Written by Volamel
Overwatch Contenders is an esports scene that is rife with talented players vying for a chance to play with an Overwatch League franchize, but that’s not all it includes. A growing group of amateur casters, hosts and analysts are all amassing under one roof to tell these stories. Broadcast.gg is that roof and at the head of the operation is Alex "MooshuBeef" Chan. Esports Heaven sat down with MooshuBeef at BlizzCon to discuss what comes next for the organization, the possibility for expansion, and more!
You are obviously the captain of the ship when it comes to Broadcast.gg. During the event, we got some news about some games that are being revitalized and the community in covering. First, we’ve got to ask the question: is there a plan for expansion of Broadcast.gg?
So, if there was a game here on the show floor that you’d like to enter next, what game would it be?
I secretly -- well, not very secretly... I very much love StarCraft and wished more people loved StarCraft still. It’s the same reason why I love StarCraft was that it’s a relatively simple game. It’s a lot of a game of Chess, just projected. So you’ve got to build your units and they’ve got very specific ways to use them. You execute and order to the unit or you hold them to have a defense, so you can see how that person is going to win and then you get to see how it plays out. It’s one of those games where the pace fits it very well. I think it’s one of the first reasons I got into StarCraft esports and was watching it so much. There is so much to learn and you can be so inventive in the game, which is great.
Branching off everything that I just said right now, you could apply to Warcraft 3. So, after seeing this “Warcraft: Reforged”, I didn’t really play it, but I’m curious to see how to community really gets behind it. I think StarCraft: Remastered was all for Korea. But who is WarCraft 3 Reforged for? What community is really going to get behind it? And this leads into where would we expand as BroadCast.gg as a community?
It’s a lot about where people are playing games. Everyone and anyone puts it into their Twitter bio, “I’m a shoutcaster”, right? But are you someone that’s helping bring a community together? Those communities that take on the game and support it, they are going to drive the traction, right? Because if they’re holding tournaments and they’re holding events, you’ll hopefully start to broadcast it; I guess that's where the answer would be.
We absolutely want to expand, Overwatch has been a really great case study for what we can do for broadcasting and serving the community. We’ve kind of fallen into a space where we can actually help a publisher create an ecosystem for their esport. Most are focused on tier one of their league, and rightfully so, but you need something to work towards. It’s great that we have minimum salaries and benefits, but how do we keep people invested in the game? And how do we keep it so that as the game changes, as people’s lives change, this can be something they stay devoted to? And that’s where I think we have a really great opportunity to expand on a space where we take players, sponsors, the teams and the viewers and bring them together. That’s our job as broadcasters.
For us, to figure out what is the next best game, it starts with the community. It starts with the people [who] watch. And it starts with if there is a plan for the tier one scene, where the publisher is going to put in effort and time into it. That’s the kind of title we’d be interested in investing time and energy into.
With this undertaking, trying to develop a platform for amateur broadcast talent, what was the unforeseen issue that rears its head the most? What was one problem you didn’t really see coming?
Setting up our teams for success was the most difficult part. I think that is and thinking back on the last year, I think I underestimated how much effort it takes to not only to do the broadcast itself but once I solved that but all the extra troubles that came with it. Like computers not being able to handle all of the tech stuff. It all ended up coming together, but the biggest challenge was: how do you put people together in a where to have them work together across different time zones and set them up for success? Trying to keep expectations the same and setting them up so while they might have done a little preparation beforehand, we allow them to look like they’ve been working together for years. That’s definitely been the hardest part.
When it comes to Broadcast.gg, where do you see it going? It’s becoming big enough that you can start to build some form of financial portfolio around it. So what is the ideal goal for the next five years? Where do you want this company to be?
I’ve said for a long time, I want ecosystems, for esports, at every level -- I don’t think I understood what that meant until very recently. So the latest issue of my mission statement is that you should not put the pressure on yourself to get huge viewership [numbers]. But what you should put pressure on is creating a broadcast that serves your community. The goal would be that if you were one out of one thousand broadcasters that had one hundred concurrent viewers, effectively, all together you are the size of Ninja. Right? And when you are the size of Ninja you can start to make Ninja level deals the significance of that is if you work out that deal and you distribute that money back out to your people, maybe you don’t get a lot of money -- maybe it’s $1,000 a month -- which is not sustainable for anyone. But the point is that you should be able to create an economy that serves your community. So maybe you take half of that and put it into the prize pool. And from that, you can have a $500 prize pool monthly. That is crazy! But it is within reach. It’s really within reach and that's what I hope to see in five years is that anyone can take a game they care about, regardless of what it is, and because of their community that can generate revenue you’re going to be able to create sustainable ecosystems.
And that is what I’m working toward. Give the people the power to be able to do that and take away the pressure to mega sellout. If it’s for your local town, then only your local town should have to care about that and it should still work. That’s what I really want. [To] build a tool to help support peoples communities and help them create stuff they want to see about what they care about.
Joseph “Volamel” Franco has followed esports since the MLGs of 2006. He started out primarily following Starcraft 2, Halo 3, and Super Smash Bros. Melee. He has transitioned from viewer to journalist and writes freelance primarily about Overwatch and League of Legends. If you would to follow his thoughts you can follow him at @Volamel.
Images courtesy of Blizzard Entertainment.