Valve continued to be the always innovating developer this week with the announcement of their support for high-end competitive play. The two major things they announced will hopefully create a new norm for teams and tournament organizers. One thing is for certain, if Valve didn’t have the eSports world’s attention before this week, they definitely do now.
Team branding in the game
In-game team support has lacked from game developers since the start of eSports. Even games that were ‘built for eSports’ didn’t have team support. What do I mean by team support? I’m talking about the ability to have branding for your team with-in the game. When a person spectates the game they are able to see your logo and know that it is your team.
From their announcement:
The Defense will be the first test of our new Team system, where players identify themselves to Dota 2 as a competitive team, and provide a set of information about themselves. In addition to storing a variety of statistics about the long term performance of the Team, the game also detects matches between competitive teams, and uses the Team’s information to highlight the match.
The Team system allow teams to have their logo placed throughout their side of the map. This creates exposure of the team brand. Why is this important? For instance in the picture above, that level of exposure for the brand helps people recognize the Copenhagen Wolves when they see that logo. Whenever you see the New York Yankees logo, you think a perennial winning baseball club. You may also think not so great things when you see that logo but it all depends. It is the same thing here, when someone sees the Wolves logo, they will go back to their last experience of the team. That might be good, it might be bad but the team is definitely in the person’s mind. Companies pay a lot of money to get this type of exposure inside a game.
However the team system doesn’t stop there as you can tell.
Showcasing top sponsors in-game
Valve is allowing teams to place their sponsors on the flags that are found throughout the team base. Here, we will zoom in on it:
One of the constant difficulties for teams is getting exposure for their sponsors. Creating sponsorship awareness has been difficult because the only way to showcase sponsors would be to get on stream and have fans see the sponsors on your shirt. Only the top players get on stream. Needless to say, the return on investment is both hard to measure and very small unless you are a team that is constantly on the main stage of a major LAN.
Valve is changing that too.
Teams being able to showcase their sponsors inside the game has solved the problem of sponsorship awareness. I can guarantee that when teams show potential sponsors what Valve is doing, those sponsors will be excited to sign deals. For an example, we COULD HAVE Intel sponsoring Quantic and AMD sponsoring Evil Geniuses and the storyline will be just as much about the two American Dota teams as it is about the battle of the chip manufacturers.
This type of support is what teams have waited for. Now even the smallest of teams can give their sponsors incredible value. However, Valve wasn’t done with the high-end competitive scene.
Watch in the game, support the tournament
Last week, Valve rolled out their tournament support that allowed spectators to watch tournament games with-in the game client along with hearing their choice of commentator. You could have watched the Western Qualifier final between mTw and NEXT.kz by following the game with your own camera while listening to the wonderful commentary of Tobi Wan.
Valve announced that they will be rolling out this service to all tournaments and it will be PPV with a part of the proceeds going to the tournament organizer.
All of sudden, Valve has lessened the grip of sponsors on tournament organizers. The price for The Defense is $5 for as they say it on their website:
You can now be completely in charge of the camera every second of every match, all in glourious ingame HD quality. Turn it to directed, follow a player, get the commentator view, or scroll wherever you like to not miss a single bit of the action.
Source: The Defense
Not only is this service great for the organizer; it is also great for the fans. The fan can get in the game (which will probably look better than a stream) and follow whomever they want, can look at whatever spells, and can check whatever information they desire. Every fan should be excited about this type of content for the Dota 2 scene.
All in all, Valve is changing the game for teams and tournaments and is making it a very exciting time for Dota 2. Valve is also saying, “Game On!” to every single competitive game developer out there.