A Live Streaming Future for Gaming? – Feat. Gootecks

BY Andrew Miesner / July 17, 2011

A Live Streaming Future for Gaming?

by Adnan “Darthozzan” Dervisevic

Any opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of compLexity Gaming or its parent company.

EVO 2011

Fighting games are one of the oldest game genres around, starting as early as 1976. There have been a plethora of them throughout the ages; The inherent competitiveness born from them has also always been there. From the arcades to the homes of today, fighting games have always been about being the best. But now, the stage is the largest it’s ever been before. EVO this year is poised to be the biggest yet, with the attendance’s already having shattered records for most competitors last year and expecting an even larger turnout this year.

There have been a lot of events that have shown us what is possible for eSports in terms of numbers of viewers. With recent StarCraft 2 events we’ve not only seen huge online numbers but also humongous live interest, having several thousand spectators for the finals. In the wake of these StarCraft 2 events, that have really taken off and garnered massive attention, I am left wondering what kind of numbers we will see from fighting games.

The fighting game community has gone through a resurgence with the release of the two new major titles currently played, Marvel vs Capcom 3 and Super Street Fighter 4: Arcade Edition, the interest is at an all-time high. Unfortunately there aren’t that many huge tournaments for fighting games. There are lots of tournaments around, but not many on the scale of the NASL/GSL/MLG/DreamHack. The only one that comes to mind is EVO, which is once per year.

What interested me the most about EVO this year is their announcement that they will be running multiple streams with differences between each. Different commentators, and even a different atmospheres amongst the streams. In the fighting game community there is much more of an emphasis on the players, and their personalities, than ever before. These days it’s not enough for an event to just showcase good games, you need to let the viewers know why they care about the game they’re watching. You need to make a storyline that they can follow, and you need casters that can explain the game and the skills involved. A large prize pool helps with this to some extent. I have to wonder if the future of fighting games streams is not only offering a great game stream, but offering the viewers a unique viewing experience.

A trend that has been observed in SC2 primarily and that might start carrying over to the FGC soon is player streams. In StarCraft 2 we have personalities like Destiny, who aren’t playing at the highest echelon, still able to be popular and supplement their income. With justin.tv just launching their new service twitch.tv, that will aim to promote eSports, the market is just right for a fledgling superstar to emerge. We have seen superstarts like Gootecks and Mike Ross (who have recently formed compLexity.CrossCounter) rise to fame and prominence with their YouTube casts, where they show their personality in addition to fantastic gameplay. Marn, formerly of Team EG, has recently started streaming his exploits in SSF4: AE on PC, and he streams very regularly. With a microphone and a webcam, Marn brings a lot of personality to his stream and tries to showcase why you should be following him every time he goes online.

I think for the FGC to truly take the leap to the next level that we need to see more of this type of self-promotion. Gootecks and Mike Ross started it all off with CrossCounter. Now, as teams rise to prominence, with coL.CC and EG acquiring new players, we need to see more being done to really showcase to the community why they should care about fighting games.

But I wanted to get the opinions of someone who really knows what he’s talking about. I reached out to coL.CC’s own media manager Gootecks to ask him a few questions about what he thinks the future holds.


Adnan: Hello Gootecks, thanks for doing this interview with me. Welcome to your first compLexity interview! Now, as a member of compLexity Gaming, and as the media manager, what is your goal from a media standpoint with team affiliation?

Ryan: Hehe, thanks. The goal is to establish compLexity CrossCounter as the most interesting team to watch. We’ve been doing what we do on our own channel, CrossCounter, for a long time now. Me  and Mike have both been very active and producing videos, so joining up with compLexity helps us do more of what we want to be doing.

Adnan: Is that also something you look for in new players? That they’re not only great players, but also interesting personalities?

Ryan: Oh yeah, for sure. Definitely, I mean… That’s something that Mike and I have been of the same opinion about forever. It’s not as simple — At least in Street Fighter — as just winning. I mean, there are a lot of guys out there who win. To me, if you don’t have personality; you can only go so far. The way I see it, the fighting game community is most similar to Pro Wrestling. When you watch wrestling, you of course like the matches and the wrestlers are fantastic talented athletes. But it’s also about the story. It’s all about who beat who and how. Coming from an outsider’s perspective, if you are just watching the characters on the screen and you don’t know anything about the players, you won’t be as attached to the outcome.

Ryan: When we were in Orlando for CEO last month, aside from maybe grand finals, I don’t think that anyone there got the crowd response that me and Mike got when we were playing on stage. I’m not only focused on tournament results compared to back in the day when I only focused on that so I’m not gonna win every time. I’m not the best player. But people will still cheer for me, I get a good crowd reaction because people watch our show all the time. They watch CrossCounter, Excellent Adventures. Because they watch those shows, we have a connection. And I think that’s really valuable, because there’s a lot of players out there that don’t have that.

Adnan: If we look at some of the popular video’s online, like Tokido’s Raging Demon moment, I think that one can definately argue that some players become superstars for outside-the-game moments.

Ryan: Yeah, he was already a big name but that definitely put him on the map.

Adnan: Very pro wrestling-esque move.

Yes! Yes, definitely and it worked out well. I think that’s after that he got his traveling circus deal. I’m not sure, but if it worked out well for him, that’s just awesome.

Adnan: You and Mike “The Boss” Ross obviously started something amazing and fresh with CrossCounter. Do you think that more people should follow suit and showcase their personality more with their skills?

Ryan: Yeah, definitely. What we do is not…. I’m not going to say that we invented it, but we just kind of took what I think is a pretty obvious step and applied it to fighting games. It’s not like we have a monopoly, I would really like to see other people doing it. Especially because I think a lot of people assume that it’s easier to do than it really is. Especially at the beginning, in the beginning when you’re producing content. Unless you already have an established name, no one is going to watch it. I like to see when other people do it, because when I look at the Call of Duty YouTube community – All that stuff stems from Machinima and the work they’ve done. What they do in Call of Duty is what the FGC is starting to do. What we’ve shown is that it can be done, we’ve shown that it is possibly to do it successfully. Now there’s other people producing content, for example Maxmillian who does the Online Warrior series; That’s really popular. It seems to me that anyone out there right now who’s producing half-decent content right now can get recognition, it’s easy in fighting games because there’s not a lot of content out there at the moment. Once it starts to pick up, I guess the field will expand and it’ll be harder to get noticed if you’re producing stuff.

Adnan: In other games like SC2 we’ve seen a large rise of personal streams. Twitch.tv just launched to feature/promote exclusively gaming streams. Is this the next frontier for fighting games as well?

Ryan: Definately. We are moving into streaming, we’re just getting our hardware situation situated. It’s funny, cause now that SSF4: AE is out on PC, I think we’ll see a lot more streaming and commentaries just cause it’s there. It’s built into their computer, and it’s easy and accessible. But yeah, I think we’re gonna be moving into livestreaming.

Adnan: We’ve recently seen Marn move into livestreaming. I can’t help but feel that he’s doing what you guys are doing so well; A mic, a webcam and really putting himself out there.

Ryan: Yeah, that’s the smart thing to do. Marn’s a friend of ours, so it’s good that he’s doing that. I’m gonna start doing it too, I think a lot of people are gonna start doing it. I think it’s just a question of who is going to be able to get the most numbers and how big is it really going to get. I think it can easily grow as large as StarCraft did. I mean, I guess. Why not?

Adnan: In StarCraft 2 we have very popular streaming personalities like Destiny. He starts his stream and immediately he hits 5000 people.

Ryan: I think that we could be doing the same thing!

Adnan: Do you think there’s room for a personality like Destiny in fighting games? He didn’t necessarily have the greatest skills, but a huge personality.

Ryan: I think that as long as you’re better than a majority of your audience, you’re fine. Or is he like really bad?

Adnan: No, he’s grand masters level. It’s just that he hasn’t won the major tournaments so he gets a lot of hate.

Ryan: Doing big things, people are always going to talk shit about you. You could be the best player on earth, and people would still say “he’s only the best because so and so doesn’t have time”. Just because you have haters doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. As an outsider to StarCraft, when I was trying to play StarCraft and learn, I couldn’t get past silver league. So when I watch StarCraft, anyone I watch is way, way better than me! So if they’re remotely interesting, and I think it’s interesting and follow along, I don’t care about his real skill level. Best or someone in the top ten percent doesn’t matter to me.

Because I’m not super die-hard about the game, as long as he’s funny and engaging, that’s all I need. I would imagine that most of the audience for games is like that. They follow along, and enjoy the game but it’s not their life. If it was their life, they would be the ones streaming.

Adnan: You recently made me jealous as hell with your Singapore video. Thank you. Beautiful sights, amazing arcades and fantastic players. We’ve recently seen some great players from Korea, but do you think Singapore might be the next stop for top tier players?

Ryan: Yeah, I’m hoping so. It’s my first time there, but I made some really big connects. I got to hang out a lot in their community, and what’s really interesting to me is I thing Singapore could be the next Japan. I mean this in the sense that they have all of the same elements that Japan has that makes them good. They have a physically strong area, they have a very strong arcade scene and they have a lot of good players.

What sets them apart from Japan and what I think gives them more potential is that fact that everyone over there speaks English, which is obviously an advantage over the Japanese because of the language barrier. That was what I told them, but what I got was that a lot of Singaporeans don’t play tournaments. Basically what it stems down to is that they don’t want to spend money to go to a tournament unless they think they can win. I’m trying my best to build up a scene over there, for… Well, I guess for my own selfish purposes, I want a reason to go back there! *laughs*

We just started the CrossCounter Asian department, and two of our friends in Singapore are going to be doing a weekly CrossCounter show, called CrossCounter.Asia so I’m really looking forward to that.

Adnan: You and Mike have made a brand of yourselves not only by showing us great game skills and fun personalities. And also teaching us stuff! In your opinion, should it be up to players to promote themselves? Or should people join teams and get noticed that way? Or should teams even push the players with contractual obligations?

Ryan: A difficult question to answer, it’s different for every situation. For me and Mike, I don’t think anyone knows how to push better than we push ourselves. To be honest, when we joined compLexity, we don’t look to them to help us get the word out about what we’re doing it. That’s not the way we look on it. For instance, the compLexity YouTube channel has, what, 6000 subscribers but our channel has 28,000. So who’s looking to who for exposure?

Adnan: But for the less established players, who aren’t known on YouTube?

Ryan: For somebody who is really, really good at the game but doesn’t have personality or resources to provide media and stuff; In that case a team can definately help a lot of the stuff that can benefit you but you couldn’t necessarily do yourselves. For example, having someone on the team, such as yourself, to do interviews with the players who aren’t producing their own media. But it’s different because right now there aren’t any teams that have really strong roots in the FGC, aside from compLexity.

Adnan: Thank you for your time and thoughts, Gootecks.


Check out compLexity.CrossCounter on YouTube and follow gootecks on Twitter.