(A quick hat tip to @_Esca__ is in order.)
MLG’s Sundance gave me a good hip check after, I’ll admit, indulging in some hyperbole in my recent ESFI column.
Instead of telling me to cram it, he offered to explain where I’ve missed the mark. I’m happy to oblige, because I’d be a goddamn hypocrite otherwise, and I’m always up for a good chat, particularly on the subject of gaming.
See, I’m genuinely confused why MLG is still bringing in VC, so I hope we can at the very least get that cleared up. I also have some reservations about how the whole thing is structured, and how their approach to team sport is a pretty big divergence from other major team sports. I’d like to know what that means for their future trajectory, and whether he feels it’s current model can scale more or less infinitely, or if at some point they’re planning to transition into a more traditional American sports model. And I’m really burning to know the strategy on in-person spectatorship.
A thread started up on the MLG forums about the post. Some of the responses have valid points, and others venture into a realm of hyperbole that surpasses anything I’ve written on the subject to date. The very meaning of what it is to liquidate something (a conversion from an illiquid state, such as a stake in a company, to a liquid state, such as cash?) was called into question, which was particularly mindblowing. There was even further disregard of the semantics used; I was very careful to stay away from blunt declarative statements beyond all hope of verification, such as ‘MLG is [insert horribly bad thing here!],’ instead opting for qualifiers like ‘seems,’ ‘might,’ and ‘also could.’ Could I have tiptoed around the subject a bit more? Sure, and turn the piece into spineless goop.
I could continue further and write a blow by blow rebuttal, but it seems pointless when the prevailing thought seems to be that I’m just some jealous PC kiddie, and some even figure that MLG can carry on regardless if they break even or not.
It seems at least a few got my core thesis, which was attempting to describe the nature of venture capital, what multiple trips back to the trough could be saying about the underlying business, and why subsequent rounds aren’t simply all brilliantly rosy developments by default. The fact in and of itself that Sundance is willing to discuss it is promising.
The consolers that have never experienced what effect a major tournament organization has on a scene, and all the mini-businesses attached to it, when it just happens to implode after years of what looked like steady growth, will please excuse my cynicism. We’ve seen million dollar tournaments that looked quite healthy on the surface unravel in a months time. It’s foolish to think it can’t happen again.
I implore them to understand that I don’t participate in petty factional bullshit for its own sake. I honestly don’t have the time or energy for it, and if that’s what I wanted to do, I’d be trolling your forums directly. Gaming is gaming. My only goal in writing here and elsewhere is to encourage people to think critically about endeavors that a growing number of people are hoping to build sustainable incomes around; I’m one of those people that wants to see it happen, even if I don’t really expect or want to be a large benefactor of it. I suppose I’d like to know where it all ends up, if my efforts around these parts were justified, or if I was just as insane as everyone about this esports stuff. What I do know is that new sports aren’t built on pixie dust and happy thoughts. It’s only through a logical discourse based in fucking reality will we be able to make good on that thought.
My twitter and email are in the right rail. Those of like mind, dissenters, and even the haters are welcome to chat me up. Like I said earlier, proving I’m right isn’t the goal, but discussion is. Will keep you all posted about the #SundanceSummit and will post the conversation in some form if he obliges.