Organizing an e-Sports tournament to promote a startup game developer

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Video gaming is not anymore just a hobby that some introverts play in their free time, last few years it has been considered as a hobby that can bring loads of profit and that’s why everyone is playing. Based on recent studies around 65% of adults casually play video games on daily basis including females too, showing that gaming is not so much only man-oriented anymore. Recent studies also show that nearly every gamer owns a Twitch account from which it shares to the world its gameplay and obtains profit at the same time.

Likewise, with these developments and an increase in interest in playing video games, e-Sports tournaments have shown up.

What’s e-Sports? There are many definitions but overall, it can be said that they are competitive gaming tournaments with hefty prizes and crazy audiences. Winning prizes vary, for example for Dota 2 the winners can take up to $40,000,000 home. You might think that these tournaments don’t have big audiences which is not true, as for the year 2021 there were around 474 million e-Sports viewers. Like so this can also mean an insane number of chances to promote a newly developed gaming company to help increase its brand awareness, which we will talk in the following. So why not organize a tournament of your own, it is totally legal, doable, and will for sure put your game on the “map”.
Here you can find the video I have prepared for this topic:

1. Find the right audience
To create an effective marketing strategy, you must be aware of the e-Sports industry. It is ridiculous to believe that all eSports supporters belong to the same group. Like conventional sports, eSports may be divided into a wide variety of genres. The kind of games that audiences enjoy can be used to classify them.
Some of them are:
• Player vs. Player (PvP)
• First-Person Shooter (FPS)
• Real-Time Strategy (RTS)
• Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA)
• Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG)
Finding your exact audience is key it makes all the difference, if your objectives and those of sponsors align, it may lead to a fruitful and prolonged partnership for all parties involved. But if you are the one organizing the tournament of course its easy for you to know this part as you already know which genre your game belongs to.

2. Find the right channels
Now hypothetically speaking you as a game developer have organized a tournament, now it’s necessary to find the right platforms to promote the tournament but also that will stream it live when it’s happening. Two most popular platforms for this job are Twitch and YouTube but of course if some other platform offers a sponsorship offer it is advisable to take it.

3. Influencer marketing
Like in any other industry this strategy will always turn out productive so it will work in e-Sports too. Imagine being able to take Shroud, Ninja, or TeenZ as actual players in the tournament or just taking part in streaming the tournament would be a success even before its launch. Those gamers if we figuratively speak in football terms are like having in one pitch the likes of Cristiano, Messi, Benzema, so if not for anything else attention is guaranteed. But what it matters then is how will you use this attention. Again, the idea its not to always bring the best and most known gamers take part in your organized tournament, never underestimate underdogs as they might make the tournament even more fun.

4. Sponsorships
When organizing a tournament equipment is the key to everything, every PC must be high end and compatible with whatever game you bring to it. Not only that but minor things like keyboard, mouse, headset, chair, and even the mousepad must be at a high standard. Moreover, the venue must be compatible with all the necessary equipment to be able to host a tournament, things such as normal distribution of electricity and fast internet support should not even be a question. That is why going through gaming stores and trying to buy everything mentioned above its just out of the question, plus it would turn out far more expensive. Likewise, it is mandatory to find a sponsor about each and every detail. For gaming equipment, it might be easier as one sponsor can provide all of the equipment required for a smooth gameplay.

5. Prize Pool
As mentioned earlier e-Sports tournaments prize money can be insanely huge, but of course as a small startup company adjustments can be made. There are many gaming tournaments that the prize pool ranges from $5,000 to $20,000 at this prize tag you are looking at a higher number of new gamers that might not be that famous but still will bring something to the table. But if you are thinking in recruiting some of the best gamers out there then you need to break the bank and be ready to spend more than $200,000 which again might turn up as a great investment for the future of the company.

6. Online or host it at a venue?
This is a very important question, as it completely shapes the structure of the tournament you are seeking to organize. What the answer differs from relies completely on the budget, and as expected a new gaming startup is quite low on it so for them it would be much better to just stick to Online tournaments. But let me point out that organizing an online tournament is not easier its just lest costly, as for the difficulty level its not that the two differ a lot. Lastly the main problem with online tournaments is cheating as its far easier for gamers on the other side of world to use cheats, that’s why a good anti-cheating engine must be developed if the online version is chosen. A great upside though is that renting a big venue won’t be needed so that cost can increase the prize pool and make the tournament more feasible for gamers to join.

Lastly it can be said that e-Sports has a lot to offer so if you are in any way involved in the gaming community it is a must for you to also be involved in these tournaments. Moreover, it is an innovative marketing strategy with significant potential for businesses of all sizes especially for small gaming developers to make them recognized. That’s why adapting some of the strategies mentioned above but also being creative and thinking out of the box could turn out highly beneficial for you.

References:
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About Author

My name is Erion Likaj and I am a student of Hochschule Luzern in the Online Business and Marketing department. I have been a gamer fanatic throughout my entire life so my goal is to help new startups in the gaming industry to raise awareness through advertising and to be able to exploit the market as much as possible.

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