Defining Your Esports Center Brand
Today we discuss our recent Asia trip, revue the Zehn Masters series, the ggLeap point of sale beta, and the upcoming Season 7. We also discuss what it means to define your esports center brand and how that can help clear any confusion about why your customers come to game at your location.
Creating Your Esports Center Brand
The topic we spend part of our show discussing is what does your esports center brand signify. Many times individuals get into the LAN center business to be able just to provide a public place for people to game together. We combat this with, is that enough any longer. With how esports is growing you can hang your hat on this note, however, do your players need more objectives, defined activities beyond gaming to continue to grow your business?
Partial Show Transcript
Zack Johnson: We’ll be opening up an eBash store in Toronto, Canada. We got the equipment for E-Blue ordered, and we’re starting to put together the marketing pieces and the designs. And it was brought up to us by another partner in another market, “What does your esports center brand bring with it? Like what does that mean? What does that really tell somebody?” Obviously, it has no value nationally like Subway, or McDonald’s, or Starbucks would have. However, it has to mean something so that immediately, you’re marketing and petitioning customers to come to your store to experience what?
And so always, we find this 99% of the time, people coming back to LAN centers are about social gaming. Like, it’s all about social gaming and things. And so I’m going to use Ignite up in Chicago as an example of somebody, I don’t know that they’ve clearly defined what this is for them, but I feel like they do a good job of it, is in their model, because they have their own little kitchen, and they have like a way of doing things in their store. But as you come in, you’re really greeted by somebody right away, and somebody stays with you through the process, and sits you down. There’s a lot of reviews you can go read about how the employees stay and help you.
If you’ve never played League of Legends, how do you make an account? How do you get connected with your friends? I’ll call it, for lack of better word, I don’t know if they have a name for it. But they have like a game master that serves them and their gaming needs while they’re playing, and then also serves them from their food and beverage needs while they’re playing. So they’re constantly connected to that customer, in that interaction, while they’re in their center. And so in the end, it’s not just that they’re there to social game. Five friends show up at Ignite, they check in at the front, they get seated together, there’s somebody always helping them getting matches. They can help them try new games, explain things to them.
They’re almost getting teaching or coaching through learning a new game. They’re getting the ability of, “Okay, what should be our objective?” “Okay, here’s what you should do first. You’ve never played League of Legends, let’s get three of you in a map against three bots. This is going to be three computer control people,” like guiding those people through an experience at their store that’s memorable, that they understand what they’re there for, and then they obviously want to come back and experience that again, where you’re not afraid to ask questions or be the newb when you show up and have never played a game before.
Some esports center brand, like ours, focus a lot on e-sports. We’re good at that, when there’s an e-sports event planned, but what about the six and a half other days of week that there’s not an e-sports even planned. When they show up on Tuesday, what is the objective? What is the players there for? What can you lead them through or guide them through in that experience? So we’ve started having discussions about gamifacation of a LAN center. How do we create objectives for the group that day to go after, or theme nights are easy ways to do things. Like it’s a League of Legends theme night.
Well, I mean, what does that mean? Just show up and play League of Legends? That’s not any cooler than playing at home. Well, here’s what you do. On League of Legends theme night, you’re going to play these games and try to earn these points, and you can redeem these points, or challenge another team using those points, whatever it is, whatever you can come up with. I think that’s what’s missing for us. And we’re working hard to define that in the next four to six weeks before our Toronto store opens.
And again, looking at our Peoria location in the theater, it’s the same thing. How do we instruct the theater staff on greeting customers and why is the player there? If you do birthday parties, boom, that’s one of the things you do. It’s very obvious what that event’s about. One kid’s birthday, invites their friends over. They’re using your facility to celebrate a birthday. That is one thing that you do that’s a very specific service that you offer, and that is why they showed up at your center. Why do the rest of the people show up?
Is it a place to go hang out that they can be away from home? They don’t have internet at home. Those are all great things, but I can tell you right now, every center, no matter what your theme is, can house those people that are just looking for somewhere to hang out and play. Like that cannot be your purpose or your mission statement for your business. You’ve talked a lot of them, J-Mac Mack, a ton of people as they start up. What are some of the things that you think like most people are just kind of going for? Like we want to be a place people can hang out in a social environment? I feel like that’s a lot of the theme, don’t you?
Jason McIntosh: Yeah. I don’t like to discourage people when they come to me in the business planning stage or whatever. But a lot of … I would say a good majority of the time it’s just, “I’m a life-long gamer. And this is what I want to have as a place for people to come and game together because I’ve had great memories of having a party, or having a get together, whatever, where everybody was gaming on their own machine and I want to make that a business.” And I don’t know if that’s a strong enough reason to start one up. I think with how e-sports is growing, I think that’s an easy thing to lean on now. “Oh, e-sports is popular enough that people are going to watch it on Twitch or on TV, and that’s going to want to motivate them to go publicly to a location and meet other people, or play competitively.”