We asked Which-50’s gaming writer Jack Birmingham to launch an esports organisation and bring an international tournament to Australian, then write about it – pretty simple assignment for a journalism cadet I’m sure you will agree. Each day we will update readers on the progress, regress, and distress caused by his creation of the Limbonauts esports organisation, and his unsanctioned attempts to bring a professional Paladins League to Australia.
We have done a lot on the League today and we have been planning this for a month. There’s been a lot of behind the scenes work — for instance, contacting broadcasters. Today we finally contacted the game developers and sent through a proposal on Twitter just to get their attention.
All we are really asking from them is crystal funding to give lower-tier teams an incentive to play in the League. There is a currency in the game you can use to purchase skins and in-game items called crystals. I think it’s something like $5 for 200 crystals and you can penetrate loot boxes and buy the skins with that.
- In How to Build an Org we reveal our daily progress creating an esports organisation and launching a competitive league.
We also want to make it possible for the lower-tier teams to get the chance to play against some higher-tier teams who are playing for money in the league.
Registrations opened up a day ago, and in 24 hours we’ve got eight teams signed up already. That is more teams than any of the previous leagues that have been running in Oceania for the past 12 months. So that’s good. It’s also the first time Oceanic Paladins has seen a prize pool in 16 months. So we have $500 for that. Limbonauts has also invested a little bit because we seek to earn a little bit from this league through sponsorship deals as the viewership numbers increase. That’s why we are doing it.
The prize pool was crowdfunded from the community — specifically, we set up a stream with a donation bar. Within an hour, we had $500.
Most of the action has come within the past 24 hours. We purchased a bunch of the graphics that we needed to professionalise the presentation of the League, and we created the official Twitter account for the League.We will use this post announcements about where it’s being streamed, or what time the matches are on, as well as match scores and highlight clips from the stream. We have also been working with one of the casters from a company called Gamestar, which has a professional production line.
We’re going to get Gamestah to do up the stream for us and we’ve commissioned transitional animations and professional graphics being done up for that live stream. The Discord server is set up for all the teams to communicate with the admins, and to have their own private service to play on the night of the tournament — which is every Tuesday.
The way the tournament is going to work is similar to the PGS, which is what Hi-Rez did in 2017 and early 2018, when it was a prize pool of about $US7,000 a month and the top 4-8 teams got prize money.
Unfortunately, we dropped the Limbonauts Counter Strike (CS:GO) Team because their approach and their public persona was inconsistent with the values we want for the Limbonauts brand. We had spoken to them about it numerous times and are now on the lookout for a new team.
That’s esports. Ultimately, they were going to behave the way they wanted to behave, and that was more important to them than being in the organisation. Fair enough. Still, they weren’t happy and let us — and everyone else — know it. The bottom line is that their approach and public commentary didn’t match where we want the brand to go.
Commerce and Sponsorships — early days.
The main way we make money right now is through the work of the content creators and via donations. So, it’s mostly me streaming. Limbonauts represents the content creators, and the content spreads awareness. People can see what we’re doing. As more people see, they come on to live streams. And then the streamers in the organisation make money from that.
The Magnus Apparel partnership went live on the company’s web site, so we have hosting on the site now and people can buy the Limbonauts jersey.
The Magnus deal is our first real ecommerce deal for our own merchandise. We have done affiliate deals for other brands in the past. With Rogue Energy we get a commission every time someone buys Rogue with our code. We get about five per cent right now until we sell a bit more. And then we get staff discounts. They send us free stuff occasionally. So today, they sent us a starter package with a shaker cup and some Rogue Energy.
It’s a small start. We made 30 or 40 bucks in the first month in commissions from the codes and affiliate links from the Rogue deal.
Paladins and Overwatch teams
The Paladins team are already top-three in the country. We also have an Overwatch team competing in an ascent league. It’s not a very highly ranked league, but they are doing pretty well so it looks like they’re going to move up two divisions for the next season. The Paladins team is probably doing the best at the moment.