Introducing Kokyo — Empowering esports communities to evolve

Dean Burrows
Dean Burrows
CEO & Head of Product

In 2018 you would be hard pushed to find someone who isn’t aware of esports as an entertainment. With its rapid growth, fans are flocking to wherever they can to find new and interesting content surrounding the games, teams, and players. A plethora of communities have formed across a wide variety of platforms, all with the common goal of following the stories that are so unique to esports. These communities are primed to evolve, they just need that little push to level up the tools they use to connect, learn and share in these experiences. The team at PatronGG have been working hard over the past months to provide that push with our upcoming esports community app, Kokyo.

But first, let me give you more context on how we came to this conclusion...

It’s August 2017, and our first app “Fnatic Nation” had just entered its beta phase and thousands of die-hard fans wanted in. The app was part of a partnership with Fnatic, the world-leading professional esports organisation with the goal of improving fan engagement and monetization through a branded team app.

As with most betas, we were able to learn and make changes based on community feedback throughout the 6 months we were in testing. During this time, the app went through a redesign, tweaks, performance updates and bug fixes before we were finally ready to push it live. We launched Fnatic Nation during the 2017 EU LCS Spring Split for both iOS and Android, and the app has been performing well ever since.

However, while we were working on Fnatic Nation and talking with fans, we identified opportunities that we couldn’t seize with an app that only supported a single team and this played havoc with our problem-solving minds, so that’s when we decided to embark on the journey we’re on today. But first, we had to clearly outline the problems and figure out how we could take what we learned while building the Fnatic app and apply it to a new product: Kokyo.

Problem #1 — Overwhelming Content Experience

To follow an esports team today, you must follow the organization on every social platform they are on: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Twitch. Then you’ll probably need to do the same for all the players on the roster for the game you are interested in. At this point, you are at about 30 accounts, but what if, like most esports fans, you follow more than one game or multiple organizations? The problem grows exponentially.

What you are left with is an overwhelming and chaotic stream of content across many platforms.

You could solve this in numerous ways, like focusing on the more popular social channels and only showing those posts but then the fan might miss out on storylines that occur on other platforms, or maybe one team is super active on Twitter but another is on Instagram, how do you choose?

So why don’t we aggregate all the popular channels, remove duplicates and make it easy for fans to follow the stories of their favourite teams, players, and personalities, no matter the platform without fear of missing out?

Problem #2 — The community is splintered

The esports community as a whole is spread far and wide, from Reddit to Twitter, to Discord and even VR hangouts. As much as I enjoy using the majority of these platforms, they all serve different purposes and house very different cultures which can be daunting to new community members.

Can you name one platform where every team or brand are consistently involved with their communities? Twitter perhaps, but the sense of community is often fragmented due to how the platform works. Communities are either neglected or have little engagement from the brands due to new platforms emerging or simply the brands being spread too thin across multiple social channels which inevitably leads to very little activity and thus, a dwindling sense of community. There are of course exceptions where communities continue to strive on their own without guidance, but these are few and far between.

But what if we could provide a way to bring all the fans together in one place, from different teams and different games, to engage and share their excitement around a common interest with one another? A place where heroes stand out as valued members of the community and help provide a welcoming and friendly environment.

Problem #3 — No reliable source of truth

We all have our own way of tracking match schedules, the results, and in-depth stats. Some esports have it easier than others what with sites like GosuGamers or HLTV, but others have to rely on team websites that are not always kept updated. Regardless of the ‘band-aids’ used, there is clearly room for an improved solution that enhances the fan experience and provides consistency.

Esports should be fun, and keeping up-to-date with the latest information shouldn’t be a chore for fans, so what if we provide a single source of truth for the teams they care about?

Looking Forward

When Kokyo launches early next year, it will solve all these problems whilst empowering esports fans to evolve the way they connect and engage by giving them the tools to do so. From aggregated social media and news feeds to gamified social interaction, Kokyo will become the new home for esports fans looking to get more from their community. I’m not saying we’ll get it right straight away, but we hope you’ll help us along the way.