Salad Sits Down With Mr. Gibbs From Xeno Gaming
Salad and Xeno Gaming have officially teamed up to pioneer new monetization models for the gaming industry. In a time where half the world is going stir-crazy, we’d like to do what we can to help keep people playing.
Jared sat down with Xeno Gaming’s Mr. Gibbs (a.k.a. Alex) to discuss what drew us together, the nuances of building a digital business, and how we can build on each other’s foundations.
We met when you helped us spruce up our site. Care to tell the story?
I’ve been on the eSports scene for over ten years, and I’ve been following crypto projects since I first invested into cryptocurrency around 2011. Being young and naïve, I’ve never been successful in whaling millions in any particular crypto. But the blockchain is super fascinating, and I can’t wait to see how it will be used over the next 10–15 years as more than just money.
I first became aware of Salad when a member of both our Discord communities asked me to check it out. I spent a good couple of hours reviewing everything I could find, but there wasn’t much public info on your site at the time.
You came up with one of our first taglines, “AFK the Smart Way.”
“AFK the Smart Way” was very much an epiphany moment. As a business developer, I work on engaging the marketed product’s end-user. It’s best to have a phrase that is super catchy but also makes sense to the market you’re in. “AFK” seemed like the perfect expression to capture the way you use Salad — and isn’t it smart to earn money while you’re away from the keyboard?
Tell us about Xeno Gaming and your CS:GO VIP servers.
Xeno Gaming is an established EU West gaming community, currently centralized around Counter Strike: Global Offensive. We host over 30 “Executes” servers with market-leading plugins that ensure the very best experience for quick warm-up games.
“Executes” is a relatively new game mode appearing in the last few years. Its plugin was initially developed as an open source project by a developer called Splewis, but we’ve worked hard to build on that code to provide stability and purpose to the game mode.
The mode streamlines the main gameplay of CS:GO into the last thirty seconds of a round, where the server gives the Terrorist team a strategy to follow, leaving the Counter-Terrorists guessing on which site to defend or retake.
Our communities mingle on Discord. What do you make of the platform?
Discord’s popularity stems from it being free and well developed with a good UI and overall good UX. They’ve taken the best bits of all our favorite methods of communication and mashed it into a free tool!
The product’s still very much in its early days of development, but I see far more business analytics tools coming in the future as it expands in the market. I’d love to see built-in analytics for activity, usage, engagement, and so forth, along with more granular controls for permissions across the platform.
How much time do you spend answering Discord DMs? I’ve lost track.
In my early days at Xeno Gaming, I would say I spent at least two hours resolving support issues. Now that we have a support system and a passionate staff to process a lot of the support, it’s helped to delegate and mitigate the senior staff’s DMs. Today I had 23 DMs, which is below average, but they were just as time-consuming due to being more involved in nature.
But even with help, you’re still answering every direct message.
I think it’s essential that any business begins to integrate more with their user base in order to survive. We’re in a new age of entertainment where the players, spectators, and end-users are more in control of the outcome than ever before!
Twitch provides a good example of how to empower viewers to support and even control the content with things like BitBot, where users can donate to cause actions on the streamer’s PC. In the end, it comes down to foreplanning based on the example of other companies’ pitfalls.
Do you see gaming evolving to incorporate community input?
Take Apex Legends. Their marketing stunt was amazing! Not even announcing the game until it was released? It surged in popularity and added the revive mechanic to the battle royale genre. But they hadn’t even started development on a season pass or maps — the things every BR needs to survive, especially if you’re free-to-play.
From launch day on, their Reddit community gave them feedback for new features, new maps, and more. But it took months to implement, and unfortunately Apex lost most of its player base back to Fortnite and the rest. This shows, if you don’t conform to the player-base in the free-to-play industry, they’ll just move on. Gamers get bored fast.
Any upcoming projects you’d like to share before we wrap up?
We just released a new feature to block flanking on all of our CS:GO Executes servers, which is something no other provider has access to. It’s already limited griefing around 70%. We used to get around 1,000 reports per day, and now we’re down to 300 on average, a dramatic change.
Our newest project in the final stages of development is our Minecraft server. It will be able to support up to 1,000 members, with a servers for Survival, Skyblock and various PVP game modes. It’s our plan to expand into new games that allow for customization and community interactions, such as GTA V, SQUAD, DayZ, GMod, TF2, and RUST.