Is achieving a repeatable success formula possible in eSports? This is a question that has been floating around in my mind for about 2 years now. Mainly the importance of having one. This has been for the most part one of the spring boards for starting the blog. Uncovering this question and it’s potential answer as attributed to most of my motivation. I personally think it is key to the future of eSports as a whole. Let me share my thoughts on the important question: Is achieving a repeatable success formula possible in eSports?
What Is a Repeatable Success Formula?
Just based on the words themselves, it’s pretty easy to deduce what it means. A formula of success in which we can repeat. So to really drive it home, lets look at some examples. Let’s use Basketball. I’m going to list off a few names and lets see if you know them.
Those names comprise a 40 year time span of generational talent. Names that will never be forgotten in the sport. As each player was reaching the end of their career, a new one was being thrust into the minds of fans as the next great. Here are a few of today’s names.
Before this turns into a basketball blog let me state my point. The point is that after every incredible irreplaceable talent, another one manages to appear. This is because the sport of basketball has a repeatable success formula. All across the country, even the world it is taught in incredibly similar ways. Although every coach or organization might be slightly different, the keys to creating the next best player start with the fundamentals, mixed in with motivation, and the intensity of drive the player exhibits. This is why all of these great players have come from different states and upbringings. It wouldn’t be possible if the game was being taught in wildly diverse manners.
Why Is a Repeatable Success Formula Important?
What makes sports like basketball so successful lies in it’s predictability. The revolving door of talent, storylines, hype, spectator to team buy in, and analysts/pundits is all part of the business model. It’s part of the reason you know the names I listed above, even if you don’t watch basketball. This wouldn’t be possible if you weren’t able to guarantee talent and you had long stints of below average basketball.
With that predictability comes investment assurance. Major companies like Nike can feel comfortable investing in the NBA and actually see profitable returns from their investments. No matter what year it is, there will always be a player or storyline to attach your brand to. Although eSports is getting closer to gaining bigger endorsements with companies like Geico joining in. These companies are merely names and product placements in eSports. They don’t spend a lot of their own money advertising eSports, because they won’t see profit coming from their customer base.
Having a repeatable success formula will entice more brands to endorse eSports and their teams. It would start to solve the viewership issue that eSports has. Namely the average dollar worth of an eSports viewer, and the casual to enthusiast ratio. One huge difference in eSports and traditional sports is the fact that the majority of eSports viewers are also players. This divides attention and creates a level of internal competition with star competitors. With everyone trying to make a name for themselves in the industry, there is a lot less fanfare than in traditional sports. However, if there can be a guaranteed storyline that draws the attention of everyone, and it has the financial support to generate the hype, that could change the tides.
Is It Possible to Have a Repeatable Success Formula in eSports?
I wish this was a simple and emphatic yes. However there are some pretty serious obstacles that stand in the way. Namely there is the issue of game updates and game changes. When we look at traditional sports, such as baseball, it never changes. Sure there are some technological advancements and subtle rule changes that have been made throughout the course of history. But the core game has stayed the same. Making adaptation and advancement relatively easy. In the world of eSports, you have a different game become a standard every few years. This makes it relatively difficult to create a one size fits all solution to becoming a professional eAthlete.
Another obstacle is the aspect of game design. Games are designed for profit, not necessarily for sport. Because of this developers typically don’t focus on making a 5 or 10 year product that can fulfill a long term eSport. Although we have some games that have stood that test such as Dota 2, LoL, or CS:GO. It can’t be said that they went into the development with that goal in mind. Luckily they capitalized on the opportunity when it arrived. Unfortunately developers tend to develop games that are easily accessible and can continue to increase their profits. Leading to high skill floors, and low skill ceilings. Although important for the overall eco system, it creates the obstacle of evolving titles.
Moreover when a game is developed for sport, it typically can’t retain the active player base. This due to lesser skilled players dropping out and a lack of instant gratification. This is by no means the industries fault, and it makes sense that games are developed with an accessible mindset. These obstacles make it difficult to fully establish a repeatable success formula, or at least an effective collective.
It Can Happen
With everything that has been said in this post, I do believe that a repeatable success formula is possible. That’s why I tend to focus on universal concepts such as: Goal Setting, Benchmarking, Video Review, etc. These concepts are at the core of every single game in eSports and if utilized correctly could pave the way for more success across the board. As of right now there isn’t a ton of openness to this methodology. Mainly because there hasn’t been a pure demonstration of it’s effectiveness besides a few. Hopefully as more players emerge and improve, they will start to speak on these concepts more and more. Until then I will continue to coach, and drive the message forward.