Eventually we need to have a way to generate more revenue than any of these create with the exception in PPV. A PPV event will generate a lot of revenue but will isolate a growing community.
So how do we target those that don’t consume in any way but know about esports? We inform, obviously. We need to have well constructed messaging to our fellow gamers that either do not understand competitive gaming or have never given it a fair shot. I think this is a future post.
I need to make this clear!
One of the biggest arguments against MLG’s pay-per-view experiment was that it would kill esports via paywall - without a free stream, the unfaithful heathens couldn’t taste the sweet sweet esports juice and become converts. As if there aren’t piles of free content everywhere that fill that purpose many times over.
I’m quite happy that the esports blogosphere is starting to grow. I just hope it doesn’t grow in the direction of mainstream pandering and marketing-speak.
The esports industry will not shrivel up and die if we don’t start making more useless overtures directed towards uninterested people. (See Zechs for more.) It will die quickly, skipping the shriveling bit and just head straight to dead, if market leaders continue to consistently outspend their already substantial revenues. (Substantial, at least, if we’re to take what’s been said by the MLG camp at face value.) It has very little to do with marketing in the traditional sense.
In other words, let’s get conservative with growth estimates, stop burning cash, give existing fans what they want (which is awesome streaming content), charge them for it, not spend past what that brings in, and let organic growth drive profits.
It’s a path that’s sustainable, but it’s slow, which is why we haven’t seen many organizations take it.
The concept of this ‘escalator’ is interesting, I think, as a means of organizing people into distinct categories regarding their attitude towards esports, as a sort of thought experiment, but its worth as a practical tool ends there. We just haven’t seen that pattern play out much in reality. Have a look at Gamespot’s coverage of MLG this weekend, in particular the opening salvo; it’s yet another plea towards the casuals to please see just how awesome everything is. It’s either met with derision or blind support.
Regarding esports today, you’re either in, or you’re out. Most of those in the ‘out’ camp have no interest in your pitch or have a very ingrown opinion against it. So what’s the point of pitching?
Fans need to start paying admission. Leagues need to start spending within the means that provides.
How does it grow? The only thing you can do is make being ‘in’ massively entertaining. If you’re trying to play to everybody, you play to nobody. Focus on your core. I think esports is more like a musical act in this regard, given it’s size today and position that relies heavily on the internet and social media. You have fans, satiate them and things will grow on their own. Focus on your ‘music,’ as it were, let your fans market you. Let them make the case that ‘in’ is where the party is.
You don’t need an escalator to do that.