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Designing The Halo Esports Ecosystem – November

Excited fan at an Esports event
Portrait of Tashi, Esports Lead
  -  a month ago
Banner graphic for the Halo Championship Series and Halo Infinite

Hey everyone! I want to start by saying THANK YOU to everyone who grabbed their tickets for the now sold out HCS Kickoff Major Raleigh 2021. Wow. We knew that the community was going to be excited to be under one roof again and especially this time with a new Halo game, but we were all blown away by the response. I want you to know that record-breaking support like that from our community has an even longer term impact on the scene overall and at a high level that’s actually the topic of today’s blog. Before that though, some housekeeping.

Welcome back to another installment in our blog series, Designing the Halo Esports Ecosystem. The goal of this blog series is to detail how we are working to develop a healthy and sustainable ecosystem for Halo esports. If you’re interested in our philosophical approach to esports as a fan, player, team, tournament organizer, or sponsor, then this blog series is for you! If you’re hoping to learn specifics about format and roadmap, stay tuned, more info will be released as we get closer to the launch of Halo Infinite. We know there are lots of questions right now for Raleigh including PC and monitor specs, and much more. Those will all be answered in the coming weeks as we march on towards launch and the big event.

If you’re new to the series, thanks for joining us! You can catch up with the first seven installments here:

Alright Tashi, what are we talking about today?

As alluded to above, today my friends we are talking about the role that players and fans have in the ecosystem and what you can do to help grow the scene.

Let’s dig in!

THE POWER IS YOURS

Epic black and white photo of a fan standing up and cheering at the Halo World Championship

For this entire series we’ve talked about how the Halo esports ecosystem is comprised of so many different groups and how they all fit together. Fans and Players are the most critical part of this ecosystem. Here’s what we said way back in January when we kicked off this series:

  • Players (Pro, Amateur, and general competitive players): This one is obvious. The players are central to the entire ecosystem and without a healthy player base for the entire game, the ecosystem is not sustainable. This is mission critical.
  • Fans (Viewers, Event Spectators, fans who engage in-game): Fans and viewers are also critical – we want as many people watching Halo Infinite tournaments and content as possible, and it’s important for us to take strides to increase viewership.

The first and main message we want to get across is that each and every one of you can make a difference and have an impact. No, seriously. Every show that you decide to watch on Twitch, every tournament you decide to compete in, every retweet on Twitter and like on YouTube – they all matter. If every individual feels empowered to make a difference, then collectively as a community we will make a huge impact.

I sometimes get asked, “Tashi, I love Halo esports and want to help it grow. What can I do?” Today we’re going to list out exactly what you can do!

PLAYER AND PRO PLAYER CHECKLIST

Photo of Pro Player Lucid at DreamHack Anaheim 2020

Let’s start with the Pro Players - folks like Frosty, Tripppey, Respectful, Tapping Buttons, BZllRK, and of course so many more across the world. Outside of grinding to win every tournament you enter, here are the ways we think you can be contributing to the health of the ecosystem and thus the health of your careers. (Please bear with me, this might get preachy)

  • Stream when you play: For those that already stream all the time, kudos to you and we’re excited to see you grow when Halo Infinite releases! For those that don’t stream, we know it’s been hard while waiting for a new game but it’s go-time when Infinite drops. Streaming is one of the most powerful and impactful things you could be doing as a professional Halo player. Here’s why:
    • You get to have a community of your own that supports you, including financially through subscriptions and donations.
    • You have a wealth of VOD content that lets you spread your reach and grow your community even more when you get to post awesome stream clips on social media.
    • You are far more attractive to teams and sponsors, which again means more financial support for you. Even if you have a small audience, if you're putting in the work then that makes a big difference.
    • Fans have a place to watch you before and after a tournament. If you pop off on the mainstage, people are going to want to watch you the next time you turn on your stream. If you don’t stream, they’re either not going to watch anyone or they’re just going to watch someone else.
    • You can help bring in more viewers into the stream and as noted above and in prior blogs – viewers are critical. You don’t get to compete and be a pro player without viewers.
    • There are going to be many online tournaments and also opportunities to stream your scrims – this is really great content that will attract even more viewers than your normal streams in the ranked playlist. Progress might be slow, but if you focus on consistency as the goal then you will be rewarded in the long run.
  • Be a positive influence: Not every pro player is going to be a role model that everyone looks up to – and that’s ok. However, using your social media platforms or streams as places to dump toxic waste about the game, the ecosystem or really anything for that matter into the community is a bad idea. Players who are positive and professional will have more opportunities, will be more attractive to fans and sponsors, and will have a bigger influence on the future of the game, community, and ecosystem. Anger, toxicity, and sarcasm work against you. We all love Halo and want it to have a positive and thriving scene. Be wise in how you use your influence as a pro. Additionally, players will be held to the official code of conduct which details behavior that is not acceptable in our scene, and we as a community need to hold each other to high standards on top of that.
  • Be active on social media: The conversation for Halo esports is on social media, and it’s mostly on Twitter. Between events, it’s a great way to not only connect with fans, but also connect and chat with other pro players. There lots of great conversations that many fans would be interested in seeing, and overall it helps drive interest into you and your brand as professional Halo player.
  • Promote your Team’s cosmetics: If you’re on a partnered Team, you should be wearing your Team’s cosmetic items as much as you can on stream and even off stream as well. The Team’s will be earning revenue from each of the sales and their success in Halo means they can continue to invest in the scene to pay player salaries, managers, team houses, and much more. A little goes a long way here. You can add a command to your Twitch channel, pin a tweet on Twitter, and post links in your YouTube videos. Speaking of YouTube...
  • EXTRA CREDIT – Start a YouTube channel and upload regularly: YouTube is a great way to bring fans closer to you and provide them entertainment. Not everyone is going to be the next Nadeshot, and that’s ok. You don’t need 100,000 subscribers for the channel to be worthwhile investing some time into, and these days it’s easier than ever to upload gameplays from your Twitch streams directly to your YouTube. There are more Halo fans on YouTube than ever and that will continue to grow.

As a pro player, you can have a tremendous impact on the scene overall which ultimately helps you out directly. Don’t take this opportunity for granted.

FAN CHECKLIST

Photo of fan at an HCS event holding a blue cosplay flag from CTF in Halo 5.

For the fans out there who love playing and watching Halo – we appreciate you. We know many of you want to see Halo grow because it’s the game and community that you love, and that resonates deeply with us. We want to provide some insights that enable you to have the biggest impact if you’re not sure how you can help.

  • Watch events and content: Viewership is critical for the Halo esports scene, and when you watch tournament streams, pro player streams, and even content on YouTube or Twitter – that has a really big impact. Obviously, we need to do our part to entertain you and we take our responsibility there seriously.
  • Purchasing in-game content: We are sharing revenue for ALL of the items in the Esports Store within Halo Infinite when the game launches on Day 1. Whether it’s a partnered Team’s bundle or a bundle that represents each of the four major regions and the tournament operators investing there, this is the best way to support these partners directly. The more that the ecosystem can support these partners, the more that they will be able to support the players and fans as time goes on. This is an absolutely critical component of this entire ecosystem.
  • Be active on social media: As mentioned earlier, having conversations online about the league, the Teams, the players, and everything going on is a great way to generate more and more excitement for the events and ultimately draw more fans to this awesome community of ours. If your favorite Team is tweeting about Halo, give it a Like/RT and even a reply. Let’s make Halo fans the most active and talkative game in esports!

CONCLUSION

For players and fans alike, there are lots of really critical ways that you can support the community and scene that you love. We all want Halo esports to grow, and if we work together and push in the same direction, we can really have a huge impact and bring on more Spartans to our cause. We have to act as a unified community.

I’d love to hear what other ideas and suggestions you might have! Start a conversation with me on Twitter and let’s keep the ideas flowing!

Until next time,

Tashi