the threads down after the source concludes in 6 weeks. Here’s my post for the first week, the introductory phase:


Hi everyone! 

I’ve been a game developer for 7 years now, mostly working in either content creation (quest writing, sprite art, voice acting), content oversight (editing, implementation) or marketing (social media managing, convention attendance, tournament organization). As you maybe can guess, that third category is what brought me here Very Happy 

I got my first experience organizing gaming tournaments recreationally for the Team Fortress 2 Steam Forums, and transferred from TF2 to Overwatch when it was released in 2016. for a few months I shoutcasted Overwatch for a competitive team before I got too busy with obtaining my Master’s degree in Game Design from UC Santa Cruz. While in school, I worked as a marketer for several multiplayer student projects, and I would run Twitch tournaments to promote the titles. 

You can see my full gaming-related portfolio here if you like. It’s great seeing how many of you are from mainstream sports production, since I don’t have any connections in that industry and I’d love to fix that with this course. Recreationally, my favorite eSports to watch are CS:GO and Overwatch, and the Overwatch League in particular I consider the most exciting thing to happen in the history of eSports. It’s crazy to think people are watching it on Disney, ABC, and ESPN! 

Outside of eSports, my hobbies are releasing weekly gaming videos on YouTube and writing articles on the gaming news sites The Daily SPUF and DailyeSports.gg. I also have an itch.io page where I post my solo game projects. 

Last thing, anyone who wants to connect on LinkedIn, please don’t hesitate to send me an invitation! Just mention in the note that we’re both attending SMWW Smile