Interview

What is... The ACGL esports app?

Dylan 'Dib' Brown

There has been some debate about 2018 being a disappointing year for local esports. There are still those persevering to improve the tournament experience and  provide more opportunities for players to compete. After running some successful tournaments at Rush, ACGL have stepped up their game with a new esports app. We sat down with Nick Holden, a co-founder of ACGL, to get all the details.

Q&A with ACGL’s Nick “HoldenZA” Holden

Dylan “Dib” Brown: Why did you decide to launch an app? Especially with so many different websites out there that provide platforms for hosting and running tournaments.

Nick “HoldenZA” Holden: The app is a more convenient access point to our website and the services we provide to our community. We want to ensure that our platform provides ease of access and the best possible communication to and from our player base. Whether it’s reporting scores, disputing matches, or simply messaging your opponents we want to make sure that players are receiving these notifications as quickly as possible so they can get on and play their matches in a timely manner.

Okay, well we can all understand that. Communication in tournaments, especially online ones, can certainly be tricky. Is this app just for ACGL Tournaments?

Primarily its for tournaments but that’s not all it can be used for. We will use the app to inform our user base of events and news. It will additionally expand to cater for events for spectators to participate in interaction with the main stage commentators/participants. For example; we recently had an crowd interaction element at the Rush Fortnite stage which allowed the spectators to vote on who they thought would win the match. Those who voted correctly stood a chance to win a prize.

We plan on using the app to expand on our offering as tournament/event hosts and to ensure our player base knows exactly what gaming opportunities that the ACGL family has to offer.

Engaged audiences is one of the things that has made esports, and Twitch so successful. Count us in for some more channels for engagement, especially at offline events! Running tournaments isn’t always easy, and sometimes, neither is participating in them. What are some of the pain points for yourselves, as tournament organisers, and players that this app aims to solve?

Most of the ACGL tournaments take place on one night. This means that players are required to organize their matches and be aware of when they need to start their next match as soon as possible. Communication between players and admin is very important to ensure that matches do not get drawn out and as a result delay the entire tournament.

 

The brand new push notification system on the app alleviates the players requirements to constantly be at their PC to refresh their browser to check when their next match is available. It notifies them immediately when a message has been posted or when a result has been disputed. The notification system is at the core of what we believe will make the user experience that much more streamlined.

Missing matches, and being knocked out of the tournament as a result, is sadly something we have experienced ourselves as well. We would welcome something that doesn’t require us to constantly watch a web page whilst we wait for our opponent. So, all these features seem great, but what’s the catch? How are you making money from this app (yeah, that’s the software developer in me coming out)?

At this stage we have made nothing from the app. We do, however, have some on site advertising but the rake from that is barely significant at this stage. The app will always be free. The app helps us as much as it does the players, and for that fact we want to keep it as open as possible for the gamers. The app creation wasn’t about making money. It was about streamlining our tournament management and communication with our players and thus providing them with the best experience possible.

 

We do sit with the benefit of being the only tournament organization in Africa with an application for their player base – which I think is a unique and advantageous position to be in. Will it make us money? Well, I think the package that we offer as tournament hosts is only getting better for potential clients and therein lies the value.

We’ve heard that it’s not that easy to get your hands on the app at the moment?

Currently the application is on the Play Store on Android and is initially only available to our most loyal participants. We will be rolling out the application to the wider user base soon. Keep an eye out on ACGL for more. [Since the interview, we have been informed that the Android version of the app will be available publicly near the end of this week approx. July 27th. – Ed.]

 

Are you looking to host an esports tournament? ACGL have the full package covered for you, and for all the players, we can reap the benefits of their continued efforts to improve the tournament experience. Nick tells us that ACGL have hosted many offline and online tournaments using the app, so it’s proving successful so far. We’ll be trying it out ourselves at the upcoming EGE Fifa tournament run by ACGL. Come and check it out how it works for yourself, and maybe try your hand at a tournament or two.

 

All images courtesy of ACGL.