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Is Twitter the best place to debate “in community” issues?

ShockSmash - February 13, 2018

The trouble with emerging technologies/mediums such as eSports is that there are periods of confusion and periods of growth. Right now, Smash is in both a period of growth and confusion. The meta is ever changing. Outcry against DLC characters frequently pops up, and Smash 5 is looming on the horizon. Characters and players are associated together and attacked…despite the fact that a player really shouldn’t be attacked personally for whom they play.  

Sure, we can point to the NFL or NBA and see fans bashing players and burning jerseys for leaving their beloved teams, but here’s the thing. Those organizations are established. Those fans bashing those players aren’t going to stop supporting their teams, and they sure as hell aren’t going to play in the next playoffs. As an eSport competitor and fan, you might. You have a stake in the game. You might make a run and end up in the top 8 of a major tournament. That’s unheard of in other sports. In eSports, we have a chance. So, why would you want to hurt yourself or your sport?  

I see the pros and cons of using Twitter, but the key point here is that arguing on Twitter makes sponsors hesitant. They don’t understand the drive by the community to help the game. They just see the community as petulant; it makes television producers wary; it makes investors look somewhere else; it makes Nintendo question if they want to back Smash or not. 

Don’t think for a second that organizations and investors aren’t watching. They are. They want to see what eSport will blow up next. They want to know how to capitalize on a player’s fame. What will be the next League or Overwatch, for example? Before you shake your head, think about the structure that League and Overwatch created. Do you think they went through the trouble of creating organizations and a fixed league for the fun of it? No, they got feedback that more money would flow in if they structured themselves like traditional sports.  

Think about how many top 20 players are free agents in Smash right now. Investors are trying to figure out how to make money off these players before committing. Sure, I know there is beauty in grassroots gaming, but there is also an opportunity to elevate your game to the next level—to be true professional players with a salary, a team, a health plan, and a guaranteed future.  

Smash is on the cusp of capturing an enormous audience. It has crossover appeal to adults and children. It’s simple to learn, yet difficult to master. It has passionate fans that drive the community. That’s why I fell in the love with the game, and probably why you did as well.  

I want the best for Smash and the community—so know that I’m not trying to kill the debate. I think debate is great. I think we should always be examining the game and ensuring growth, but there is a proper place for it and Twitter might not be it.

Steve “ShockSmash” Shockey 

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