Reddit AMA with Alex Jebailey and thehadou shares tips on community and event building in the FGC

By on September 2, 2017 at 10:00 am
sfv ryu arms crossed cover

Two big names were flying together to Japan. What to do on such a long flight? When traveling to Tokyo’s Tekken Masters event, rather than sleep through it, Alex Jebailey and Rick “thehadou” Thiher decided to get on Reddit and do an “Ask Me Anything” session.

Other than questions inquiring the true nature of hot dogs, there are several advice pieces regarding growing events and creating a scene. Check out some of the highlights here:

Q: Question for the both of you. What is the first step in taking your local community from the local stage to the national stage?

A: Honestly, the first step is not trying to go national. Running a local gathering, then a tourney large enough to attract your state, followed by your tri-state area, followed by your region, followed by the country is the way I’ve seen successful nationals appear. The nice part of that order, as with your initial question, is that what you should do is the same. Throw consistent tournaments.

The more regular your tourneys, the more promotable they are. The more promotable they are, the better chance of attracting players. The more players that attend, the larger your tournament will be. At some point more players means going to the next size up venue or production wise. After enough scale ups, you’ll have produced a nationally attractive, stable tournament. Plus side of slow scaling is your staff pool will also grow with you.

Fair warning, that usually takes years.

Q: Question for both: do you like how Capcom is handling Street Fighter V and Marvel vs. Capcom Infinite? Do you think everyone is being ‘too negative’ like what James Chen says? As TO’s, how do you feel about esports and is esports a part of the FGC?

A: Many aspects of SFV and MvCI have confused me from a marketing standpoint, but I recognize as a longterm FGC guy I’m likely not the target audience for marketing anymore either.

Most of SFV’s goals align with what I want to see from the game. It has had event support, consistent DLC plans including characters, stages, and costumes, tournament support bundles, and (as Season 2 has done well with) different play-styles available in the cast. How successful it has been on those fronts is debatable. Having seen the backend of game development and esports promotions I’m regularly happy just seeing something reach market though. Lots of roadblocks exist in the way of what looks like even simple things.

For MvCI I think we could’ve used more direct capture gameplay.

We’re hyper critical because we care. That negativity has a price when casual consumers read it, but whether we’re too 1 way or another isn’t for me to decide.

The arrival of the bright-lights version of Esports was inevitable as we’re a dope community. Nowadays it is also a part of the FGC from coast to coast. The part that matters more to me is how the culture continues to advance, mutate, and evolve now that we have so many different types of games, players, events, and content. That’s a pretty long conversation on its own though.

Q: What’s the most common mistake you see events making? What’s your favorite event that you aren’t part of the staff for, and why?

A: Understaffing and a lack of pre-planning are the most common mistakes. Both usually stem from a single person or a small team thinking they have all the bases covered. It always takes more people and more knowledge to run an event than you have when you decide to build one. So asking questions, keeping communication consistent, and building a large support network is super important.

Super Smash Con. The event is well on its way to combining all the different parts of conventions and tournaments that I find enjoyable into a single weekend. Best part is they are still improving and have a lot of room to grow.

Q: What’re your thoughts on the recent pressure to get all Majors as 24/7 venues? Do you feel this will be a “necessary evil” as the scope of events continues to grow?

A: I think the push for 24/7 venues is largely unrealistic. As one of the people responsible for their rise in popularity it is something I think about regularly. 24/7 venues are extremely expensive at most locations, and they are outright unavailable at the majority of venues big enough to host a convention size FGC event. To me the necessary evil becomes sacrificing things like 24/7 venues to book a venue large enough for everyone to have walking space.

Combo Breaker has been very fortunate to be able to host, insure, and staff a 24/7 space; but I always tell people we might not be able to keep it year-after-year.

I greatly enjoy the endless games and true casuals hours a 24/7 venue creates. I am not always sure we couldn’t achieve a similar enough experience having a 2 or 3 AM closing time though. We’ll have to see what happens over the next couple years.

There’s a ton more answers on the entire Reddit AMA, so make sure to give it a read.

Source: r/StreetFighter

Luke "Woocash" Siuty is a Chicago-based writer who specializes in ArcSys titles. A Guilty Gear veteran, he plays Baiken and commits atrocities by playing Sin when he's not busy pondering the ArcSys Cycle. He's always down to talk on Twitter, so send him tips. He's good at OS-ing in real life, not so much in video games, though.