How I See Esports, Promotion, and Our Role in Growth

Discussion in 'Injustice 2' started by CrimsonShadow, Oct 4, 2017.

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  1. CrimsonShadow

    CrimsonShadow Administrator and Community Engineer
    Administrator

    Hey everyone! So I’ve been seeing a ton of talk lately about numbers, money, salaries, promotion, etc. I’d like to sum up my thoughts on the subject, interspersed with some observations from following esports as a whole since it began (CAL/CPL days in the US, along with the rise of Korean esports w/ Starcraft, for anyone who was around then and remembers :D)

    Warning: This will be long, but I’ll try to break it into a series of individually digestible points.


    WHAT I SENSE PEOPLE WANT
    • Additional views (more than the current 5-8k per Top 8 stream, 1-3k per pools stream)
    • Additional money (enough for most top players to be able to turn a profit by playing these games)
    • Additional promotion (for more people to be aware the scene exists)

    WHERE WE CAME FROM

    I’ll skip the details and quickly sum this up -- from a not-so-long-ago start of the ‘NRS’ version of the Mortal Kombat scene in 2011, we have come a long way. From 2011-2014, we were often lucky to have a pools stream at all; lucky to have venue space that wasn’t a crowded corner of the hotel basement, and lucky to have enough money for any player to really earn by competing.

    People competed because they loved it. They often spent their own money to do this. Other people (including early ‘sponsors’) spent their own personal money or did donation drives to get players to events. International travel (in NRS circles) was rare and mostly centered around EVO.

    We were lucky to have 3-400 viewers at some events for pools in Injustice 1 (or a pools stream at all in some cases, like UFGT 9!). GGA’s local, at the height of it’s prowess (when ‘everyone was talking about it’) would notch less views than a random Pig of the Hut Stream gets in 2017.


    OLD VIEWERSHIP

    Pre-2017, the streaming for pools NRS games at most tournaments were done by independent streamers. KombatNetwork, FunkyP, Bifuteki, EGP, SwiftTomHanks’ outfit (forgot the name), PandXGaming, and others.

    The Top 8 streams were usually (but not always) included in main stream’s lineup for the event. This meant Teamsp00ky, Leveluplive, etc. These are streamers with thousands of highly-dedicated and active followers, who stream numerous FGC games.

    Teamsp00ky: > 55,000 Twitter followers, numerous Twitch followers
    Levelupseries: > 33,000 Twitter followers, numerous Twitch followers
    (Note that most of the streamers' followers are MAINLY interested in watching streams -- they're not just fans of the game alone, or looking for giveaways/DLC info etc.)

    This also meant that viewers who were tuning in for other games would stay and watch MKX or Injustice. Not all of them were fans (there was plenty of “When’s Mahvel?” and “ResidentSleeper”) -- but they were there watching, and thus included in the viewer count.


    WHERE WE ARE NOW

    We currently have more travel from top players than ever before. Matches we used to have to wait 3 months or more to see, now happen with players from different regions (or countries!) on a weekly basis. We no longer have to ask where many of the major streams are, or what time they start, because NetherRealm has taken care of that for the start of INJ2’s life.

    There are more sponsored players now than ever. Within 2 short years, most (not all) top players have a sponsor that at least pays a lot of their travel and hotel costs. A few select players even receive a salary or living stipend on top of their tournament expenses.

    There’s more international travel than we have ever had pre-2015. It is now common to see EU players at US majors outside of EVO, and to see US players make the trip to the EU.


    CURRENT VIEWERSHIP ISSUES

    Post Injustice 2, NetherRealm has (at least temporarily) been streaming the majority of major events and significant regionals. This means that rather than making use of the audience of whole-FGC esports viewers for Top 8, we have moved to a mainly NRS-current-game-specific crowd.

    The importance of this cannot be overstated -- we are now building a new audience, of people who are truly into our games. Removing the crutch of being on the FGC-main stream means that for a while, we will have lower numbers than we did previously. But we also have something which is exclusive to *us*.

    It’s our job to help promote this to the fullest. Anyone who is not actively tweeting out every tournament that happens each week, should not be spending time complaining about the numbers. We need to put our own effort where it matters! It's no accident that Spooky's team did this over time to bulid his stream from 5,000 -> 15/20k viewers or more -- and we will need to do it too!


    CURRENT LIVING WAGE ISSUES

    This is a controversial but important issue. Playing a video game is currently *not* a guarantee of earning a living wage, no matter how good a player is. Playing a *niche esports* video game is even *less* of a guarantee. You do not earn the right to a salary by being good -- you earn the right to a salary by having your living expenses covered by a sponsor. This is a key, key difference.

    Almost no truly top professional esports player or team, including in the bigger esports (MOBA, CS, etc) earns their living via *winnings*. Typically they earn their keep in one of a few ways:

    Streaming -- There are players who have learned to market themselves as a brand. This is not *simply because they are good*. In fact, in several cases, top streamers of the biggest games are either no longer playing at the absolute highest level, or never were to begin with. The biggest streams are built by *entertainers*. Some top players happen to be *entertainers/personalities* as well; but the entertainment is a key factor in gaining the thousands of regular viewers necessary to earn a living on-stream.


    Personal Corporate Sponsorship -- Before there were loads of teams with financial backing and VC funding, some of the smartest players were able to sustain themselves by cutting promotional deals with companies who could offer them significant amounts of money. This took *work* -- it did not happen just because the players were good. Individual players reached out to companies for hardware, food and drink, computers, etc. in order to cut deals that would let them game and compete full time.


    Benefactor-Backed Teams -- Teams which have an individual, often the owner, with a savings account, who is willing to empty that savings account on behalf of their players. We still have a number of these teams in the scene -- and we have also watched many of them fold and close their doors year after year.


    Team Corporate Sponsorship
    -- Similar to personal sponsorship, except that this team a team’s management is cutting the promotional deals to keep their players paid. This results in players wearing the brand logos on their jerseys, sometimes making promotional videos for these brands or other content, etc.


    VC Funding -- In 2017, many of the larger esports organizations are backed by Venture Capital partners, who are often willing to go millions of dollars into the red in order to hedge a bet that a future esports market will be profitable. The players are often paid handsome sums per year, but many of the organizations which back them are actually *losing* money year on year, rather than earning it.

    What do you not see in this list? Prize money. Because it’s a rarity that any team or player operating on a professional level this days can sustain themselves year after year without a job, from prize money alone. There are individual cases where it has happened, but it was often not a long-lasting arrangement.


    WHAT CAN NRS DO

    So how can the companies who make these games help grow their own scene? In a few ways.

    Organic, Targeted Advertising -- The beauty of social media advertising is that it allows you to make every dollar count. Using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Adwords, you are able to show ads only to people who are:
    • Talking about certain things
    • Have expressed that they are interesting in certain things
    • Are searching for specific things
    • Are following certain things

    This means that you can send advertising out directly to people who are highly likely interested in the first place. Companies who are making effective use of these methods are able to grow their audience organically, in many cases without spending millions upon millions of dollars as they’d have to with traditional media/TV advertising.


    In Game Alerts

    Most of the major esports now have a feature in their launcher that alerts players to specific events when they’re live or upcoming. This is a key part of CS:GO’s recent growth into an esport that draws hundreds of thousands of concurrent viewers per major. League of Legends and Valve’s DOTA also make use of this.

    The vast majority of developers who are doing this, come from a PC-based background. Riot, Hi-Rez, Valve, Bungie, Microsoft, etc. all have their roots in PC at their start.

    But while this isn’t something that is very common for console-endemic devs, it’s certainly possible (Madden perhaps being one example?), and there’s room for NetherRealm to break some ground. But it’s unlikely to happen unless multiple members of their community begin expressing their opinions directly to the people who make these decisions.

    This means reaching out directly to reps at Warner Brothers Games, as well as the higher-ups at NRS who dialogue with them to make these calls (read: just because designers/artists/community reps like Derek/Paulo/Tyler etc follow you on Twitter, doesn’t mean that you’re barking at the right channels for a change this big).


    Twitter -- The Netherealm Studios Twitter account has over 274,000 followers. While it's possible that they don't want to spam the majority of followers with esports events, having this account tweet out things that are happening (Chasing the Cup, IPS Majors, etc) would be incredibly helpful toward building a following.


    PATIENCE

    Also, big AAA development changes take time. Behind the scenes, you need budget greenlight -> R&D/prototyping phase with engineers -> full-scope plan for development -> team development, including UI/UX development -> Q&A/polishing/refinement period. Remember the MKX netcode upgrade? How it took months to years? This is part of the reason why. Even when someone in the company wants things to the happen, it might not happen overnight. But, developer information about esports in-game would be a major, major boost to event viewership -- which would in turn help boost the level of sponsorship for our scene.


    WHAT CAN WE DO

    Two major things here. The first (and easiest) is *effective communication*. We need to remember that our favorite game developers are real people, with real jobs -- they have many things to worry about on a given day, and as a AAA-seized game dev/publisher, many of those things are NOT esports or niche-top-player-related.

    This means that people (and especially key players and streamers) need to remember that openly bashing their own games and developers as a community ‘face’ will often burn bridges with same the people they wish to help them later. So if you’re serious about wanting to make a career out of this, you need to start prioritizing *business* and *keeping lines of communication open* over airing personal grudges in an immature, public fashion.

    We need to learn to advocate constructively and directly for what we want rather than just whining out loud -- it's an crucial skill in life and business in general.

    There are very real people at these companies who might, if you ask professionally and are persistent enough, be willing to sit down with some community leaders for a phone call, Skype call, or email discussion. Simply complaining about WB's support is not enough -- it’s absolutely critical that we reach out to the specific people and portions of these companies that are making these calls.

    Organize Meetings
    -- If tournament players have concerns about IPS, ELEAGUE, pot distribution, rules, or anything else, then get a group of said players together, contact the appropriate people, and organize a call or sit-down. If that's not possible, try to do it via email and CC everyone. Do NOT wait until the next season when the plans are laid and all the money has already been allocated.

    ***

    The second big thing: PROMOTE.

    Companies often don’t get on board until they see members of a community *taking the initiative themselves*. Even in other esports, many companies have simply been followers of trends, rather than trend-setters. But this is perfectly normal.

    If you aren’t promoting the heck out of your scene, your players, your events, and your game, it’s a lot harder to get someone in a suit at a big corporation to earmark tens of thousands of dollars to do so. This means:

    Tweeting things out -- The simplest thing you can to do start would be to actually Tweet about tournaments, streams, shows and events when they happen. If you’re too lazy to write your own tweet, retweet someone else’s.

    Creating more content -- A Year of Injustice was a great example of something that brought some positive attention to our tournament scene. Red Hot Sundays is another. In the Smash scene, The Smash Brothers doc helped revitalize Melee’s tournament numbers and created renewed interest in competitive Smash (even without Nintendo’s help at that time!) Also, see @st9rm's recent mini-doc about Viennality.

    Most of the bigger FGC games have their own web-based shows or blogs that help bring attention to their games: Cross Counter, Melee it On Me, UltraChen, etc. These are things done by the community directly without big-budget developer support.


    Write posts -- The beauty of TYM’s open/forum format is that any post can be edited and promoted to a front-paged article that then goes out on the TYM twitter. For mods, although we try our best, writing articles and keeping up with it all can be a time-consuming process. But if you see an event that’s not being talked about, you can, as a regular poster, make a thread about it and bring it to someone else’s attention. That’s something TYM's mods can then front-page to help bring attention to an event.

    Re-hosting -- For streamers with a decent following, you can help promote another stream on Twitch by hosting it on your own stream. This is an extremely quick and easy way to help promote something that is happening live.


    CONCLUSION

    We’ve come a long way in a short period of time -- but there’s much more we can do if we’re willing to put the effort in. The developers have additional things they can and hopefully will to do help -- but moving on their end also works slowly and takes time. This means we need to do *everything we can* to help our ourselves and promote our own scene in the meantime.

    Looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts and observations on this subject -- and for anyone who was actually brave enough to read or skim the entire thing, thank you! :D

    Kudos and credit to @Pig Of The Hut and everyone else who's been kicking ideas about this around on streams and on Twitter.
     
    #1
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2017
  2. CrimsonShadow

    CrimsonShadow Administrator and Community Engineer
    Administrator

    Reserved
     
    #2
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  3. CrimsonShadow

    CrimsonShadow Administrator and Community Engineer
    Administrator

    Let's not let this be one of those things we don't talk about as a community, but end up complaining about later :p
     
    #3
  4. Flamelurkr

    Flamelurkr Noob

    As much as you guys like to hate him brady has been arguing this for a while. I recommend some of his videos. Dink just released one too on YouTube.

    I'm just really elated we have a thread on us. Personally I believe we have room to be a more respected chamber in professional gaming and want to see this happen. Dink talks about our payout and how it's actually more courteous to ppl that don't win the tournament attended. This makes me sense its something deeper than just nrs and our games. Sf, honeybee, bio, dragon, etc deserve more amongst the pro gaming community. A game like lol, dota, overwatch, cod, csgo, etc dwarf us in income. While the public is the ultimate decider in this I believe we can get our viewers higher eventually. I think we need to find a way to reach ppl that can respect the game without playing it.
     
    #4
    ChoseDeath likes this.
  5. To preface this: I don't buy the annual "oh, this game is dying out" spazzfest we have. It always happens, it's never the case.

    Compared to the original injustice this game is doing better in every way, viewership, popularity, everything. It's not even close. No, Mortal Kombat comparisons don't count. That franchise has a superset of this player base- it's only useful to compare viewership to the previous Injustice.

    To the actual point:

    In game notifications are critical***. People write these off because "yeah, KI has them, but that game has no players" but comparatively speaking, had KI _not_ had them it'd likely woulda had less than half the competitive audience even at the game's peak.

    Another absolutely genius idea I've seen was this:

    https://www.rocketleague.com/news/fan-rewards-rlcs-world-championship-weekend/

    So what the Rocket League developers did: they teamed up with Twitch, and rewarded Rocket League players with in game swag in return for watching the Rocket League Championship Series on Twitch.

    That was fucking genius. That's definitely something NRS should do. I wouldn't have believed it before the release of this game, but I'm pretty sure every casual under the sun would tune in and watch an entire top 16 if they got pretty new pants to dress Batman up in.

    ***
    Note for those who haven't played KI or any game that does this, "in game notifications" refers to a mechanic by which, upon booting up the game, the player gets a kind of "news display" about current game events. In Killer Instinct, they'd tell players about tournaments, and from there you could even go to watching a top 8 on your xbox via the built in browser by just selecting an option. It basically funneled in all players to viewing the game being played competitively.
     
    #5
  6. Evantabes

    Evantabes Noob

    PSN:
    Evantabes
    XBL:
    Evantabes
    Just gonna touch on this because I'm an avid Rocket League player so I've been watching for a while. League play for Seasons 1 and 2 (where the top 8 teams play round robin) got around 10,000 concurrent viewers each week. The Seasons 1 and 2 LANs peaked at around 80,00 viewers each.

    Upon the introduction of the in game eSports live button during Season 3, league play averaged 25,000 viewers each week. The first time the twitch rewards were available was the Season 3 LAN and that peaked at around 200,00 viewers. Now the rewards are available every week during league play for Season 4 and league play averages between 45,000-50,000 each week. Obviously the game is growing rapidly so the viewers will naturally increase as well, but the impact of the eSports button and the rewards system is undeniable.

    I think the league play numbers are better evidence than anything, as it's kind of like the equivalent of watching pools at a major. Most people who are passionate about the game will tune in for sure, but the casual player isn't likely to know about it let alone sit around for 5 hours watching it and will come back when the top 8/LAN is on. But the large flashing "LIVE" button as soon as you start your game is a great and easy way to alert casuals who are playing instead of watching high level play. The rewards system pretty much appeals to everyone, as people are in love with the idea of being able to win things from doing nothing especially since some of the items you can drop are worth $200+ so both of these things are definitely something NRS should look into implementing, especially rewards now that they have the gear system.

    Now it helps that Rocket League is a super accessible game and a lot if its appeal is that you don't have to play at a high level to understand the game or enjoy watching it. It's just soccer with cars. My friend and I actually attended the Season 3 LAN and even though he probably has less than 50 hours on Rocket League, he's still aware of what is happening and can enjoy it as much as me even though I've played 1700 hours. The game isn't complicated.

    On topic, generally fighting games are a lot less accessible and it's much harder to understand what's happening in a game/what the commentators are saying if you haven't put a decent amount of time into the game. The average fighting game fan isn't going to understand what Bobby Scar is saying when he talks about a good DI or if Aris asks what's for breakfast when someone is knocked down. That's just the nature of fighting games though; they have a naturally higher entry barrier for understanding high level play. Core-A Gaming actually talks about this in this video which I think is pretty relevant



    The enjoyment we get from watching two people walk back and forth in an intense footsie battle isn't going to translate to the average viewer. They're just gonna ask what the hell is happening, get bored, and turn it off. Maybe this can be solved by the developers helping people get to the level where they can understand tournament play? Doubtful, because in the end that's still up to the people to be dedicated and willing to learn. Passion can't be taught, and the knowledge of the average fan isn't something that is controllable. Another thing NRS games have working against them is their set life cycle. Not many people are willing to spend the time learning a new game at a high level every two years. There's nothing that can really be done about this either as the release schedule is out of NRS hands. I guess they can try to support old games but that's not profitable so why would they?

    Fighting games are also relatively unpopular compared to other genres, so in the end this isn't a problem that is solvable immediately. It'll be a while before fighting games are something more than a niche interest so I guess this whole post was bullshit and there isn't really a lot players can do other than the standard tweet about/Stream a game to promote it.

    TL;DR In game eSports button and stream rewards fucking work. Long term growth is hard
    Edit: Forgot to mention that Rocket League gave out exclusive in game items to people who attended the most recent LAN. Maybe NRS could do some Evo exclusive gear to get the numbers up?
     
    #6
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  7. Pig Of The Hut

    Pig Of The Hut Day 0 Phenomenal Dr. Fate and Darkseid player

    I love everything about your post

    Thank you for writing this
     
    #7
  8. I was actually apart of the battle-cars community (the game before rocket league) before I came here, and it amazes me how the scene for the game blew up. These were guys that were super close to the developers, and held their own 3v3 and 2v2 tournaments back when there are at most 40 active members on the forums. For example, I used to play with Kronovi in 2v2s for kicks, at the time he was called Stevebills.

    I could have never imagined how much the game would have grew, but that's how dedicated the community was. They new the game was special, and even back then they were always looking for ways to promote battle-cars.

    Some of the pioneers of the scene was Fyshokid, CoolCole, and Ryan094. These guys made montages (especially Fyshokk\id) and made a combined channel that gradually delivered content. As for now, there one of the top rocket league channels, and gave out multiple rocket league tutorials as well as player showcases.

    You could argue rocket league is a special case, and I fully agree. But I also feel when it comes to fighting games, such as NRS, it means we as scene need to work that much harder in pushing out content. I think it's doable, and if given the chance I would like to do this as well. One step at a time though.
     
    #8
  9. Also, this is a wonderful thread. Really great post from everyone, hope this thread receives more attention. Thanks for posting this @CrimsonShadow
     
    #9
  10. Evantabes

    Evantabes Noob

    PSN:
    Evantabes
    XBL:
    Evantabes
    SubParButInHD the GOAT channel
     
    #10
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  11. Eddy Wang

    Eddy Wang Skarlet scientist

    PSN:
    eddywangmk
    For casuals to understand high level play, the developers needs to put a shoe in for their games and add tutorials about it touching technical aspects of the game its a concept that its kinda hard to implement in most games these days but its necessary.

    A Good way to keep core of participants is creating a league, the system i had before works, but not in my country because people have to dislocate all the time to join such things and internet play its pretty bad, but US and EU/Canada could easily have league sessions and all with huge prizes and a participation system.
     
    #11
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  12. CrimsonShadow

    CrimsonShadow Administrator and Community Engineer
    Administrator

    The Battle Arena/Last Man Standing community seems to be another community that streams, entertains, and pushes content religiously.

    Even though I think this games lend themselves particularly well to streaming due to the stories they tell, a lot of streamers inject their additional personality or role-playing into the mix, kind of like Seagull does for Overwatch or Day9 did with his energetic Starcraft breakdowns.

    And really, it's no different than the way Gootecks and Mike Ross made sitting on a couch playing Street Fighter hype via personality, or Maximilian with Marvel. It'd be cool to have a homegrown content creator with charisma :)
     
    #12
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  13. TurboTaco

    TurboTaco Mexican street vendor

    PSN:
    TurboTaco91
    Steam:
    TurboTaco91
    In game notifications of upcoming tournaments is a great idea that should be used.
     
    #13
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  14. A F0xy Grampa

    A F0xy Grampa Problem X Promotions
    Premium Supporter

    The point about more international travel kinda triggers me, this isn't a result of the scene growing, it's a result of luck, there wouldn't be international players seen at all if it wasn't for Problem X, Luciano and Madzin's dream.

    So we haven't really progressed in that front, Madzin has made 4 world finals, and still isn't sponsored, meanwhile every Tom, Dick and Harry in the states has someone to fly them here there and everywhere.

    International players still have it shit in comparison.

    Also, viewership and entries for tournaments in this game is actually on the decline. EVO this year was the first year an NRS title didn't exceed the entrants of the first year EVO for the previous NRS title.

    On twitch if a high level player streams inj2 they'll average 100-200 viewers. Madzin used to get 500 every time for MKX. Our viewership is SO BAD that For Honor is always above us, and that game is terrible. We no longer have RHS or Brady (the good times) so our viewership has no stability


    Now if you want to compare viewership for tournaments, I think MKX had 40-60k viewers for every season of Esl finals. Inj2 proseries finals had what 15k at best? That's actually shocking considering a random smash tournament can break that, Tekken at TFC almost had the same viewership as the injustice 2 PRO SERIES FINALS.

    Another point I'd like to bring up is, prize distribution is now completely out of control, so the pro series doesn't pay out in a fashion that allows for all players to play with the intention of going 'pro', you need to be #1 or #2, and you also need to live in America otherwise expenses start adding up too.

    The way I see it, our scene isn't growing in its current state, it's shrinking.

    Rant over
     
    #14
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  15. SaucyD0ge

    SaucyD0ge Worst european batman

    From my experience, people
    A)Learn from bare bones through fire and flames
    B)Already have a decent understanding of neutral
    C)Keeps spamming that abusable special move and don’t want to improve at all
    The most common player type we’ll come across is C, due to fighter games essentially requiring a lot of muscle memory and commitment to progress.
    So unless we don’t apwant the community to grow, we should be doing SOMETHING to attract the COD commoner to the FGC, something like watching a reverse bracket win in tournament finals(something hype man, you know what I’m talking about).
    Notifications for future events&rewards for watching the event streams would bring a lot of fresh blood to the FGC and NRS community, just to name a few.
     
    #15
  16. So is there anything constructive to offer?

    This post is basically "doom and gloom, Americans have it easy, unless you're Top 2 then you aren't getting a profit, this game is declining, MKX was better, and maybe if we're lucky MKXI will be better".

    I'm NOT sponsored, I spend my own money to travel to at best 2 events a year and ultimately it probably costs me $1,200-$2,000 a year just to compete at a game with zero monetary ROI because I don't place. I get the prize money issue - but I have far bigger concerns with a clear lack of understanding of demographics from either NRS (or actually, more likely, a lack of positive numbers to influence business decisions from WB) which leads itself to small viewership and attendee counts.

    The reality is that demographics, education on fighting game events, and marketing are key factors for low viewership counts. Yes there are people that were more into MK - but it is pointless to compare us to Smash which has been grassroots building for over a decade, or Tekken which historically has a larger community overseas. Plus, what does a casual watcher gain from IPS finals? They watch the same players fight that have been on stream and placing at every event all year - with minor character variety. There's no real new face, no upstart, no true cinderella story. What story is there to truly care about when 20% of the viewership is only going to tune in for the chance of SonicFox losing? It's like trying to watch the Yankees win everything for the 5th year in a row - no reason to watch the regular season, tune it at the end and see if things have changed, otherwise go back to dreaming. There's nothing "flashy" or too crazy about half the stuff in the game either - you don't see clips on ESPN or Kotaku.

    Not that you or anyone else here gives a damn what I think but negative rants like yours are what make the casuals (and even light competitors like me) stop having any interest and move on to the next game when they see that even the pros think everything is bad.

    No one outside of the community is going to give a damn if we don't.

    Rant over.
     
    #16
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  17. CrimsonShadow

    CrimsonShadow Administrator and Community Engineer
    Administrator

    So in your opinion, the reason Biohazard, Whiteboi, Slayer, Dragon, Theo, King etc. came to Europe for Viennality etc. was "luck"?

    Imo this doesn't make much sense. And I'm a bit triggered in return as the first time Madzin came to the states for MLG, I put up some of my own money along with Pig to help him get there.

    This isn't luck. NetherRealm has specifically been injecting money into the European scene with an effort to grow their base there. In fact, in MKX you bragged that PND was the best due to the amount of money you'd made in the first 6 months or so -- and half of that was you and Madzin cleaning up at events that suddenly had major pot bonuses in the UK/EU.

    My question is, what is Madzin doing to procure a sponsor? Who is reaching out on his behalf? Is he building his stream and cultivating his audience, or is he just expecting that people will tune in and he'll be sponsored because he is good?

    Madzin has a great personality and I'm positive he could do it if he's willing to work at building his fanbase.

    There are numerous good players that weren't sponsored until recently (Gross for example), so it's definitely not impossible. But waiting for a sponsor because you feel you're entitled to one isn't the best way to get results. Why not be proactive, get help if you need it, and build your brand outside of just playing events.
     
    #17
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
  18. Johnny Based Cage

    Johnny Based Cage Day 10 Mediocre Darkseid Player
    Premium Supporter

    I think there are other factors in play affecting viewership too. Tournament overload, for example. Who tf knows what to watch and when any more? Seriously? Shit's half-promoted at best, overlapping with other shit, runs on its own schedules half the time instead of concurrent with other games, etc.

    We used to know exactly when a big tournament was coming up and get to tune in all weekend for all the fighting games we loved and now it's like someone threw a live grenade at that idea and everything is all over the place instead.
     
    #18
    Eldriken, Aramonde and Protagonist_1 like this.
  19. Stahp comparing injustice 2 numbers to Mortal Kombat.

    The right basis of comparison is Igau 2 to Igau 1.
     
    #19
    Flamelurkr and skahwt like this.
  20. Nobus3r1

    Nobus3r1 House of Bane; ID: 8V596

    PSN:
    Nobus3r1
    This, given a recent "conversation" I had on Twitter, is a very timely topic. I have yet to see a post here on promotion, co-promotional strategies or viewership that I disagree with. I think at a very basic level in terms of event structure and hierarchy that the FGC should be looking at what other, more successful, eSports entities (MOBAs, RTS, FPS, etc.) plus Magic: the Gathering are doing.

    The last of those (M:tG) is, I feel, an especially interesting comparison as it's a game that like fighting games mostly revolves around offline competition and a lot of travel. One of the main points of interest here to me is the payout structure for the largest open M:tG events (Grand Prix). As best as I can tell, unless you've sunk a tremendous amount of money into travel if you place top 8 in a Grand Prix you should break even for the event.

    There are still large FGC events were one could finish as high as third and likely still end up in the red for the trip. That needs to change. I also don't think that the deeper payout structure demonstrated by M:tG would be the worse idea to implement. You know what helps growth? Player retention. Say someone who's the best in their little group comes out to their first major and makes top 32. Right now they probably aren't getting anything for that. Would it be the worst thing in the world if that person got something (either small cash payout or merchandise)? I would say that the answer to that is 'No' and that that sort of thing might do a lot to encourage that player to attend future events AND might even encourage the rest of their little group to step up as well. Result: community growth.

    It also, and this is much easier if NRS/WB is bankrolling their own event series, but a payout structure that's generous and independent of attendance might be worth considering. IMO if, for example, someone knows ahead of time that top 8 or better pays for their trip they'll be more likely to attend an event. The more people that this applies to the larger the event. The more competition, growth, etc.

    My last thought on the FGC and eSports for the moment but variations of the argument "This is how it's always been" need to stop. That is the sort of thinking that stifles progress and chokes off community growth. Just because something has worked well enough to the current point in time being evaluated does not in any way, shape or form mean that that thing is the best way to do something.
     
    #20
  21. A F0xy Grampa

    A F0xy Grampa Problem X Promotions
    Premium Supporter


    You cant compare Gross and Madzin. Ok lets put it into a different perspective, Honeybee makes 2nd at evo, instant sponsor, I make 2nd at evo, nobody talks what so ever. St9rm makes 4th at ESL finals, not a word, Gross makes 4th at IPS and its the biggest thing ever.

    You can act like money is being pumped into EU but you're wrong. Its not luck that the americans (+bio) came here, its proof to my point, they were all sponsored to come here, whereas, no EU players are sponsored to go over there. 0, NONE, ZEEEEEEEERO.

    If you honestly believe we're treated as equals in all this I wish we could swap sides so you can see.

    Now obviously it doesnt matter if you're johnny donuts and cant make it out of pools. But thats not the point im talking from.



    You want me to lie? You want me to not make comparisons to how EU had it in a better time? We were at a point where we were legitimately growing, players were getting good, and now thats all gone, people have already quit, they dont need my 'doom and gloom post' to decide that on their own accord. If you're from the US, by all means enjoy the plethora of options open to you as a competitor (IPS, various side tournaments with big pot bonuses, war of the gods, other pot bonus tournies like SCR), but if you're from the EU you best have a good sponsor, cause there's nothing to attend in season or off season.

    About the viewership thing. Sonic won with the same dominance in mkx, but there were still on average 3x/4x the viewers on each finals, this finals had less viewers than a daily timthetatman overwatch stream. Think about that, 200k finals for a 600k tour, less viewers than a fat man screaming at overwatch daily. So what changed from Sonic being dominant in 1 game to the next, but losing 30k viewers at least while doing it.

    If my opinion holds too much weight for you because im a 'pro' thats on you. I'd never make a choice on competing in a game based on what the 'pros' think about it. Im just saying what I think, and the changes I've seen since MKX, which arent positive or forward thinking IMO.

    Not to say that it cant be helped, I just think that EU needs a focused community member and WB assistance to actually revive our scene, more tournaments, more promotion, more inclusion.
     
    #21
    Nausea, tafka Djinn, Stanlos and 3 others like this.
  22. CrimsonShadow

    CrimsonShadow Administrator and Community Engineer
    Administrator

    So a couple questions here:
    1) Do you think people have assumed that you're already sponsored by PxP, or whatever?
    2) Have you reached out to a lot of potential teams sponsors and been rebuffed? Or are you waiting for them to contact you.

    While it is in a different form, let's be honest about the fact that a good deal of money (tens of thousands of dollars) HAS been deliberately pumped into your region of the world, to supply pot bonuses for tournamets that had a lower amount of international competition (until this year when a lot of sponsors brought additional players over to the EU).

    Let's add up the amount in EU pot bonuses that you guys have had since MKx in 2015, at tournaments where you and Madzin were often the best two players in attendance.

    Again, at one point you actually bragged about how much you guys were making. And a lot of that was NRS -> EU+ESL money. They are definitely doing what they can to support.

    Madzin did not suddenly strike it rich and start buying tickets to America. Him being here so frequently was a direct result of the money that was intentionally placed overseas to help promote these games.
     
    #22
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
    Eldriken and BadMoodBarry like this.
  23. KingHippo

    KingHippo Alternative-Fact Checker

    I'll start by saying that no, none of this is perfect, but many of the problems people point out are systemic of all Esports, and everyone is struggling to find ways around those problems, even the biggies. League of Legends suffers from this, where teams are almost made and broken based on the grueling LCS season, which also will often outright not allow certain players to rep their sponsors as well. Riot, the company behind LoL, issue lots of money to teams to pay salaries, but even that often isn't enough to cover equipment, housing, travel, etc. In DOTA, teams with even decent results fold because the payouts are very top heavy. To put it lightly, the system is very flawed even for the biggest moneymakers in the industry.

    To bring it back to NRS and I2, there has been a lot of groveling about money, and how it is not being spread out enough to "help" players. I'm not arguing for only top 8 payout (I can see no real reason why we shouldn't!), but the reality is you cannot sustain a life on winnings from high placings unless you are really, really good. In no other sport or Esport would a player survive based on whether or not they won or lose, that is simply asking too much. The worst part is, with how tournaments are nowadays, even getting that little slice of the pie from say a top 16 payout probably won't be enough to make every tournament.

    That may sound gloomy, but the reality is that to make a living just playing videogames, you need to embrace social media, and even that is shaky and unstable, given Youtube's recent demonetization crisis. Some people on this site are already trying to do this like @REO and @STB Shujinkydink , who make videos and, no matter how inane, do their best to try and get an audience to see it. Obviously, this largely viewed negatively by lots of people, but you know what? That's the game! You have to do things like that in order to maintain relevance, because winning doesn't last forever. The Sirens on CW? I bet those girls were over the moon with the offer, since you can't buy that kind of exposure, ever. You have to reach for the brass ring, because it's way up there if you want a career in this line of work. That's not to mention maintaining a healthy twitter and streaming schedule, which is also imperative.

    To get attention from people that can really make a difference when it comes to playing games, you have to prove your worth. I don't mean to say that you have to mindlessly whore yourself out for the nearest dollar, but if all you're doing is trying to place, then you're doing it wrong, plain and simple. No business in corporate America, if they're smart, are marks for the tournament wins, they're marks for perceived value over time. Look at some real examples: @EMPEROR_THEO emerged from his bunker twenty floors below sea level and is now streaming and doing interviews under the paid tutelage of one of the strongest organizations in the industry. Putting in the time to expand your profile can do wonders, but luck has a lot to do with it to. Sometimes you might not get the attention of Echo Fox; you may have to settle for someone that can offer a little, but not a lot, and that's okay! You have to start building your portfolio somewhere, and if it's a decent organization, it will open up avenues.

    As always, you have to beware of the shysters, charlatans, and shitheads out there that will prey on the people in Esports because the ages tend to skew younger and it's easier to work kids out of money and use it to boost your own profile then it would be to do the same to an adult. Even Justin Wong spent years and years under EMP and Triforce and all he learned was how to write a check. Nowhere near as insidious but often just as damaging are the money marks, the guys who are personally financed that are fans of the sport and want to make their own team. These are often nice people with good intentions but little business sense, and they usually end up folding within a year because they'll buy up a bunch of talent and then wonder where all the money went when not much is kicked back because of a lack of knowledge on what it takes to make money.

    To bring this all back to NRS again, this is a scene in its infancy, which is hard to believe, but it is. It disheartens me, as someone who has been around for almost ten years now, to see many prominent figures in this scene advocate for what I could only describe as a sort of anti-grassroots mentality. Between IGAU and MKX there was a devastation to the local scenes all around the country. It's been argued to death what the root cause was, but the plain truth is that local tournaments are hardly acknowledged and even rarer seen, and that's a key demographic to growth. Majors, especially nowadays, are mini vacations; anyone who can get to a major and not spend more than 4-500$ is a pretty lucky person. The average FGC'er is probably a millennial is who is going to be economically burdened, and that sucks for getting numbers up. Add to that that we don't have the legacy or non-traditional fun that SF and Smash represent, respectively, so the numbers for tournies are nowhere near as high and won't be for some time. Growth has to happen organically, and I think some people let the money dictate what matters most, which is a real shame.

    Lastly, I wanted to address @A F0xy Grampa . You talked about people throwing their babies up in the air for Honeybee getting 2nd, and I just want to remind you that by the time that happened, there was a lot brewing for Bee. He had been on a decently rated Machinima series that aired both on YT and CW, has had a healthy and active Twitter where he helped raise his fanbase,and he supplied his YT channel with plenty of videos both long and quick bits to get the clicks (How many views does that comeback video have now?). The point is, the dude was doing what it took to raise a high profile, and once he did, the fans that he got were able to make big noise for him when he did well, which is going to look great to any potential sponsor. I see that you're sponsored by Problem X, but what does that mean? Who is he? I know but I'm deeply invested. imagine a white corporate America guy looking at that and knowing what that means or represents and why he should care. Placing and doing well are just one part of the equation; are you filling out the rest? I thing there are legitimate grievances mixed in there, but I do have to wonder if all the necessary steps are being taken to support an Esports life.
     
    #23
  24. SM StarGazer

    SM StarGazer The voice of reason in a Sea of Salt

    We need to learn to advocate constructively and directly for what we want rather than just whining out loud -- it's an crucial skill in life and business in general.

    Okay. I've been asking for Spawn for four years. Nothing. So I have the right to not watch streams, promote the game, call out Raiden for the waste of space he is(I don't care how sexy ya'll think his super is, Supergirl travels to the sun in under 2 seconds and throws you LIGHTYEARS back to Earth in under 3 seconds THAT is what you all sexy and impressive, MMMFTL confirmed!), and cry on forums and social media all I want. Facts B.

    Anywho trolling done time for the Voice of Reason:

    This game is great, most balanced and fun we've had sense MKX. However the community can sometimes come off as Elitist and Dismissive. Everyone isn't like me, able to generate hype at any moment, nor are they confident enough to put themselves out there, nor are they confident enough to call out a 'top player' lose and still call them trash. What I'm saying is most of ya'll have no spine. and that's bad.

    Let me ask ya'll a question? Why did my tournament AB8 generate hype only trumped by EVO when it had half the space as nearly any other major, half the setups of any major, and half the signups of any other major?

    IT HAD HEART!!! We were into it like never before. The trash talk from people that didn't even enter the tournaments, the blowups, the hospitality showed by the Texas scene, the conversations we had with each other, the time we spent playing casuals both in the venue and outside of it, Going out to eat together, SIDE BETS!! (Hayatei paid my rent for that month but don't tell him I told you. He said he'd get me back for that and I hate Robin so imma just leave The Gawd alone.), the hype, and hurts and feels. Even SonicFox5000 himself stated that AB was the hypest tournament this year, which makes me feel good as a T.O and got me a pat on the back from my superiors as well as the right to run any and all NRS tornaments in the future as well as Mahvel.

    So what im saying is that we need to be more community driven in everyway. Maybe start a community GoFundMe for every major where we sponser ONE player to go and compete. Like @SaltShaker did for @Tweedy. Have community saltbets on stream where the top earner for that month gets a streamed set with whatever player they bet on. Community streams like MKX(Don't ya'll remember those wonderful lobbies full of known and unknown players??), Developer Streams were we fight NRS employees, Community Q&A's were top players and not so top players discuss community questions and just share tech in a type of roundstable deal, more support for the EU through community funded events.

    Special events between tornaments like a new series for helping all players. We can even call it something like: Breaking The Meta. Where as a COMMUNITY!! We all voted for a specific character and we all main that character for two weeks then have a streamed tornament of basically mirror matches showing what crazy stuff we came up with. Not only does this increases EVERYONES MU knowledge but it also gives the characters with barely any community representation a chance to see their characters in action at a high level, it also helps flesh out these characters everyone calls bad like Cyborg or Blue Beetle. It also keeps thing fresh and interesting.

    Hell we could even do MYSTERY TOURNAMENTS where we vote out 10 characters each weed/or two and players or anyone in the tornament must randomly pick one of the characters that remain.

    All of this gives the game continued life even after major are done. We get to practice new characters, keep streamers happy, learn new OD setups and character specific things, and just general keep everyone interested. Cause one thing we suffer from his redundancy....Tournements and such can get stall if you KNOW Red Hood, Aquaman, Black Adam, Superman, Supergirl, Cold, and other are what you'll see.

    Seriously think how HYPE tournaments get when you have a Swamp Thing, or Bane, or Cheetah(OD damage), Blue Beetle, Firestorm, Ivy and etc going at it. It's hype cause we NEVER see them at a high level. More character diversity rquals more hype and more views and more subs and more chance to land sponsers, and more footage to edit so you CAN be seen by sponsers and just in general a refreshing break from Tournament metas(Play to win/Top Tier characters only).

    In Short....make it about the people...not ourselves. Make it about them and they will pay your way to the next tournament. I'm true disgusted by the lack of streaming for this game. I know traveling can hard and time consuming but when we have downtime like this and after Eleague we should be hitting people with that new shit.

    So basically I need MOTHERFUCKING @Pig Of The Hut TO RETURN. Like..NOW BRENT!!! You Stream RIGHT NOW MISTER!!!! I'll even make a gust appearance as Lord SMKingStarGazer Eternal Wifi God of the Cosmos.
     
    #24
    Doctor Angel and The_Tile like this.
  25. Roy Arkon

    Roy Arkon Noob

    PSN:
    RoyArkon46
    Indeed we have come a long way, and we need to keep it that way. We need to keep being supportive and constructive at the right times, hyping the games and the scenes, while the devs need to keep their jobs as well. We all do our jobs and we need to keep doing this.

    Seeing threads like this, is what our community needs. Huge kudos to @CrimsonShadow for making this.
     
    #25
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