Game Over

Writing and I have a love/hate relationship.  I love having an avenue to record my thoughts. I hate that I can be so unfocused and wordy in my delivery. Wordy Wardy. Hmm, rolls off the tongue.

The beginning of this journey was the most fun. I enjoyed my time experimenting with my interactive voice significantly more than attempting to develop it once a direction was settled on. I wanted Wardy to be clever, to be knowledgeable, and to provide a fun atmosphere. In the back of my mind, I never wanted Wardy to be restricted to a specific topic. Once the persona became shackled, I started to lose interest, not in the topic, but in writing about it week after week. “How the hell am I going to write about THIS again?” Perhaps my focus after the “rebrand” was too narrow.

The narrow topic is no one’s fault but my own. I found it interesting and I enjoyed making many of the arguments I wrote about. It was a down turn in my enthusiasm for the assignments that was responsible for the bittersweet taste in my mouth. I enjoyed this class, but it has been a truly busy summer. I enjoyed being creative and writing about video games, but I am just tired of writing right now. I even enjoyed the rebrand as Wardy’s Gaming Lab, but by the time we reached the social media campaign assignment, my tanks were empty.

Moving beyond the course, I will not be taking Wardy with me. He served his purpose and gave me a channel to become comfortable with publishing my thoughts. Maybe a new persona is in the future? If so, I would like to bring the fun and cleverness Wardy showed during the first few weeks. No new persona may be in my future, leaving me to publish under my own name. Yet, I doubt writing/blogging will be the medium I dedicated myself too. Video is 100% percent the focus moving forward, and any writing will be applied there.

My perspective on writing definitely changed. Word choice, voice, tone, sentence length. All of them hold more weight now. I can feel myself actively running my words through my head. My paragraphs feel more crafted and just thrown together. Transitions are smoother and less forced. Growing as a writer is a process, and believe me, that will not stop.

My favorite pieces of writing from this class almost exclusively are the product of the task, “write an additional post to further develop your voice”. There was freedom to pick the topics and I believe that is where I took more risks. My voice lived outside the confines of an assignment, occasionally bleeding through if the situation allowed it.

I liked Wardy. For the time being, it was a good disguise to use to dip my feet in the water. I will take the lessons that come from the process and do my best to apply them elsewhere. Understanding that all writing can be a working draft is super important to me. Focusing on the argument as opposed to the fluff will be crucial to my future successes. Now, this chapter is done. Wardy’s chapter is done. It’s game over for his voice as I work to develop my own.

Thanks, It’s been fun!

Wardy

Wardy’s Online Game Plan

The social media campaign strategy that would suit me the best is defined by a video-first attitude. Video is the king when it comes to anything media. People love to watch stuff. The Wardy’s Gaming Lab social media campaign, scratch that, the whole online presence, starts with video.

YouTube is the winner winner chicken dinner. That is the site that will dominate the online focus. Videos will be filmed about games, news, updates, vlogs, all in a sense of pushing video games & e-sports as a positive learning environment. Using game capture software, the videos would typically feature narration with the addition of gameplay footage sprinkled over the top. All videos would live on YouTube and would be embedded in articles and a website from there. YouTube is home to many video gaming channels, so the community is already accustomed to looking at the site for content in this beat.

Twitch is another social media platform synonymous with the video game community. My strategy would involve regularly scheduled live streams to interact with the community and highlight games I feel have a purpose in the classroom. The real time interaction with members of the community would priceless. These twitch streams would then make their way onto YouTube.

Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook do have a role to play. Twitter and Facebook would almost exclusively be used to share blog posts and YouTube videos. Instagram is unique since it focuses on photography. I would take advantage of the Boomerang and Instagram story for added supplemental video content. That Instagram account would link to all of the other accounts as well.

The strategy is all about content and entertainment. The pillar of video games is entertainment, a fun and positive environment is what I hope for. I want to strive for an online presence where the audience understands that I am not afraid to interact with them. Video will be the main objective but good times will be the overall goal.

Quips and Clips: Social Media in 2017

The Eggos & Stranger Things social media campaign may seem a little out of place for a blog about video games. “Stranger Things” is a digital video series originating on Netflix. Eggos are a frozen waffle product produced by Kellogg’s. Neither explicitly relate to video games outside of “Stranger Things” having a home online. However, the social media campaign’s structure is very interesting for someone who hopes to one day have video games accepted as legitimate classroom materials.

Noticeability is what I’m speaking off. Kellogg’s paid Netflix well to place their Eggos product throughout the first season of “Stranger Things”. The show became widely popular. With that popularity, Eggos gained more attention, since one of the main characters was consistently eating them over the course of the season. So, what does this have to do with video games and classrooms? “Stranger Things” is on track to have a second season and Kellogg’s is taking advantage of the built up hype. They are utilizing their social media platforms, tweeting out eye catching messages, clips, and “Stranger Things”/Eggos mashup images, and thus, advertising the show and their product. These images are unique and they stand out. I think video games in the classroom can do the same.

What the social media campaign also does is that it highlights an element of fun. Kellogg’s writes tweets with upside-down text. Their images have bright colors and feature buttered waffles flying through space. Their tone of voice on social media is that of one who is committed to having fun. Companies gain attention when they interact with fans on social media, especially Twitter, where communication can happen rapidly. Wendy’s, Oreo, and Taco Bell are known for their quips on Twitter.  For how different the idea of video games in the classroom is, showing the fun nature coupled with a positive learning environment would work well. Seeing students work together in class on popular games adds noticeability. That small form of interactivity may not seem like much, but nowadays, it surely doesn’t go unnoticed.

Social media campaigns in 2017 do not need to be more than some quick interactions between companies and their customers. Talk in an interactive voice, share some jokes, and be memorable. It is changing the way that we consume advertisements and changing the way companies choose to put themselves out there. In a world full of memes and “cash me ousside”, being memorable is sometimes all it takes.

Sticking to the Common Core

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That is the message coming from the 2017 Pokémon Video Game Championships (VGC). Many of the competitors are fielding teams featuring stunning similarities. These “common cores” are quickly solidifying themselves as the definitive meta game for this edition of the VGC.

Of course, with any competition, there will be strategies implemented that catch wind through the populace. These team builds have shown a proven track record through multiple tournaments, causing many gamers to quickly adjust their Pokémon teams before the next major event. If a core of Pokémon is seen in multiple top cut teams, that will draw attention. Other Pokémon are just accepted as the best available in the competition scene. Individuals like Arcanine, Garchomp, and Tapu Koko simply out class others of the same type or who would do the same job in the current pool available. The Pokémon’s stats speak for themselves. Yet, such commonalities in team construction are not always a bad thing.

The reason these teams are so popular is due to their recorded effectiveness. If something worked for you, why wouldn’t it work for me? The other interesting result is that some players choose to build teams to counter these common cores. Since they are so common, if they find a unique formula that works, then odds are they have a response for a majority of the competition field. All of a sudden, the game gains an added level of mentality. The presence of common cores truly emphasizes the learning curve with Pokémon. Are you a trainer who chooses to go with what is common or go with something a bit riskier?

At its foundation, Pokémon is a glorified version of rock-paper-scissors. That game gets a facelift as thousands of players comb through strategies in order to move what is a fundamentally simple game into their favor. Thus it should be no surprise that an effective winning team build will attract gamers in flocks. So if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Roll it, Track it, Take it, Play it

[A1][Tease]

{***Anchor 1 on cam***}

Many events took place over the weekend in the world of E-Sports setting the table for what looks to be an exciting week to come.

{***Anchor 2 on cam***}

It was a week where Overwatch League news captured mainstream attention. However, there are plenty of results to cover and matchups to look forward to.

{***Anchor 1 on cam***}

Here is your rundown.

 

[A2][DreamHack Atlanta]

{***Anchor 1 on cam***}

The DreamHack Atlanta 2017 Counter-Strike: Go tournament wrapped up this weekend.

{***Take VO – DreamHack***}

It featured a playoff final that saw EnYvUs defeat Heroic two games to one. EnVyUs had previously lost to Heroic during group play yet the team rode a wave of momentum to capture the tournament crown. The eventual champions defeated Renegades in the first round of the playoffs. EnVyUs will receive $50,000 of the $100,000 prize pool.

 

[A3][ProDota Cup Americas]

{***Anchor 2 on cam***}

This past weekend saw three of the four Quarter Finals matches in the ProDota Cup Americas #10 tournament.

{***Take VO – ProDota Cup***}

Unknown, Thunder Awaken, and SG e-sports, all advanced to the Upper Bracket Semi Finals. Those matchups will take place on Tuesday, July 25. SG e-sports is awaiting the winner of the Quarter Final game between Big Fan and Wheel Whreck While Whistling. That matchup will also take place on the 25th.

 

[A4][NA LCS Week 8]

{***Anchor 1 on cam***}

The North American League of Legends Championship Series begins week eight action on Friday, July 28.

{***Take VO – NA LCS***}

The first matchup features two of the bottom teams in the league Phoenix1 and Echo Fox. The nightcap for Day 1 features the current regular season leaders Immortals. They look to separate themselves from the rest of the pack as they battle Team Liquid. There are many bottlenecked teams sitting at 4th and 7th in the standings making this week’s matches even more crucial.

 

In other news…

The Gamer’s Speech

We are currently witnessing a shift in media consuming culture. People are cutting the cord. Traditional cable television is in a war for survival against online video & streaming services. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Roku, YouTube, Twitch. These are the names of the next generation of media giants. The futures of all industries that broadcast content will be decided by where the younger audiences choose to watch their programming.

The sports industry is not immune to this shift either. Numbers and ratings are on the decline for sports week to week. Larger events may be the only ones spared from this trend, The Super Bowl being the major example. Baseball viewership is down, football viewership down, impacted by factors like length of play and volume of commercial breaks. The increase in popularity of other types of sports has also contributed to slipping numbers.

Esports have a chance to solidify themselves as the sport of this generation. They combine interactivity, teamwork, trending games, and hold championship tournaments that draw millions of viewers online via Twitch and other platforms. They also connect to the younger audience, since this audience has just grown up and is still growing up with these games. Esports has even entered the collegiate competition scene. Collegiate esports have roots in Europe and a variety of associations organize competitions in North America, like the AVGL, National Collegiate eSports Association, and Collegiate Starleague. Some schools, like Kansas Wesleyan University, have even established varsity esports programs. The door is open for the NCAA to establish itself as the Collegiate esports king.

The NCAA is the king when it comes to college sports. NCAA March Madness and College Football is some of the most watched cable television programming. Why not add esports to that lineup? A handful of varsity teams already exist. They can serve as models for other institutions interested in esports. Esports is also a sound financial investment. The professional Season 3 World Championship Grand Final for League of Legends drew 370 million total hours of live coverage, according to ESPN. The Championship saw a growth in viewership from 36 million to 43 million unique viewers. There is an audience for esports, and people are taking notice. Famous stars like Ashton Kutcher and Rick Fox own stakes in professional esports teams. New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is the most recent high profile traditional sports businessman to invest in esports, identifying the trend in the millennial audience.

Back with the NCAA, an esports team would provide less of a financial burden on the school than larger sports like football, basketball, and hockey. College football programs are notorious for operating at a financial loss outside of a few universities. Some computers, apparel, and travel would comprise most of the budget for esports student athletes. It has a large and growing audience and a relatively small overhead. Finding the money to hold the tournaments should be no issue either. NCAA tournaments can be funded through major broadcast deals. For the first time, we could see a major bidding war take place between traditional cable television and newer online video streaming companies for the rights to broadcast the NCAA Esports Seasons & Esports Championships Tournaments.

The foundation of competitive video gaming mirrors principles important to the NCAA. In order for teams to be successful, they rely on unwavering teamwork, fair play, practice, dedication, and study. In the same manner a quarterback studies film of the opponent’s defense, esports teams dissect the tendencies of their future adversaries. Esports fits the mold of what a university would want from their student athletes.

The Pokémon Video Game Championships, League of Legends, Overwatch, Dota 2, Counter-Strike, Call of Duty. All are staples on the esports scene. The NCAA has the potential to become the cornerstone of the American collegiate esports scene. The audience is there, the financials are there. So NCAA, what is your play?

Get on the Boat or Get Left Behind

Collegiate esports competitions have already seen some establishment. The European collegiate esports scene is organized by the University Esports Masters league. Now more than ever, the NCAA should begin to organize Division I esports. Since 2015, a handful of colleges in the United States had already created varsity esports teams. Club esports teams are also popular in the U.S. and could make the jump up to the varsity level, adding to the pool of available competitors. These established teams can serve as models for other schools interested in participating. If the NCAA accepts the currently established teams, then an organized NCAA esports league could be no more than two years away. Financially, collegiate esports makes perfect sense. An esports team’s budget would simply require funding enough for the consoles, wifi, apparel, and travel. The players would be considered student athletes and thus would be managed the same as any other individual in that classification. Esports teams for popular games like League of Legends consist of 5 players and a coach with a potential for a couple alternates. A Division I esports team could consist of a relatively small amount of individuals when compared to other sports. In turn, they would not impose as large of a financial burden as football, hockey, and basketball. In addition, the audience market is shifting digitally. Traditional sports audiences are “cutting the cord” and the audience numbers for esports are on the rise. If the NCAA can organize esports to the same level of detail they organize football, that provides an opportunity for success. It opens revenue streams that would help fund other NCAA sports/events. Bidding wars can be held between both traditional cable companies (i.e. ESPN, FOX, CBS) and new age online video companies (i.e. YouTube, Twitch) for the rights to broadcast the NCAA Esports Championships. Esports also maintain the pinnacles of NCAA competition through an emphasis on dedication, teamwork, fair play, study, and practice. Large scale collegiate esports in America is on the horizon. Now is the opportune moment for the NCAA to solidify itself as the Collegiate esports monarch.