ESL One Genting 2018’s Facebook exclusive streams have created a Dota 2 digital salt mine – fans are raging for an English Twitch stream. If you need proof, just look at the Dota 2 Reddit page during Group Stages Day 1 and many of the top posts are all complaints about Facebook.
With issues of connectivity, poor user interface and well, Mark Zuckerberg – man is he hated, that ESL’s historic deal with Facebook is standing on shaky ground. You got people calling for boycotts, people calling for Twitch streamers to broadcast the game, which is completely allowed in-client by Valve, copyright strikes and we even got threats blasted over social media at Bulldog. You can read the legal analysis by esportslaw here.
Well so far after ending my stream the main english streams viewership increased by 1400. And the caster volume balance is also way off. SeemsGood
— Henrik Ahnberg (@AdmiralBulldog) January 23, 2018
To iterate on the last one about threats, PPD and Bulldog were streaming ESL One Genting 2018 Group Stages Day 1 and yet are completely absent on Day 2. Bulldog even ended his stream early for day one due to nasty tweets by Epicenter’s manager. The tweets basically blamed Bulldog for the lack of views on the official English stream on Facebook. Just FYI, PPD and Bulldogs streams were each easily pulling over 10,000 concurrent views with the combined total of the two official Facebook streams for ESL One Genting 2018 a measly 7,000 views. Talk about a massive number difference for what is great production value from ESL, all over a platform switch and exclusivity.
Now one thing that should be mentioned is that every tournament organizer has the right to choose their platform. With selling exclusivity for English streams for both their Dota 2 and CS:GO tournaments, ESL stands to make plenty of money. Now obviously not all of this moolah is going into their pockets, a large chunk is going towards funding these large scale esports events.
I’m not happy about it, but I feel obligated to point out that broadcast rights are THE largest source of economic rents for nearly EVERY professional or major competitive sports league around the world. Esports is not different just “because we’re esports”.
— Nahaz (@NahazDota) January 23, 2018
1) It is not reasonable to pitchfork a company for transitioning toward a reasonable, proven business model
2) It is perfectly reasonable to complain when that transition is handled badly or adversely affects viewers
Imo it’s most productive to discuss these as separate issues.
— Nahaz (@NahazDota) January 24, 2018
Some defenders of the move to exclusivity streams are Alan “Nahaz” Bester, Dota 2 analyst attending ESL One Genting 2018 and ESL’s Senior Vice President of Product, Ulrich Schulze who both make perfectly valid points.
Here is how many Dota tournaments there are going to be in the future if noone is taking money for broadcast rights anymore: Exactly one (The International). Having your cake and eating it too never works.
— Ulrich Schulze (@theflyingdj) January 23, 2018
So I have to say while I’m okay with ESL decision to go for a Facebook streaming exclusivity, I’m not a fan of the initial implementation. The Facebook streaming platform still needs a lot of work to be fully enjoyable for fans to watch. It feels as if this was a rushed project and partnership between Facebook and ESL, with ESL One Genting 2018 being the guinea pig. Dunno if Facebook dropped the ball on this one, perhaps it was ESL or maybe the internet in Malaysia is creating poor streaming conditions, but the start of the stream was not fun on day 1. At least the streams have been getting better with each day and the games are actually very enjoyable. We even ran into an engineer flown in by Facebook to help debug the issues here at ESL One Genting and the streams.
So what are your thoughts? Was ESL taking Facebook’s money a correct move towards the future and will you watch ESL’s Facebook stream? Leave a comment down below or on our Facebook page.
Oh and here is an AMA by Ulrich Schulze on Reddit that just popped up near the time of this article being uploaded.