Introducing Community Gaming (Part 2)
In Part 1, I recapped Community Gaming’s journey from NYC’s largest esports events company to automated tournament platform. We are building this platform out for the 223M esports enthusiasts globally. These gamers watch, play, and compete in the most popular competitive games. Some are amateur players who aspire to go pro or become streamers while others game socially online with friends. We want to empower this middle class of gaming to be able to easily create and compete in esports tournaments.
In order to serve this scale of users, it needs to become a lot easier to create and run grassroots tournaments. As a Tournament Organizer, you have to set up registration, handle communication with dozens of players, manage the bracket, and manually send out payouts. Each of these tasks is labor intensive and can prevent someone from running their own tournament. We’re automating these tedious tasks and streamlining the process.
These automation features include:
- Streamlined tournament creation.
- Automated match reporting (through self-reporting and game API reporting).
- Discord bot that tracks tournament progress for improved player communication.
- Instant payments.
Tournament Creation & Registration
A Tournament Organizer’s (TO’s) job entails a lot of manual work and individual actions which currently makes it a labor of love. We believe that there are thousands of potential new TOs out there who would love to be able to quickly set up custom tournaments for their community and not worry about dealing with payments or hectic communication.
Traditional tournament platforms suffer from a lack of innovation and often clunky, time consuming set up processes. They function primarily as idle bracketing tools that still require a lot of additional labor. Moreover, TOs aren’t able to monetize their time setting up, promoting, running, and potentially streaming their tournaments.
Simple Creation & Customization
Creating a tournament on Community Gaming takes less than 5 minutes. You can preconfigure payout distribution along with the rest of the tournament details. Some TOs like to go with a wide payout distribution, while others use the more traditional top 3 payout. Fill in the start time, description, bracket format, and you’re ready to go. Once your tournament is submitted, you now have a tournament landing page where you can customize the cover photo, URL, and invite players to join.
Easy Onboarding for Mainstream Gamers
The majority of our users play traditional esports titles and have never created a crypto wallet before. Therefore, they shouldn’t need to perform a security procedure of storing keys or be required to understand blockchain just to register. We solve this through a simple sign up process that is tailored towards mainstream gamers.
We’re showcasing the benefits of our payment tech in an accessible manner that abstracts away the wallet and smart contract interactions. Our onboarding goal was for someone who isn’t blockchain savvy to be able to register for an account and join their first tournament in under 1 minute. We’ve accomplished this and that’s a big first step in overcoming the hurdles of integrating with the web3 world.
Under the Hood
As part of the sign up process, self-hosted wallets are created for users with just an email confirmation click. Users don’t see any key info or seed phrases when getting started. Just click the email confirmation and you’re ready to join your first tournament and start earning ETH, DAI, or any ERC-20 token. In the near future, we’ll have credit/debit support for onboarding to entry fee tournaments as well as crypto to USD conversion so offboarding to bank accounts is available directly on the platform.
In the background of that link click, a new user has a private key generated on their client and stored in AWS’ Key Management Service (KMS). We are using a Magic.link integration to accomplish this. CommunityGaming.io is a non-custodial system meaning users stay in control of their assets while interacting with the platform. We do not custody user funds and we can’t see anyone’s private keys.
Automating Bracket Management & Match Reporting
Once you’ve joined your first tournament, you’ll get an email reviewing the details and where to check-in. Our Community Bot in our Discord will be able to DM you your next match details to alleviate the first round rush of finding your opponent. For match reporting, users are able to self-report their results into the bracket. This frees up the TO from what is normally a hectic dash following countless Discord messages and scrambling to keep the bracket updated manually. Our self-reporting feature is a double check system that prevents dishonest players from being able to misreport a match.
Launching soon is our first fully integrated game API integration that fetches match results and automatically updates brackets without any action required from users or TOs. This makes the tournament process smooth and stress free. We’re excited to announce this first game developer partnership in the near future. After a tournament finished, the last step is for the system to pay out the earnings.
Handling Player Payments
It’s not uncommon for players to wait weeks or months to receive their tournament winnings; there are even horror stories of large tournaments never paying out or player payments being rescinded . I’ve never met a TO that enjoys sending out dozens of manual payments and I’m confident that every player dreads having to wait an undetermined amount of time to be paid their winnings. For Community Gaming’s flagship events last year, I was personally the one spending an hour sending out individual PayPal payments by hand. It’s a time consuming, menial task that’s hard to track and completely manual.
Commuity Gaming Autopay Solution
We call our payment solution Autopay because players receive instant payment after a tournament ends with public receipts on the Ethereum blockchain. Players can see a tournament’s payout structure before signing up and confidently join a tournament knowing they will be paid immediately and transparently.
We make it extremely simple to customize your tournament’s payout structures without having to understand or code a smart contract. Dubbed the “hands free” approach internally, TOs fill out a simple form when creating their tournament that allocates specific %s of the prize pool to each placing. There’s also an optional section for the TO to allocate a fee to themselves for their time. Organizers do a lot of work for their communities, including oftentimes streaming the event, and we think its important they be incentivized to run great events.
Tournament Payment Flow
Autopay uses Ethereum smart contract payment tech to produce fair, transparent, automated results without the complexity normally associated with blockchain solutions. Tournament funds, whether they are aggregated through player entry fees or donated by a sponsor, are sent into and held in escrow in our smart contract while the tournament plays out.
When the tournament is complete, a transaction is triggered by the TO which sends out all payments to winning players in one transaction. Paying out the top 8 teams in a League of Legends tournament is typically 40 individual payments. That leaves lots of room for errors, delays, and is tedious.
Here it is facilitated in one transaction from our last League of Legends tournament. Effortless and automated. With the upcoming addition of multiple layer 2 choices, TOs will be able to choose where they deploy their tournaments which will bring the transaction fee down to (effectively) zero. From a backend perspective, here’s the payment flow:
We’ve signed up over 1000 new players in the past month, 60% of which were first time wallet creators. This is a point of pride for us as we strive to introduce the next wave of mainstream gamers into the web3 world. There are open tournaments listed for Axie Infinity, Gods Unchained, Valorant, and Hearthstone with more being put up everyday. We also just announced a partnership with the Maker Foundation and Theta.tv for our League of Legends Tournament Powered by Dai taking place on January 30th.
We’re onboarding new TOs from different countries so I expect we’ll see a diverse range of tournaments for different games, both indie and esports, utilizing unique payout structures. To get access to our tournament creation tools, fill out this short application. We’re also hiring for back-end and blockchain developer roles so if you’re a talented dev passionate about blockchain and esports please apply or reach out to me on Twitter!
In Part 3, I’ll detail our built-in engagement strategy and Play2Earn features including the enhanced leaderboards, NFT rewards, and weekly quests!