Web3 Galaxy Brain 🌌🧠

Web3 Galaxy Brain

Nouns Esports

8 November 2022


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Nicholas: Welcome to Web3 Galaxy Brain. My name is Nicholas. Each week I sit down with some of the brightest people building Web3 to talk about what they're working on right now. On today's episode, I'm joined by three members of Nouns Esports. Sasquatch is an OG member of Sharkdown. ApeNown, aka Oni, is Noun number 119. Together they co-founded the Nouns Esports pod, which now participates in several esports leagues. We're also joined by Costabile, a pro Dota 2 player who recently represented Nouns at the International, the most prestigious tournament in the Dota scene. In this conversation, we discuss the esports world's economics, the Nouns governance process that enabled the founding of the Nouns Esports pod, and the successes the Nouns teams have had playing Dota 2, Pokemon Unite, and Counter-Strike Global Offensive. In the latter half of the show, Costa shares his personal perspective on the emotional and mental challenges of playing esports at the professional level, and what he's learned over the past year. It was great getting to talk to the team about the inside baseball perspective on professional esports today. I hope you enjoy the show. Welcome, welcome. As people are coming in, today I'm talking to Sasquatch, Oni, Costabile about Nouns Esports. Pretty excited. How's everybody doing this morning?

Oni (ApeNoun): Doing well. Friday, can't complain.

Sasquatch: Yeah, doing well. Some coffee. Yeah, kind of coming off the mend of COVID. I also got some coffee.

Nicholas: I hope you feel better soon. So today we're going to be talking about Nouns. Well, actually the team is called Nouns. Is that right? Nouns Esports is the Twitter handle, but Nouns is the name of the esports team, correct?

Sasquatch: It's interchangeable to some extent, but often casters, even if we label as Nouns Esports, they just call us Nouns. So that's what we're going by, yeah.

Nicholas: We're going to get into it because I'm super curious. A few weeks ago, I spoke with Blackhand and I actually met someone else in Bogota who was talking about esports and Web3 and their interest in the convergence of the two. So I think this is a super interesting topic and I'm really excited to meet all of you, especially a professional esports player. I don't know if I've ever met a professional esports player. Maybe a couple of people around crypto who used to play at a professional level, but very cool to get to talk. Maybe we could start off just by each of you introducing yourself. I see you Sasquatch, you're first in the row. Maybe we could each say hello and say a little bit about what you do and your background.

Sasquatch: Sure. So yeah, my name is Sasquatch. I've been in the Nouns community since RinkDB testnet. Then, you know, started getting involved with a sub community called SharkDAO, which ended up winning Noun number two. So that's kind of when I became a fractional Nouner. And since then, I've just been involved in the community. Inevitably wanted to start doing my own proposals. And that's kind of where Nouns Esports got kicked off, just through seeing kind of, you know, a way to connect to my passions.

Nicholas: And that's where we met actually, or we met in Shark, right? Through the Nouns experience. So I'm sure we'll get to talk a little bit also about how DAOs have sort of brought people who wouldn't expect to meet each other together. I guess ApeNoun, you want to introduce yourself?

Oni (ApeNoun): Yo, yeah, I've been with Nouns since pretty early on. I initially met one of the artists, Grimplan, in CryptoPunk's chat and found a group of kind of people there early in NFTs before things got crazy and then found the project and fell in love with it and kind of clicked as someone that just likes to do different sort of creative things. One of those being, yeah, esports used to play a lot of competitive gaming and work in the space still outside of crypto. So yeah, when Sasquatch was wanting to move forward with that, it was, yeah, just a natural fit. I was happy to jump in and get involved and work a bit on the esports side and also do a few other type of proposals with the DAO as well, working on some streetwear merch collaboration with a company called Dopamine and then also working on skateboard giveaways with Tony Hawk's Foundation, the Skatepark Project. So yeah, do a couple different things within the DAO right now.

Nicholas: Awesome. And both of you are wearing Nouns also. Do you want to tell us a little bit about those?

Sasquatch: Sure. I mean, on my end, I'm wearing a mixed noun from the artist. Actually, it's called Collectively Goat Club, but it's Goldie and Tumlin who are co-owners of the first edition Goat Noun. This is a Sasquatch, meaning Sasquatch and a washing machine mixed together.

Nicholas: Sort of popping out of the washing machine is the head for people who can't. Pretty awesome. Okay, so it's like an extension project of the original collection.

Sasquatch: Yeah, it's a derivative from just two talented pixel artists and it's been featured in a few other derivatives at this point. or just like Meshup did an illustration celebrating the first anniversary of Nouns. And since this was my PSP at the time, it got cemented in there. So yeah, I think I'm going to keep rocking it in the near future.

Nicholas: Awesome. So tell us a little bit about your gaming background prior and how you got involved with this project.

Costabile: I became a professional Dota 2 player back in like 2014, I think. I was doing like part-time college and part-time playing. And I just decided like fully playing and like I was dropping my college for like one semester and I was going to see if things would go right or not. And they did. So I kept going on Dota and I've been playing for many, many years. I play mostly in South American teams and sometimes in North American teams. And after last year's International, I joined a team called Forzumers with the current roster that we have on Nouns. And yeah, we played for like eight months or seven months until we got picked up on Nouns and yeah, here we are.

Nicholas: Crazy. Can you explain a little bit about that process for people who aren't familiar? You played for a while like solo, like just on your own?

Costabile: No, I've been jumping like a lot of teams and you mostly play solo for like practicing and then like eventually you meet someone or someone invites you and you join a team. So like mostly you play solo for practice and then like someone invites you.

Nicholas: The teams don't need to be sponsored like the team you were playing with previously was just a...

Costabile: Oh, okay. I see what you mean. So yeah, we are basically on our own. So like that happens a lot with a lot of teams. They don't have like sponsors or contracts and that's mostly how it works today. It didn't used to be in that way many years ago, but like especially in the North American scene, I think that's a big problem. I think a lot of things are just like unsponsored and don't have contracts or anything. So that's the reality of a lot of players.

Sasquatch: Yeah, I mean just adding a little more color like 4zoomers, his roster was at the time the fourth best team in North America and arguably if not better and they just weren't sponsored. and there's this kind of structure in Dota called the Dota Pro Circuit. and in the Pro Circuit there are division, you know, division one teams which are the best teams in the region and a lot of North American teams are just not sponsored. So when we were kind of evaluating what region to step in or where we could make a splash of nouns, it was obvious that looking at North America, there's a lot of talented teams that just need more financial backing to support them.

Nicholas: And what's the reasoning for being sponsored? What's going on? Why is that?

Costabile: Back in the time, it definitely used to have a lot of sponsors and I think there's a mix between the company that runs the game, which is Valve. They don't have the best relations with like tournament organizers or like organization CEOs or whatever. They don't like, they don't make it clear when it's going to have a tournament, when not. and if you're a CEO, right, and you want to invest in a team, you kind of need a plan. You need to know how many tournaments are going to be up, how long it's going to take and what's the structure, right? And I think there's a big problem that happened in the past few years with Valve. They don't really make it clear the best, like how it's going to be the next year's structure in Dota. So I think that's one of the reasons. And another reason is North America has been known to like a lot of teams disband after like one or two tournaments. They don't stick longer. They tend to like split up after they lose. And so that kind of ruins the like the project that the organizations are making. So I think it's kind of in the midst of both. There's a lot of other reasons, but I think those are the two main ones.

Nicholas: And so it was, I guess, Sasquatch, you and Oni who had the idea for the esports team and the proposal to announce?

Sasquatch: So really, I think fundamentally, I kicked this idea actually at a Goldie back in January, like how would Nouns feel about an esports roster or like a professional video game team? And then in May, I noticed that there was a Nouner, Brennan, who was also talking about Dota, a game I'm familiar with, and he was just bringing it up in Nouner chat. You know, that really gave me a lot of conviction that this is something that Nouners would be interested in. And, you know, in the background, I was already talking to a contact that I have in the Dota scene who connected me with, you know, basically a former professional player who knows this roster pretty well and used to play with players on the roster. And so I was connected to the Forzoomer's manager and basically had the team ready to go. And once we kind of started seeing Nouners were supportive, you know, then we drafted a proposal to bring on Shane. And yeah, I mean, fundamentally, the prop just received like pure support. There, you know, there wasn't really any kind of pushback or backlash. It seemed like a worthwhile experiment. And we can get into kind of, you know, how the how the prop played out and the results and how the community felt. But it was just like a wholly supportive experience.

Nicholas: So I'd love to know just a little more clearly, like, what was the need on your part in order to start an esports team? And then how did you put that into words in a summary kind of way for Nouns?

Sasquatch: Yeah. So, I mean, like fundamentally, Nouns created this really interesting model to capture value from attention. And so that's why you see a lot of Nouners and Nounders expressing the idea of proliferating the meme or spreading the noggles, spreading the Nouns meme, you know, far and wide. And so esports is really great at getting attention. And like you can look at concurrent viewership on streams or how much stuff on YouTube is getting or tournaments. You know, there's lots of metrics to look back and say, yeah, there's there's attention being driven here. That's why, you know, there's other sponsors that get involved in esports and like support teams. So fundamentally, it felt like Nouns could be a sponsor in that same capacity where they're just looking for attention and talking with the team. I think the biggest difference is that there's not like a contract with the team. We just operate on social contracts, similar to how Nouns works with all their proposals. And so when we started paying the players, we just paid them up front for the first month and like established that, you know, we're an org offering goodwill. I mean, in esports, there's a lot of teams that have rugged players or given them really big contract headaches. And so when a new org presents themselves, they definitely need to establish trust. And then doing so without a contract is a little more tricky than like a traditional kind of offering. So, you know, we had this former pro player who was like giving goodwill on our behalf and like explaining that we were a trustworthy organization. And after we paid the players, they knew it was legit and things just kind of proceeded from there.

Nicholas: Yeah, I'm just looking at the proposal now and people in the Nouns community in a major way that already had a background or involved in the project at Sasquatch, Brandon, Maddy, Oni, Brian Cho, Jason Oliver, Deez, Beauty and the Punk, and then esports background Brax, PPD and Griff. So a lot of esports overlap would already pass proposals and been deeply involved. But I'm interested that you wanted to do it without having contracts. Why was that important to you?

Sasquatch: Yeah, I mean, this isn't something that we're beholden to. And maybe in the future we do adjust policy on this, but like fundamentally how Nouns operates, we only really want to work with trusted operators. And that means that like when we're talking to a team or an individual player or, you know, another organization from Nouns Esports that we're just going to only work with people that we basically feel that are trustworthy enough to hand capital over to. And we can expect the terms from them to be, you know, proceeded with.

Nicholas: You mean a contract with the people who are playing or the people who are operating the esports team? Or do you even not see a difference between those two things?

Sasquatch: I'm sorry, you mean a contract from us or?

Nicholas: Yeah, I thought you were saying a contract to the players was the element that you didn't include and so you had to build this goodwill.

Sasquatch: But no, yeah, you're right. I mean, we did have to build goodwill or just kind of show that we had serious intent with what we're doing because fundamentally esports players are used to signing a piece of paper that says they're going to play for a team for 12 months and each month they'll get a salary and there will be support for boot camps

Nicholas: and

Sasquatch: maybe they have a manager involved and all these kind of details outlined for them. But we're still giving them these details. But I think the difference is we're not also raking 20% of the players prize money or taking some of the in-game revenue from assets that are sold in DOTA or CSGO or whatever. So all of our deals are just done transparently. Anyone can come into our Discord and just see terms offered to players and rosters. And part of that is just giving everyone a fair shake. And as a new org, people certainly wouldn't know. Players don't fundamentally get this kind of offer or structure. So it's something new and they have reason to be skeptical, of course. But as we have continued to operate this way, it's gotten easier.

Nicholas: So you made this proposal for 369 ETH, 90% allocated to proposals, which is to say the internal operations of this kind of esports DAO, I guess you can clarify that, and 10% for operations. Maybe you can explain a little bit of how does the group decide who's playing, how to spend money. And also I'm curious how you said that prize money doesn't get taken away from the players at all. So maybe you can explain a little more of the financial relationship.

Sasquatch: Sure. Yeah. So internally, we have an open contributor structure where we are really encouraging anyone to come in to the org and kind of share their ideas and help build something better. So that means that every week we have an open contributor call. So we'll actually have one later today. It's Friday. We always host them on Fridays. And people come through the call and often suggest new ideas. And then if people kind of get attached to those ideas, if there seems to be some level of social consensus that it's an interesting one, maybe it gets turned into a full proposal. And really, we've basically just been crowdsourcing ideas from our community as it grows. And that's kind of led to some really amazing outcomes where we find these new opportunities that feel like they have extremely high ROI for what we're trying to do. And that's something we're just trying to continue growing. It's like this open contributor process.

Oni (ApeNoun): I'd say on that note, really, if you just going back to the point in the social contracts, the transparency, and you look at that, and really that is pretty new and unique to the esports side. But from our perspective, and that's just an extension of what NounsDAO is even doing. So when Nouns is working on even unrelated to esports projects, it's we're essentially finding people, finding an idea. We think it's compelling enough to fund. We're trusting them to do it. We're handing over the funds. So then essentially, we did that for the esports pod. We asked the DAO to trust us with this pool of capital. And then now we go and we kind of take that same mindset of transparency and openness and social contracts. And then you're applying that to the esports space, which is just a lot different and unique there. But yeah, obviously ViewIt is a huge opportunity with the big overlap that we see across gaming and web three and the opportunity to NFTs in the future and everything.

Nicholas: It's super cool because it's an industry where the players are typically really disadvantaged in their relationships, right? They're desperate for money. You know, they need sponsorship and there's not so many sponsors. And so the terms of the contracts that they sign, I imagine, are really unfavorable. Was that your experience Constabile?

Costabile: I mean, kind of. It's just whenever you sign a contract, but at least every experience I had with esports organizations, they kind of always like keep something hidden away in contracts. And that's not really malicious. It's just like, it's kind of how just things work. They always want to benefit themselves, right? If the team from today to tomorrow resolves to just disband and not play anymore, they had to cover themselves up, right? Let's say they invested a lot of money on the team, buying a team house, whatever trips, going to take this and the team just like disbands or doesn't play anymore. So they kind of have to cover themselves. So that's always like the problems with contracts is that if something really specific happens, they can do like something that is mentioned in the contract that you don't really get it. So yeah, it was pretty, pretty scary at the first, like not really signing, right. But like having a relationship with an org who has no contract and our biggest fear was like, how can we trust this guy? Like how can we make sure that we are going to play and they're going to like comply what they said they would and like to just pay us in the end, right? So I think that that's just changed. Like when we got paid upfront, like just like in the second day in talks and yeah, it's just like a trustworthy relationship. But yeah, usually like contracts in esports organizations are like, at least for myself, I always had like bad experiences.

Nicholas: Got it. So Oni, how do you decide, like I see Costa's not in the list of the pod members, at least in the initial proposal. How do you decide, is it only the members of the pod that get to decide to add a new member or is it really anybody in the Discord can make a proposal and then it's up to everybody to vote? How does it work?

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah, so anyone could definitely bring a proposal to the group. So we've got, because you think we have a few pod members. So those are the founding people of the pod and then people that control, myself, Sassquash and a few others that control the multi-sig that we have to actually execute on. We'll have to distribute funds. But in addition to pod members, we have a larger group, just a contributor role. So people that are active in contributing to the space and even then, like Sassquash mentioned, the Discord is fully open and anyone can come and get to that point. So we've been talking about how we're going to figure out process of adding additional people to that, whether contributor or prod role. But at this point right now, anyone's able to jump in. So it hasn't been too much of a barrier. Anyone brings an idea to the table and then if the idea is compelling enough, basically people start to roll with a post or a thread, get started and really be jumping from there. And that's kind of similar, again, going back to the same thing with nouns where anyone can bring an idea. Ultimately, someone that has the power to execute or put a vote on it needs to get their attention and make sure it's compelling enough. And then, but yeah, it's kind of the best ideas and the best pitches just naturally bubble up to the top and the group gets excited about it and finds a way to move forward or iterate on them to get them to a point where we think it's good enough to fund or give feedback and

Costabile: whatnot.

Nicholas: Super cool. So you have this like bunch of money that you got in the proposal, which you're able to use to create these flexible contracts with teams based on goodwill and then and not just in Dota. Maybe you could talk a little bit about the other sports you're playing.

Sasquatch: I have one good example of owning, just like we were talking about, like, you know, our flexible funding and how good ideas kind of bubble to the top. Oh, and you actually tweeted about this, but we had this CSGO roster that we saw was publicly tweeting and asking for fundraising for, you know, via GoFundMe. They were basically kickstarting their own boot camp because their sponsor dropped them and they still needed to, like, attend this event in Stockholm. They're from North America. They needed a boot camp prior to the event so they could practice and perform their best at the LAN. And I think we had them, there was a tweet shared in the discord and then within 24 hours or maybe it was the same day, even we just had them in our discord talking with us and we agreed to sponsor their boot camp and just got them sorted to compete at their best level for the event.

Nicholas: That's dope.

Sasquatch: And there was just a ton of energy behind it because like everyone just recognized it was a media need and just got super excited. So it came together really quick.

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah, just DM'd you the tweet. I can't remember where, if anyone's speaking, can pin him. But yeah, I was thinking about that. That was a perfect example. And that highlights the goal of these pods is this group. And if people needed funding quickly enough, going directly to the DAO and putting a proposal on chain and then waiting that time period for voting and execution can be a bit of time. But once we have that group and it's just up to us and a multi-sig, yeah, we were able to over the couple period of a couple of days go from literally hearing an idea to getting funds. And yeah, it was super exciting.

Nicholas: That's dope. And actually, I'm curious because Nouns governance process is like a super interesting experiment that's produced so many cool projects. But in this case, Nouns has funded the initial funds for this kind of discretionary gaming focused set of teams which are able to flexibly and quickly react to what's going on on Twitter, I guess, in the world. And yet they don't own the team, really. It's sort of an affiliation through this one proposal. But the team, it sounds like it doesn't actually have a like a. there's the multi-sig, but there's no token structure for the team yet. So it's interesting. It could go many different ways in the future.

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah, we've talked a few times about if we want to eventually do something or build something directly on the esports side. But yeah, when you look at the esports pod or pods in general, if you look at that term of just a different lens of an open ended proposal. So everything on the Nouns side is you take a proposal, say you're going to do something, you need funds on a certain timeline and execute and deliver. And then basically on the pod side, we're just doing something similar. We're asking for a proposal. We say we're going to do esports stuff, but we don't know exactly what yet. Put up the credentials and compelling reasons to why they should kind of trust us with those. And then we get that funds. And then essentially, if we go and do well, you turn around and make another proposal to ask to refill for more capital in the future, which we've done. And I've seen other successful pods go and kind of repeat and do that model as well.

Nicholas: It's interesting because the proposal, and I totally agree, basically explains that there's a lot of potential to spread the good word of nouns. And you even have some testimonials from people who or esports has has influenced and opened their eyes to nouns, to NFTs more broadly. But it's not like an equity arrangement, even in a tokenomic stakeholding kind of fashion. So there's it's an interesting relationship. It's like seed money and we'll see what the structure actually becomes.

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah, we had one proposal fall through, unfortunately, but we've had

Costabile: one where we

Oni (ApeNoun): looked at and discussed potential sustainability options, because that's also a big opportunity in gaming and esports in general, is that a lot of even the top orgs and it can be pretty hard to to operate profitably in the space. But, you know, we've had discussions or ideas if we get into leagues where some money or funds could be coming back. Some events will generate revenue either in game and whether that goes back to the players or the Dow or rather our pod. So, yeah, none of them ended up falling through there yet. But it's something that could happen in the future. But again, yeah, bringing the money and revenue and profit back into our side hasn't been as much as the focus right now versus just finding the best opportunities to kind of get nouns proliferating through the esports space.

Nicholas: It's cool that the Dow is willing to support proposals that don't have a really clear revenue capture built into the initial proposal, because I mean, in startups and all kinds of projects, usually cultural things, too, don't start with a value capture. So it's cool to the governance process is able to pass things that are not going to bring money directly back into the pockets of the Dow.

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah, I think that's been huge. The general desire and willingness to to experiment and yet going back to, like you mentioned, nouns, the governance process, the project, the brand building and crowdsourcing aspect of it in general is a pretty interesting experiment. So, yeah, I think as long as people continue to kind of take that mindset and trickle it down through the Dow to the pods, to the individuals that are going and looking for those opportunities, whatever space is, is, yeah, it's what's going to keep allowing nouns to do those different types of crazy and unique and wacky and fun, different things. It's all sorts of spaces and whatnot.

Nicholas: You mentioned that one of the two proposals didn't make it through. Was that one before or after the successful one? And what was that one about?

Oni (ApeNoun): That was after we've I guess so, yeah, early on, you kind of asked about our name and yeah, we go by nouns, e-sports people just say nouns or stuff like that. But we were working on actually two pretty big proposals with a large gaming publisher that makes a bunch of competitive games. And we're going to try and get teams to get sponsored in their professional like e-sports leagues, but ended up ultimately coming down to them not having or allowing at this point in time, web free or crypto brands or teams to be directly represented in the team. So we technically wouldn't have been able to compete under that name. We would have had to do something, not nouns.

Nicholas: So the gaming team formerly known as nouns. That's silly.

Oni (ApeNoun): But yeah, and it brings up, I mean, it's an interesting point. We're still like, we're obviously all in here bullish on web. three and we're all passionate about gaming and whatnot. And though when you step out of this space in our bubble, uh, gaming and e-sports in general, there's still a ton of vitriol against crypto and NFTs. And, uh, there are a lot of gamers that are really passionate and passionately against this stuff still. So it's, yeah, every once in a while we hit those stuff or it's something that we always want to try and just be cognizant of as we're kind of going into the space and trying to make people see what we're seeing.

Nicholas: I love this idea of people playing like Call of Duty, Modern Warfare 2 style, drone bombing simulators and cat girl dating sims, but drawing the line at crypto. I find it amusing, but Costa, what's it like culturally, like coming into the crypto, like, I guess everyone hangs out in discord already. I don't know. What's the cultural mix like, how's it been for you?

Costabile: I mean, personally, I didn't know much about anything before I joined. I learned along the way and how it works and how mainly the objective or knowledge is not like, I mean, firstly, before we even signed, my question was like, how are they going to like benefit for this? Because it doesn't make any sense for me. Like why they would sponsor us in the first place. I mean, I guess they could be Dota fans or whatever and following us like along the way, but like my mind didn't make any sense why we'd be worth a sponsor. And I kind of learned like why this, and I feel like it's kind of even better than normal orgs because I don't know about orgs and esports, like it's way different than like how now Sphinx. So I think the Dota community at first, they definitely, they didn't embrace that we're going to be sponsored by like quote unquote, the crypto thing. But even though like there's a lot of teams in Dota, like let's, for example, team Solomid, right. They have a lineup in Dota. Their name is literally TSM FTX and FTX is like alongside the crypto, right? That's a lot of things.

Nicholas: FTX hates crypto too.

Sasquatch: Yeah.

Costabile: There's a lot of things I have, like, I don't know, they have betting sponsors like GGBet or like. for some reason they didn't feel comfortable with nouns and ultimately they're not trying to sell anything to anyone. They're just trying to like spread the name. So like there's literally nothing wrong about it. And as soon as I learned like how it was worth for them, like I saw no problem with it, but just like the community has this big stigma with crypto and like in general that I think it's mostly that they don't really understand. If they understood the way I understood how things work, I think there would be like, Oh, there's nothing big, right? It's actually good because there's another source of sponsor, like source of organizations that are going to come into Dota and try to help. So I see nothing wrong with it.

Oni (ApeNoun): On that one. Cause yeah, we brought up or discussed those same things and where that, yeah, they'll allow crypto sponsors for teams. So for example, if you have a, a web two team like TSN, if they have a sponsor like FTX, that could be a sponsor. It can't be just the core brand itself is the actual direct organization competing, which they viewed nouns.

Nicholas: Esports is just a direct extension of nouns, which fair, but so like FTX doesn't have a team, but FTX sponsors a team, but it must also help that FTX is a company, an American company or what.

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah. So, so TSM team solo mid is one of the largest e-sports orgs, traditional pre, I mean, yeah, just web two, obviously they're, they're working into it through the, they had a huge naming rights deal. I want to say it was over like $200 million over a long multi-year period. So FTX got naming rights. So it adds into their name, but, but yeah, the org itself is still not a crypto brand, but the other point, the closest thing and yeah, we're, we feel like nouns is yeah, doing good in the space though. I think going back to those stigma points, there are still a lot of bad actors and bad orgs and, and coins and projects that are not having the best intentions or whether they're the scans or we talk about the rug pulls and that. So it is definitely difficult for people that are new to the space or only hear about some of the negative things and having to kind of still wade through these waters of finding where are some of the good actors or interesting projects or novel use cases in the space versus the grifters and the scams and whatnot,

Nicholas: Kosta are you being asked all the time about crypto stuff now by your friends?

Costabile: At the beginning? Yes. Well, like, I mean, not really, because it's kind of complicated because a lot of people don't even know that's actually a crypto org. So I actually explained them, like, how do I get paid? and like, who are they? Cause they are not a traditional e-sports org. So like, don't even know in the first place, like what is it about? Like, it's a very strange concept for people.

Nicholas: Do you get paid on chain? Yes. So you have a wallet. You're in, did you have a wallet before joining the team or no?

Oni (ApeNoun): Wow.

Costabile: No.

Nicholas: What do you think? What's it like?

Costabile: I was so scared because I thought it would be kind of like, like a stocks market. And I didn't know how we really worked. But like, I mean, satisfaction, he told me like, it's literally like PayPal because I use a Binance account, right? He said, like, it's literally like a PayPal and it's not really that complicated. I only had like one problem, which was like, I think the first time I got paid and I wanted to sell, I didn't realize how the market of Ethereum worked. And I think Ethereum in the last few months, like dropped a lot. And in the day I didn't sell the Ethereum, it dropped like really a lot. I lost some money, but yeah, I learned with it. And it's actually just very simple. It's literally just like PayPal.

Nicholas: Have you tried using it? I mean, anything crypto besides just like cashing out fiat currency, have you sent to anybody else or bought an NFT or anything?

Costabile: No, not yet. Like I learned about the market and how it works, but like, I haven't like really done it myself, like selling, buying, I just sell what I got paid. And that's it. But like I'm learning with time. Yeah.

Nicholas: Interesting. And you're from Brazil originally, right?

Sasquatch: Yes.

Nicholas: I don't really know what the local experience of crypto is like. Are you, do you live in Brazil these days?

Sasquatch: Yeah.

Costabile: I'm in Brazil right now.

Nicholas: So it's a, I don't know. Is there a general feeling? Is it the same as in America? What people think about crypto? or do people have better or worse impression or don't even know?

Costabile: I'm not really sure. The only experience I have, like with Brazilians dealing with crypto is just you just see this big celebrities like Neymar, he bought like the borrowed ape and I was like, why is this tweeted photo like a monkey or whatever? What is this? And like, and I just learned with it. And like my friends also didn't know, didn't have any clue. And like I explained to them after I learned, but yeah, it's still a gray zone in here. Some people know, but like a lot of them are still like, they don't know anything.

Nicholas: Do you have a, like a Twitch account or are you a streamer as well as a professional player?

Costabile: I mean, I do stream sometimes I haven't streamed for like eight months because there is a really hard game. So like my experience with streaming. And so if a lot of players in Dota is that you kind of lose focus, if you stream like practically hard, but I think right now we'll see some like we have a kind of a break on my stream again. It's costably Dota on Twitch.

Nicholas: Do you watch streamers? Are the cultures intersected? or for you, it's like the prize money that counts in the, in the status on the leaderboard.

Costabile: No, I watch streams all the time. I just don't stream it myself.

Sasquatch: Yeah. Dota players love watching streams, but there's very few players that overlap with being pro and streaming regularly.

Costabile: With both your players. I don't think there's anyone who like streams regularly. I said like 10 or five, five players. They're mostly don't stream. Just really focus on the grind and getting their skill as high as they can. And there's also like players who just stream and they're not really pro players. They stream for like for the game. So like they're streamers, but like not really competitors.

Sasquatch: And I think that applies to a lot of esports where like at the very top, the players do make a decision if they want to stream more or they want to play more or focus more on competitive. I mean, and yeah, obviously when you're looking at a team to sponsor, you're, you're probably leaning on those strong competitive players, but also a lot of orgs do target bigger streamers or people who aren't even playing competitively, but just are streaming these days. So there's trade-offs on both, you know, both ends of the spectrum.

Nicholas: Yeah. I'm sure for publicity, having a huge stream is a different angle for getting publicity. It's interesting culturally. Do you spend a lot of time on social media? Do you talk to your fans? or is it, or do your fans know you primarily from watching the competitions?

Costabile: Personally, I don't think I do a great job on social media. I can definitely do better. I try in time to time. Like I said, Dota is a really hard game and you have like to grind all the time. So you kind of just forget about it. Most of the time. One of our players. Gunnar, he's a, he's actually a big streamer. He streams a lot, even though he's a top tier player. In the past months, he didn't stream like at all because we're prepping for this TI. We're not playing big tournaments. He does stream a lot and he kind of does a really good job of like with social media and like interacting with fans.

Nicholas: What's a TI? What's that acronym?

Costabile: It's the international. It's a, it's kind of like the biggest tournament in Dota. And I also think it's the biggest tournament in esports spirit and it's kind of happening right now. We just played the qualifiers. Unfortunately we didn't make it, but yeah, it's kind of like the biggest tournament in esports. regarding prize pool.

Nicholas: I see. Okay.

Sasquatch: So yeah, I think this year is like 17 million currently and it's, it's a crowd funded model so people can buy in game cosmetics and 25% goes to the prize pool. You know, Valve takes like a huge rake, 75. I mean, obviously they run the whole thing, but it'd be interesting to see like a web three kind of version of like this crowdfunding mechanic where maybe the 75% rake doesn't have to be so high.

Nicholas: It sounds pretty close to a typical web three model actually. That's, that's very interesting. Have you thought about running your own competitions someday? or is that a, that's a whole different game?

Sasquatch: Oh, I mean, we're doing like a kickoff tournament this weekend. It's like mostly an internal event where it's like we're running this Dota tournament and our team is going to play. It's mostly just for contributors, but we've been thinking about a bunch of different types of events. Um, there's also like some very serious operators who have reached out to us from a production studio. Um, and they run like multimillion dollar events and they are pretty keen on like, at least making a proposal to like have a noun themed tournament. So, you know, as this pod of like people who kind of understand esports, presumably better than the average nouner, I think it makes sense to help like shepherd those types of asks on chain and present them as best as possible for like the entire group.

Nicholas: Is it, is the tournament this weekend something people can watch?

Sasquatch: Uh, first I should clarify it's on the 30th, not this weekend. And secondly, um, I don't think we'll even stream it necessarily, but like this is kind of like a trial to see if we can keep running, you know, community focused tournaments and I think they'll just get bigger and then we'll introduce more production and

Oni (ApeNoun): just

Sasquatch: generally keep expanding on the concept.

Nicholas: That's October 30th, 2022 for anyone listening at a later date, but that's super cool. I want to go both deeper into Dota and also not miss these other teams. Cause you have a Pokemon Unite team as well. Talk to CS go a little bit. and Valorant are all four teams active currently.

Sasquatch: So Valorant, um, you know, is, is under the purview of, you know, the company kind of only that only went into detail about, and I think our future there is up in the air. We're still supporting a streamer, but going deep in their competitive scene is not necessarily possible under our current branding. Pokemon Unite, we just committed to another year with them. You know, they got second at the world championships, just like the biggest Pokemon event in the world. And next year the championships will be in Japan. So I'm sure that'll be super epic. And it feels right to have like a really strong competitive team there. CS go Dota, both of these rosters, we're continuing to work with and yeah, support on these kind of monthly extensions of their teams. I think the Dota team just came to the end of their three month term or about to at the end of October. And then we'd look to basically set them up for another year or another extension, depending on how we kind of structure things.

Nicholas: So not to make this a competitive thing, but I'm just realizing now that the Pokemon Unite was the world championship 2022. The top two teams are both Web3 crypto teams.

Sasquatch: Yeah, it was Blackhand and Nouns were just playing each other in the finals. So that was really surprising because Nouns were a favorite coming in from EU. Blackhand were a strong team. I don't know if necessarily they were the favorites, but they were definitely a team that came in swinging hard. And it was really epic to have like two Web3 native teams in the finals.

Nicholas: That's great. I'm surprised I didn't hear more about that on Twitter.

Sasquatch: Yeah, make more noise about it, honestly.

Nicholas: I mean, yeah, I think you should be rivals. Good for both.

Sasquatch: Yeah, I mean, I know the Unite players definitely wanted that win. So like I'm sure the world championship, there's going to be like, you know, some revenge seeking taking place for at least on behalf of the Nouns players.

Nicholas: I'm sure the finals were streamed, but if ever those two teams were to meet up in the future, I imagine there's streams of this competitive play generally.

Sasquatch: Yeah, so like Blackhand's an NA team and Nouns is EU. So I'm curious when the next time they'll face will be. Maybe there will be some kind of LAN before the world championships. But there's always streams for these kind of competitive matches. So we broadcast them. I'm sure Blackhand will as well.

Nicholas: I don't know the Pokemon Unite game very well. Maybe you could explain a little bit what it's like. And actually what I'm curious, most of all, is like, are all of your teams addressing different like gaming cultures with different types of audiences or just people who are enthusiasts about each different game and have their own community? Maybe you could start by explaining what is Pokemon Unite?

Sasquatch: Yes, Pokemon Unite is a MOBA. So like League of Legends, like Dota, Top Down, Team against Team. And it's just basically a MOBA. that's Pokemon themed. And, you know, Pokemon has a pretty hardcore audience. You know, MOBA players, they get pretty hardcore about their particular game. And I think Unite is only about, I want to say, two years old at this point. So a game that Nintendo is working on and trying to improve the product and they're making changes all the time and, you know, the community is presumably still growing. So actually, I think, you know, Blackhand's it's funny that the same operator, his name's Tilon, scouted both rosters, basically, because he. he came to us and announced eSports and suggested that we step in the Pokemon. And then we helped bring that proposal on Shane. I think it's just kind of funny that he scouted the top two teams, basically, for the whole year.

Nicholas: That is crazy. Who's that person?

Sasquatch: His name's Tilon, and he's kind of the unsung hero behind like the Pokemon Unite initiatives. He was working with Blackhand and then Blackhand basically wanted to submit some proposals to two nouns. And that's where we, you know, kind of settled on this Pokemon Unite prop. And he was the one who picked the CU-based team, which at the time was called Random Gaming. But now it's eSports.

Nicholas: Awesome. So, yeah, so do each of these games. So I guess there's a lot of MOBAs or we said CSGO, Dota, Pokemon Unite and Valorant. So Shooter as well. Or how would you describe Valorant? What's what's the specific name for that genre?

Sasquatch: Oh, I mean, it's a shooter, and I would just say it's like a Counter-Strike clone with like its own set of features, features added on top. I mean, it's a very good game. But, you know, a lot of the fundamental, like conceptually, like MOBAs existed as a genre coming from Dota, which was originally a Warcraft 3 mod. So like a Blizzard game, it was a community made custom game on top of that. And then that spawned its own genre, which is what League of Legends kind of based its game on. And I think CSGO is just a very pivotal style. Or not CSGO, but Counter-Strike rather is a pivotal like FPS. And, you know, other games have like basically copied its kind of style of shooting. I know you mentioned like kind of the different cultures around games, and I think, you know, something interesting about esports is like you can kind of treat each game like its own vertical, where fans of Counter-Strike aren't necessarily fans of other games. They just stick with Counter-Strike. And so when you're, you know, when you pick up a roster in one game and you pick up a roster in another that you're targeting, like completely different people that the age demographic may be like, you know, completely different. So it's been like the regions in which the game's popular internationally significantly vary.

Nicholas: Kosta, do you pay attention to other games or just to Dota? And actually what I really want to know is like, if this were a Dota Twitter spaces, what would you be talking about? What's the hot new shit in the meta right now?

Costabile: You mean is it a new game?

Nicholas: No, I mean, like what do you talk about with other pro players when you talk about Dota? Maybe that's the best question.

Costabile: Oh, firstly, I do play other games probably just for fun. I play like CSGO for fun. I like single player games. That's the time. And so I didn't quite understand the second question. I'm sorry.

Nicholas: The second question is like amongst people who are very well versed in Dota, like what are people talking about right now? What's the interesting subject? Are people still excited about the game? And if so, what's the current meta? Or are people like pissed off about something? What do you talk about with your fellow pro players?

Costabile: Oh, right now it's just TI, the International, because it's happening right now. It's like the biggest tournament. And we're kind of talking about how like poorly is being held by the organization.

Nicholas: What's going on? What's going on?

Costabile: I mean, it's because TI in the past has always had this really high standard. that is like the biggest priceful tournament ever. I don't know if you check the numbers, but TI is like, if you sum up from like the top five games, the number two until the number five, it doesn't like the biggest tournaments, they don't like add up to the TI later on. It's like that big. So TI always had this really high standard. So being like really high quality, really high like arenas or like production value for the most part. And this year is like, is a big letdown, just to say the least.

Nicholas: So where's it taking place?

Costabile: It's taking place in Singapore.

Nicholas: It's Valve that puts it on?

Sasquatch: Yeah.

Costabile: So we were just there, actually. I was there like one week ago. We were playing the, what's called the last chance qualifiers. Because we came in second place on the North American qualifiers. And we just played the last chance qualifiers and we didn't quite make it. So I was actually there.

Nicholas: And so now you have some time off and you'll be then going back to practice for the next big tournament in a few weeks?

Sasquatch: Yeah.

Costabile: We'll see because TI, as big as it is, it's just like when you go to play, you kind of, your whole year involves about TI. So like we probably want to stick together and keep practice again. But like, TI is always this like big turning point that people just like evaluate what they want to do, like all first for the teams and whatever. But like, yeah, our plan in the first place was just stick together. But like, we mainly take a break watching TI and then we're going to like evaluate and see how things go. Cause it's just like your whole year revolves around that, right? So yeah.

Nicholas: So this was the big, this is the end of the year, end of the season basically, that's happening.

Costabile: Yeah. It's end of the season.

Nicholas: And do you, when you are training with teammates, are you doing that online or physically co-located?

Costabile: We do mostly online. Sometimes we'll have a big tournament, big matches coming up. We, this is how Nouns helps us a lot. This is like the biggest, what we're looking for the most by getting signed by Nouns or like any org for that matter, is getting a bootcamp in like a small period of time before the big matches come up that we can gather up and like really try hard and stay in the same house, stay in the same place. Is that's really important for me because I'm from Brazil, right? So when I play in North American servers, I have like a higher ping than usual. So yeah, mostly we do online, but when it comes up to big matches or big tournaments, we get up, get up and play offline in somewhere.

Nicholas: And do you have a coach come for that or just the players around the bootcamp?

Costabile: For TI we bootcamp in Malaysia and so we're there, the whole team, our manager, coach and Sasquatch.

Nicholas: Awesome. Can you talk a little bit about what that experience was like for people who really don't know what the inside of gaming was like, Sasquatch too?

Costabile: Yeah, it's basically we, most of the time we're playing online, but after the games are done, we, let's say we were talking discord and after the games are done, we kind of disperse away and leave our own lives, right? We go like somewhere, we'll go eat. But basically when we go to this bootcamp, it's a chance, even after the, or we're not exactly playing, we're still talking about the game. We're still talking about strategy and meta. So even reading like we were together, even like we're chilling, we're still talking about Dota, so it's just a really good chance to like talk all the time about the game and the meta and our ideas. So it really helps like getting the same idea as a team and getting the same ideas like a group of people. so it can help us like doing the same thing in the game. And like, we're going to play better after that.

Nicholas: How long is the bootcamp? You said two weeks?

Costabile: It depends. We had three bootcamps with Nautilus. The first one was three weeks. The second one was two weeks, I think. And the last one was, the bootcamp itself was like 14 days, but we stood more because we had to go to Singapore and stay in the hotel. So it kind of depends.

Nicholas: And do you hang out online with your teammates? Like, I know you mentioned that you split up after a game, obviously, but do you spend time communicating when you're playing online as well? Like in between the matches, are you building like a rapport together? or is it really just like, we just want to play together and don't associate too much outside of the game?

Costabile: Everything that has one like performance in Dota, ultimately they're like friends with each other. It's really hard to just like go in, play the game and just like disperse and not talk to each other because I'm sure we've all done MOBAs as well, but Dota mostly is just like, it's just a team game. Everything revolves around like trusting your teammates and like having the same idea. So you do kind of have to be like friends if you're a team. Otherwise, like if we have like a bad mood, everyone's going to feel it and they're not going to like try as hard they would, right? So it's just really important that you're actually friends and like playing with each other. So you can like, it does help you playing better.

Nicholas: Because you have to communicate a lot during the game, right? You're making a lot of decisions together.

Costabile: It's communication. It's like thinking the same play because a lot of times like people, let's go this, this side, let's go A side and someone else goes like, let's go B side. So like, if you don't like trust each other or like agree with each other's ideas, a lot of times like someone's going to say A, someone's going to say B. And like that can happen in MOBA games in Dota because you're just going to lose because it's mostly about doing the same play, doing the same thing and like trusting each other. Better team who trusts them, who trusts each other is going to do better.

Nicholas: So you know what your teammates are going to do in certain situations without them having to say it?

Costabile: Yes. It's pretty much like how the experience has went. At first we were a good team and we're like very good individuals, but like we're not meshing well as we are right now. Because either we didn't know like what the other wants to do or we didn't agree on it. And now after all this one year we've been playing together, we were playing pretty well. Unfortunately we didn't make it, but I think we were playing very well. And I think we came to the, to the spot that everyone's like thinking, everyone knows what the other one's going to do without even saying it. We already know.

Nicholas: And nevertheless, Dota is a game where you are constantly sort of updating people on what's happening from your perspective, right? Do you still do that? Or you know each other so well, you don't even have to talk as much.

Costabile: Yeah. So it's hard because you actually like know what each other are doing and also give new information all the time. So like both things have to happen at the same time. So if I actually have to explain a play, explain what you're thinking in the middle of the game, you're probably going to lose. The other thing is not arguing with each other, right? They're not like explaining what they're supposed to do. And they're actually like taking the next step, giving you information, like saying what's the next play. So that's when it helps. Because if you don't have like trashy explain or arguing game, we're going to play way faster. We're going to like come up with new ideas, come with new details and it helps a lot.

Nicholas: It sounds like a very tiring game. How long is a match normally?

Costabile: It's about 35, 40 minutes. It's very long.

Nicholas: And do you know what should be happening at every like 30 second mark? You have a sense of, Oh, we should be here already. Or, or does each game play out differently enough that you can't do that?

Costabile: Every game's different from the other one, but every 30 seconds you kind of need to like know what you're going to do or what you're going to do as a team. So that's why it's very hard. Cause it's always the same map is always the same. It's the same game, right? But like, you just, you kind of just like, it's different every single game also because the circumstances change, the heroes change and it's kind of a mix of both. You don't have like this script that you can follow always. You need to be talking all the time. Like what's the next step.

Nicholas: And do you think of it in terms of like, um, like chapters of the game that are 30 seconds long or shorter than that or longer, or it just depends on, on what's going on?

Costabile: I mean, usually it depends like the, the first minutes of the game where you're kind of like, don't talk, it doesn't change much because they're always in the same setup. You're always playing like lanes, quote unquote, what do you call it? And then as long as the game goes on, like it changes a bit, you have more time to like process and like make a new plan.

Nicholas: Do you know how many times you click per minute or per second? I mean, are you clicking like madly? Like I've seen.

Costabile: I'm not really sure. I play a, another mobile was called heroes of new earth. They actually had a stats about. the APM was like about one 70, but Dota doesn't have it, but everyone like, I'm sure every, every pro player has a very high APM.

Oni (ApeNoun): Heroes of new earth.

Sasquatch: That's a throwback.

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah. Play that a little in between Dota one and two.

Costabile: Yeah. I play a lot.

Nicholas: Do you guys worry about like RSI or do you do stretches or something?

Costabile: Yeah. So I know it's really important and I should be doing it. I don't know. I know I should do it. Yeah. It's very important. We also have this tradition that every time we play a game, at least we try our best. We don't really talk about the game after the first few minutes after the game's done, because usually we lose after the first few minutes, when you talk about the game, we were really emotional. Yeah. So you're not going to say like, really things are actually true. We're just going to like spit up emotions. So we have this tradition to like walk away from the PC and like chill for two minutes and then get up and like, at least when you're offline, right. And get up and like talk about the game somewhere else.

Nicholas: Have you learned things about managing your emotions through the last year?

Costabile: Of course. That was the biggest part of it. I think emotions and like relationship. You're kind of being in a Dota team. I'm sure it's also works with other MOBAs. Being a high level MOBA team is kind of being in a relationship, but like with four other dudes, whatever it's real. Cause you feel like in a bad mood, you don't like one of them. You're just going to play worse. And like, you kind of have to think all the time. So it's actually a lot about emotions and like relationships with each other.

Nicholas: How many hours a week are you all like in contact, like communicating in real time, spending time together?

Costabile: It depends when it comes up to big tournaments, we kind of get up every single day, except for one day of the week that we take a day off. And when it's more casual, we would take like five days, whatever, up to like, I That's intense. Yup.

Nicholas: So is there any lessons you can share with people who don't get to spend five days a week with a few other people playing, playing the same game? What, what, how do you manage to keep the, I don't know, the mood up or, or not get too frustrated? Is there, did you learn anything in particular you can share?

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah.

Costabile: I was playing Dota and games in general. It started as a hobby for me, right? I was just playing for fun. I was like kind of good at it, but when it became my job, things kind of like shift a lot when you play this thing for a living, like it's very stressful because especially Dota, we were not sponsored by now. If you don't win in Dota, you actually don't make like any money because I mean, you kind of do with the new DPC system, but it's very little compared to like people who are actually like winning tournaments. I know like League of Legends Brazil teams in Brazil, they, most of their money actually don't come out out of tournaments. They come out of like sponsors, like social media being the team house or whatever, like they don't have this extra pressure to like tournament. well. Not as like the complete opposite. You kind of have to win tournaments and win all the time. So it's actually very stressful, but it's a thing I love. It's my passion. And when is this hard work, you know, actually win is very rewarding. It's like, it's kind of like an explosion of emotions. Like when you lose, you're really sad when you win. And like, it's like one of the best feelings in the world.

Nicholas: What's the kind of prize like for the top team? How much does each person walk away with?

Costabile: Uh, it depends if we're talking about the international. Yeah. I think the last year, let me check. The first place was $18 million. So they got like $18 million split up with the Oregon amongst five players. But it depends on which tournament. the international is odd, but the other ones are like kind of variates.

Sasquatch: Yeah. I mean, if you cut that by eight, it's like over 2 million each, something like that, and the eight, you know, eight would be five players and maybe the coach and manager and org like cutting, cutting some way, but more, more. so it should go to the players than the other three.

Nicholas: Wild, wild. That's great. And, and you played professionally previously also, right?

Sasquatch: Uh, I used to play a game called Starcraft professionally, Starcraft two. Um, so I actually dropped out of high school to go live in a team house in Texas back in the day and, uh, when Starcraft two was like a popular game. And, uh, yeah, it was, it was a good experience. Inevitably my, my family definitely was like, you have to go back to school and do that route, but you know, I enjoyed the experience and it kind of got me out of my shell, so to speak, when I was just like a closet, a gamer nerd, instead I lived with some other nerds, so I could be, you know, at least a little bit more sociable.

Nicholas: That's a wild experience. And coming away from that, obviously you kept your passion for games, but. Uh, did you have a specific feeling that made you want to do this? or it's the opportunity of nouns that made you want to experiment? or was there something specific about ownership or compensation or something?

Sasquatch: Yeah. I mean, uh, e-sports has always been near and dear to my heart. So even when I was at college, I started the like e-sports club at my university and helped organize kind of like our collegiate competitive teams. And then you got nouns, like I was just extremely passionate about nouns and the protocol. And it just felt right to bring e-sports into the folds. I think it was just a unique opportunity to combine two passions. And that was what really excited me. Uh, so, you know, I, I think, um, yeah, e-sports and gaming are always going to have a place for me. You know, some games I definitely like more than others and maybe, maybe I'll just like age out of the games, like the games that I like will just die or something and then like all the, all the, I'll just hate all the new ones. And then maybe I'm done with e-sports at that point, but for now, like games aren't like they used to be. Yeah. Yeah. You could say that. Um, you know, like, I, like, I think web three games are like really exciting, but like, man, do I think most of them suck right now? Like, um, none of them are just like, I don't find any of them fun to play at all. And if you're playing for like economic reasons and that's not the same reason than I, that I play a game, you know, so I'm more of a traditionalist with like the counter-strike, the Starcraft league, Dota, those are both fine with me. I played Dota quite a bit. That's why we kind of started with Dota and nouns.

Nicholas: So it's interesting, like the money comes in later in like the international or something, but it's on the basis of the game being somehow compelling to people enough that they want to be really good at it.

Sasquatch: Yeah. I think, um, you know, like the, the crowdfunding mechanism was really clever by valve and they were really the people who started that, um, within e-sports. And that's why the TI prize pool has always been insane. And, uh, you know, and inherently that attracts certain people to check out the game because they see a crazy prize pool tournament and then maybe they give Dota a try. I think that's a big part of, um, you know, I feel like at riot and how they've created this, this huge ecosystem around e-sports within their games. Like it's inherently tied to the free to play model and how they sell cosmetics in game. And it just kind of wraps their ecosystem nicely where people might want to own TSM model in the game or just buy a cause, you know, just to get more involved.

Nicholas: because they, they see a path to becoming like a competitor and that any sports participant really a lot like traditional sports, but the best basketball player wears a certain kind of shoe and everybody wants to wear it.

Sasquatch: Yeah. Yeah. Well said.

Nicholas: And you played a professionally as well, or just a lot?

Oni (ApeNoun): Uh, no, not professionally. I, when I was first starting to be, yeah, it was too early before it wasn't much e-sports or leagues. We lug around our towers and see our team monitors to land events and there'd be a couple hundred dollars in prize pools for whoever was the best at that point. But, um, yeah, by the time stuff had come up, uh, and getting more rails and infrastructure and money and stuff there, I was less competitive, but obviously passionate about the space. So definitely still follow in and play a bit and work in it.

Nicholas: But what were you playing when you were coming up? What were the games?

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah. Mostly first person shooters. So Counter-Strike, uh, Quake 3, Unreal Tournament, uh, Team Fortress 2. And then now, yeah, still dabbling on those sorts of games, a little bit of MOBAs, but then the others, there's Valorant, uh, Apex. I mean, a ton of, ton of FPSs now, but yeah, definitely watch more than I play at this point. So yeah, vicariously through, uh, through the other guys.

Nicholas: Is it more, uh, the professional competitive stuff that you watch or streamers who are more entertaining?

Oni (ApeNoun): For me, almost only competitive, uh, I'll watch them not always in tournaments, but for me, I usually just love to watch the very best, the best people playing of whatever it is. So, so FPSs, or I also really enjoy fighting game. So Street Fighter, Marvel vs. Capcom, those sorts of things, which is, um, another space we are actually, uh, looking at, we've just sponsored Smash Brothers, uh, player, but, but the fighting game space is another opportunity of focus we're looking at. Cause it's kind of on the opposite side of Dota and those ones where there's huge infrastructure, huge millions of dollars in prize pools, the fighting game community is super kind of on the opposite side of the spectrum. Very grassroots, not a lot of prize pools, a lot of people just play and go to these events out of passion and interest and stuff. So we think there's a lot of opportunity there. And when Sassmuff speaking to ROIs earlier, it's a lot, frankly, cheaper or more cost efficient for us to sponsor people there where there's not a lot of money flowing in and competition opportunities. So we think this stuff continues to grow there. That's fighting game is an area we want to expand and I think there's, there's definitely opportunity.

Nicholas: Do you think, uh, more in terms of like partnerships and official events, or do you think if you just, I don't know, did a, a competition and the payout was in crypto people after the first one, people would just start showing up because there's actually money available.

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah. That's a good question. Like, like Sasquatch mentioned, we're doing our first kind of experiment with the tournament, uh, this weekend. And then, and then obviously we'd have to look at kind of the goals of whether it's kind of for fun or spreading the nouns and e-sports name in the space versus. obviously if we put up something where the main goal of the attraction was a large, a large prize pool. Um, I think that would definitely attract, yeah, the, the, the hungriest and most competitive players. So that's definitely something we'll be looking at. We, yeah. For even fighting games, specifically the one we're talking about around this weekend is Dota, but there's, there's orgs or groups or streamers that will run kind of host lobbies or, or online tournaments in the fighting space. And yet we think one of the things we discussed was yeah, hosting events, uh, online tournaments there. And in the winter, uh, we would pay for their kind of flight and lodging and cover their costs to travel out to a big tournament or something like that. So we think there are, there are fun things we can do in that, in that space as well.

Nicholas: Awesome. Uh, do you play, I assume you play socially sometimes in the discord.

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah. The, well, yeah, the, the discord, we have a bunch of people just chatting around, uh, the games we play there, or even I, I saw we've got a, a world of Warcraft channels spun up there now. So even though we're not sponsoring or competitively, they're the people that the nouns just e-sports and gaming community we've seen has just started to. Organically spin up and become just a space for kind of like-minded gamers to get in and chilling in around there.

Nicholas: Awesome. I'm sure there's people listening who will, uh, come hang out and get some games in, uh, guys, this has been awesome. Thank you so much for coming and tell me a little bit about the nouns e-sports team. Uh, it's really cool. And it feels like a place where, yeah, where people who are interested in games and crypto in this like niche of a niche Venn diagram are likely to come hang out and, and, and support the teams.

Oni (ApeNoun): Yeah. Thanks for having us. And yeah, anyone, uh, announced e-sports Twitters in here and then we got the discord there is open and weekly call. So always happy to have other people jump in and get involved.

Sasquatch: Yeah. If you want to build a new sports, come stop by our server. It's just a pretty much anything. So thank you, Nicholas.

Nicholas: Sure thing. And thank you, Costa also for, uh, for telling us a little bit. I think it's super interesting. I mean, frankly, I just love hearing about a professional sports player. Talk about their experience, especially of a sport that is so not relatable at that level of play. It's not really like anything else.

Costabile: Dota environment for sure.

Nicholas: Yeah. So thanks. Uh, thanks for sharing your experience and, uh, thank you everybody for coming to listen and talk to you next week on Friday.

Oni (ApeNoun): Thank you. Thanks later.

Nicholas: See you guys.

Sasquatch: See ya.

Nicholas: Hey, thanks for listening to this episode of web three galaxy brain. to keep up with everything web three, follow me on Twitter at Nicholas with four leading ends. You can find links to the topics discussed on today's episode in the show notes. Podcast feed links are available at web three galaxy brain.com. web three galaxy brain airs live most Friday afternoons at 5. PM. Eastern time, 2200 UTC on Twitter spaces. I look forward to seeing you there.

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