In February we saw an end of the Dota 2 tournament trilogy called Dota 2 Tug of War: Mad Moon from Ukrainian esportainment company - WePlay! Esports. Our team has visited this event and we made some type of overview with our statistics and an interview with Business Developer Valentin Shevchenko from WePlay! Esports.
We also had a conversation with the manager of Team Secret Matthew "Cyborgmatt" Bailey about the event and the idea of streaming in general.
What is your impression about the event?
It’s been a very calm event so far, very straightforward. I think, WePlay does a really good job in terms of the production and how the stage looks and how they take out the talent. I think they have a little bit of work to do with how they handle the teams and other sorts of things.
They’re constantly improving and growing, so it’s been very well.
How do you feel about the creation of concepts for tournaments with its own lore?
I think they have done a really good job with the cyberpunk theme. That’s why it is easy to tell what the tournament is. The entrance with the Cybertruck was amazing and, if you look at the stage and what they’re doing with the AR tech, you can see that they done a really nice job of integrating everything into one kind of theme and style.
I think, it shows very well on stream and the viewers really respect and appreciate when they can watch this type of product and they can see a very high-quality production.
Even if you walk around the venue, not only the stage looks very nice, but the autograph wall and meet-and-greets, everything has the same theme. It’s very nice and very pleasant to see one big overall package.
We want to ask you about your organization and your players. Do you think it’s important that your players should stream and create their own media atmosphere among them?
When it comes to streaming and professional players - it’s very dependent on a game, This thing is really game-by-game basis. So, if you take, for instance, our Rainbow Six Siege team, they stream a lot during their downtime, but the Dota 2 team doesn’t have that much downtime.
We are all in DPC-qualifiers, majors and stuff and also non DPC-events, so that schedule is very busy. But they’re still streaming at their own time if they want, it’s very dependent on a game.
From a personal point of view, we encourage players to stream because it helps them to build their brand. The more they become recognised and stuff, it helps them to have the most successful career.
Do you plan to create some influencers in your organization like FaZe Clan?
Yeah, I think in a long-term, it’s also depends on the game. I think, if you look into some games like Fortnite, right now there is a blurred line between professional players and influencers. I would say, a lot of the tournaments they do, they gain around the influencers because the influencers help them to generate a lot of the viewership for their events. So, I feel like it’s a very game-by-game dependent.
A good example is, if you look at what OG did with Gorgc, they signed him as their streamer and he is very good for that brand, he fits in very well, he is very funny streamer, he gets on very well with OG players, so these are kinda connections that, I think, esports always wanted to make and have in a long period of time.
What about the streams? Do you make some sort of analysis of viewers after them?
Yeah, we look at every tournament, on a game-by-game basis. It’s very important to us to see if we are making the right decisions.
There’s a lot of games that come out in a battle royale genre, so we need those kinda numbers to choose the game that we need to focus on and these numbers show us if our choice of games is right at the moment. I think, data results are always important because they help you to make the right decision.
And what about the analysis of the fan-base basing on social media?
Yeah, when it comes to our fan-base, we have such a global presence. I think it’s helped by such games as Dota 2, where you have huge fan-bases in the South-East Asia, China, Europe, America. So, with the help of analysis, we can see the demographics in certain regions and that they are really perceptive to certain games.
You know, we have a whole separate South-East Asian division, which basically looks after the mobile games, because, if you look at mobile games in South-East Asia it’s like a very hotspot.
In the Western scene the mobile games are not as popular, but if you’re look on the regions like a Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, this mobile games are growing at such a substantial rate. It just makes sense to have a subdivision in that region looking after mobile games, because they’re very popular and it just helps our global fan-base to grow even more, so that’s very helpful.
What is your point of view about the future of esports?
I mean, I feel like the growth of esports is exalarating very fast now. Over the last decade a lot of lessons have been learned by tournaments, by players, by esports hosts. For this decade, there is more of a professional approach. Teams are doing what the viewers are expecting, players getting paid, they have their contracts, legal representation.
It makes sure that now things are just more cleaner and professional. I think, that kinda direction only helps esports to grow more and become more healthy in a long one and, I think, it’s not just team Secret, but all esports community is trying to push for right now. We have to work on it and go across-the-boards. I think, the potential of esports is so massive, so we are only just getting there at the moment.
Why Dota 2 is losing views and its number of online gamers, for instance, comparing to CS:GO?
When you are comparing such games like CS:GO and Dota 2, these are such different games. Firstly, It’s easy to jump into Counter-Strike as a new player and to learn that game while such game as Dota 2 is so complex, that it’s really hard for new players to actually learn how to become powerful in that game and have a positive experience. If the new players are going to Dota 2 and have a bad experience they’re gonna flame, have bad games and obviously they’re gonna quit the game.
Eventually, if you have no new players coming in, older players are growing up and leaving for life, getting married or getting a job or having kids.
So, there always gonna be a decline in a online, but you gotta remember that this game is in a hands of Valve and they are not just let this game die, so, they definitely have their plans to fix this and improve the gaming experience and, I hope, they can help it.
You know, we still have a lot of players, especially in China and elsewhere in the world. We’ll see what Valve does with their future patches and stuff.
Thanks again to Matthew for expressing his point of view in our conversation, it was a pleasure to get to know with him. Even though Team Secret took the second place on the tournament, but at the same time they are the most popular team on WePlay! Dota 2 Tug of War: Mad Moon by number of Average Viewers.
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