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Can an esport succeed with a game nobody is playing?

April 26, 2018 2 min read

Caesar's Entertainment Studios in Las Vegas hides in plain sight. Just off the main strip where the entire human history of excess and wealth, from the orgies of ancient Rome to the Wall Street decadence of New York City, are recreated and celebrated by throngs of thong-footed tourists, it stands a simple building. Among the liquor stores and chain motels I’m sure have the saddest little slot machines in the lobby, this warehouse is ground zero for what Caesars, Twin Galaxies, Facebook, and 3-Time NBA champion Rick Fox are hoping will be the next great thing in esports: the H1Z1 Pro League.

“I strongly believe battle royale is the next biggest gaming genre by far. We’ve seen all these different, wonderful takes on the genre, and that’s exciting, but H1Z1, at the moment, is really the most digestible, easily understandable expression of the battle royal genre and I think it can continue to lead the growth of the entire industry. H1Z1 was effectively first and now it’s effectively first with the Pro League.”

Those are the words of Jace Hall, owner of Twin Galaxies and the H1PL [H1Z1 Pro League] spokesperson for the inaugural weekend. Hall is no stranger to the industry. Before buying Twin Galaxies he served as the general manager of Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, started his own video game talk show with The Jace Hall Show, produced 800 episodes of Hulu’s The Morning After, and released a rap album titled Video Games Aren’t Bad for You

Hall purchased Twin Galaxies in 2014. What originally started as a way to track video game world records is morphing into something entirely new. The H1PL is set to be the first of what could be many pro gaming leagues run by Hall and Twin Galaxies. There are obvious plans for more. He’s already in contact with other publishers and developers, eyeing something far larger than the foundation the H1PL will set. But can you effectively build an esports league on the back of a game nobody cares about?

Can an esport succeed with a game nobody is playing? screenshot