In a recent podcast episode of Business of Esports, Zack Johnson, CEO of ggCircuit, discussed many things about the esports world such as how ggCircuit got started, how LAN centers can succeed, and how even the giant streaming company Netflix is trying to get in the gaming space.
He is of course joined by the hosts of the show Paul Dawalibi and William Collis who were very eager to listen to what the boss has to say.
How Zack Johnson Got Started In eSports And ggCircuit
Johnson started out in esports by hosting and managing competitive video game tournaments in the church where he attends. These were overnight tournament parties that continued for some time.
Eventually, Johnson got tired of hauling heavy computer equipment every time they hosted these tournaments and decided to start a gaming center. That's what got him to open the eBash Video Game Center in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Later on, Johnson met his future ggCircuit partner, Chris Magee, who already had 17 LAN centers in Ireland called Game The World. The two collaborated with the goal of automating LAN center operations and this was when ggCircuit was born.
Our first venue eBash game center in Terre Haute, IN started in 2004
The Concept That Started ggCircuit
According to Johnson, both he and Magee envisioned ggCircuit to be a solution (later called ggLeap) that will make it easier, simpler, and more convenient to operate an esports venue. Their goal with the platform was to automate the process of handling an esports venue while allowing owners to prioritize other core aspects of their business.
The other vital concept is to let esports venue owners worldwide connect with each other seamlessly. This capability would allow them to have their own community where they can share tips and tricks in running their respective brands.
Johnson and Magee also wanted their platform to run events where everyone has a chance to win. This was the idea behind the “Coins” system, which was added because of issues that arose when running competitive tournaments. One of the issues was that the professional players constantly dominate these events which resulted in a lower participation rate in later events. ggCircuit allowed everyone to "win" by means of earning coins that can be exchanged for prizes.
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How LAN Centers Can Be Successful And Why Some Center Owners Fail
One of the biggest reasons why some LAN center owners fail to get started is because of low capitalization. A LAN center is a business entity after all and it needs the right funding to remain operational. Without proper capitalization, you won’t even be able to afford to get Wi-Fi or an internet connection, and gaming hardware.
Johnson also emphasized that owners should have a passion not only for gaming but also for running a company. He shared a story where someone that he knows (who also happens to be a gamer) started a LAN center and had regular tournaments where the owner himself participated. However, the center owner would ban any player that defeats him in the event, and that's where the problem of the business started. The center eventually closed due to bad customer experience.
There should be no free passes even if you had a bad performance. Johnson also believes that you should select the best theme that matches your business systems, logo, and everything else.
Click here to test the ggLeap client!
Netflix Game Service (Cloud Gaming)
Another interesting topic that was discussed during the podcast was Netflix's entry into the gaming scene. Johnson speculated that Netflix could have difficulties bringing game publishers in their plan since publishers can sometimes be hesitant with allowing the use of their IP.
However, Johnson believes that Netflix may still be able to push through with their cloud gaming platform even without the support of their desired gaming publishers. He gave an example of a subscription-based game platform that is already operating right now, albeit in a slightly different approach. For instance, Epic goes through the data on each user in its platform to know what games they would most likely purchase. Epic then offers games for free every once in a while as an incentive for active and regular users. This deal can pay for itself so long as the user continues purchasing games on the platform.
Furthermore, Johnson mentioned that the store model similar to the Steam app where players can return later and play any games they have purchased on their account is more attractive to gamers since they actually own the games
Johnson does not agree with the Netflix game service in use at esports centers. He said that the store model similar to the Steam platform allows gamers to later play games that they have purchased. He also cited that there are centers that have retro games that never really get played, which means that even if Netflix has plenty of titles in their library if they do not offer the games that players wanted, the cloud gaming service will fail.
Valorant’s Popularity And Entry Into The Mobile Gaming Scene
Finally, Johnson and the hosts talked about how Valorant’s entry into the online mobile gaming scene could be similar to the popularity of PUBG mobile. Johnson mentioned that ggCircuit has data that some mobile game titles that are run via an emulator are very popular in Southeast Asia and he thinks that Valorant mobile can be successful.
Currently, Valorant is among the top games in the ggCircuit network, primarily due to the effectiveness of Riot’s strategy in attracting players from other first-person shooting games like Overwatch and CS: GO.
Johnson also believes that the Valorant player base will keep growing, as long as Riot will continue to add new content to the game just like they do with League of Legends.
These were the main topics that the CEO of ggCircuit Zack Johnson has discussed with the hosts of Business of Esports. The content that they went through in the podcast can provide a lot of useful information for those interested in the esports community.
We hope that this article has provided you with some insight not only on our CEO and ggCircuit but also on how the esports world will change in the years to come.