It was almost 16 years ago that I started to work on GameTruck. That’s a decade and a half, 10 million kids entertained, about 300,000 events held in more than 30 states. And you know what? I still hear people saying, “Oh are you new?” They have never heard of us. I have come to think of this as JITK — Just In Time Knowing. People don’t learn about a product or service until they need it.
Consequently, you can fool yourself into thinking that everyone who knows you, knows what you do. We have been conducting esports opens in one format or another at hundreds of colleges and universities from coast to coast for the last year. So, it stands to reason everyone knows what we do right?
Of course not! So I thought I would take a minute to explain what a Virtual Esports Open is.
Esports: Elite Competition For a Select Few
Esports is not one video game, but more of a collection of games, sort of like track and field. In the broadest sense, professional esports is about the best players in the world competing for serious prize money. As reported in the Verge, the Dota 2 Prize pool in 2019 exceeded $30M. There seems to be a tug of war between Dota and Fortnite, Valve and Epic with the best players being the beneficiaries.
One thing about esports that is different from traditional sports is that most of these systems run on relegation systems — meaning that anyone can join the pool of players. You have to work your way up, but you can. There are no real scouts or gate keepers like there are in other sports. You want to play professional baseball? Someone has to give you a chance, if they don’t, you may not get to play. With esports, it is only results. If you play your way into the top tiers of play, you will get a shot to compete, and very likely picked up by a team. It’s no guarantee of success, but it is refreshing compared to how most sports pick and choose players (read the book Moneyball).
While this system is great, like so many professional competitive sports, it tends to overlook the majority of players. For example, in Major League Baseball, there are only 750 professional players playing at the top level — from around the world. There are about 3,300 minor league players. Then there are 30,000 college players. But when you get to the youth leagues, the number is in around 3 million. Esports is similar. There are way more people playing for fun than as a profession.
Virtual Esports Open Focuses On The Base
We created Esports Open to create an entertaining video game experience for the majority of people who play video games, not only the most elite competitors. A Virtual Esport Open is a private video game tournament run for a specific community. The purpose is to create engagement and connection. Perhaps to better understand this let me compare them to a typical tournament, and your usual video game stream.
Most private tournaments are impersonal affairs where entrants compete through computer-controlled brackets without ever really talking to each other. A VEO is organized and managed by a human Tournament Organizer. Players engage on a discord.
Between rounds in a typical tournament there is not much to do. Most streams are players streaming their own games, with little to no commentary. Bravous tournaments are streamed live to one of our channels and professional commentators make it entertaining for everyone to watch. Community engagement of the stream is encouraged (and moderated), and players can “hang out” on the stream together between rounds.
The vast majority of small community video game tournaments are standard bracket play. With a Bravous Virtual Esports open, our Tournament Organizers choose from a variety of bracket formats to maximize the number of games players get to play. They can choose swiss, double-elim, round robin with a championship and an amateur bracket and more. Their focus is to maximize the game play for the most number of players.
Most times community esports tournaments are amateur affairs. While they can use sophisticated tools, beyond reporting the winner and some attendance numbers it can be hard to get volunteer organizers to produce consistent data necessary to support program spends. Bravous provides a turnkey, customizable registration platform with notification system, FAQ’s, social media marketing assets, and at the end of every tournament a complete copy of all registration data, highlight clips from the tournament, and engagement reports.
Most video game club tournaments focus on a single game. That is why they are clubs. They are really into like, one game. With Bravous, we offer a RANGE of games, even games that are not typically considered esports such as Mario Kart, AmongUs, Animal Crossing, and yes even Chess (although now our team swears that is an esport!). The whole point is playing and sharing interests, and all of these can be streamed, either to a Bravous channel, or the customers platform of choice.
Hopefully this gives you some idea of the breadth, flexibility, and purpose of a Bravous Esports Open. Instead of focusing on finding the one single winner of one single title, they are designed to create maximum engagement for the greatest number of players. I should point out we do get winners! But sometimes (Mario Kart — cough cough) the game does not make that easy. But that’s okay, it’s all good fun. And that what Bravous Esports is really all about, having good fun with good friends.
- Lewis, M. (2004). Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (1st edition). W. W. Norton & Company.
- How many kids are playing baseball in the world?