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Why I Built an Audio-only Platform For Esports

Brett Doyle
Jun 12, 2018 · 4 min read

Most of you reading this will already know that Esports is blowing up right now. At the forefront of this massive expansion is live video streaming via platforms like Twitch, Youtube, and Facebook. So why in the hell would someone build a platform that leverages only audio for an industry born out of visual streams?

I am here to tell you the short story of why I built Strymer and what I hope it will become one day.

Let’s start back in 2015 when I discovered a game that would pretty much change my life — Dota 2. Let me preface this by saying I have always been a gamer (Blades of Steel on Nintendo being the first), but Dota 2 was different. The game was so much more complex than anything I had played, and being someone who is obsessed with being good at everything — it sucked me in. After hours of playing and still being terrible I discovered VODs of professional players playing certain heroes. This led to me mimicking players on heroes like Faceless Void (Universe) and Timbersaw (Moo). What it also did was lead me into the world of Esports.

The first big Dota 2 tournament I watched was The Summit 4 (shout out to BTS), and I was hooked. The level of play was incredible and the production level of the tournament itself blew away what I was expecting to see. From then on I tried to catch every tournament I could — even attending the Boston Major and Dreamleague Final in Sweden.

Fast-forward to the Starladder iLeague Starseries of 2016 and my life had changed quite a bit. I was no longer a 15 minute commute from work, but an hour and a half, a good chunk of which was by car. This meant I couldn’t really watch much of the games so naturally I tried the Twitch Audio-only option in their app so I could listen. The experience was disheartening and I ended up having to play the stream on my phone at 180p so that I could listen. I didn’t think much of it until qualifiers for The International started up. I had the same issues and they were also compounded by the fact that if I wanted to catch a game on a different stream it was a process pretty dangerous when you are driving. That’s when I had the initial idea for a platform dedicated to vocal broadcasting of Esports.

That idea would stick with me for a year and a half until I decided to give it a go. I had become even more into Esports and not just Dota 2, but COD and CS:GO as well, and I kept coming across the same problem. That problem was again compounded when tournaments would be on during work. I didn’t want people to know I had a video stream up, but unfortunately I had no other choice but to pull it up. I figured there is no way I could be the only one — so I looked at some data and saw that Esports fans had a high rate of employment and were making pretty good money relative to the internet population. This meant there were working professionals out the, like me, consuming Esports. So I decided what the hell — I quit my job, hired a couple freelance developers and set out on my journey.

After searching for developers for developer for 2 months I finally found the right people (shout out to Audea). They understood exactly what I was going for and in 3 months they delivered an MVP that blew away my expectations (I actually wasn’t 100% sure this was doable). The MVP is not meant to be perfect, but a close representation of what the idea is meant to be, and the Strymer MVP is definitely that.

So where do we go from here? Strymer is obviously in a very early MVP stage. My goal is to build out a small community of users across multiple Esports that will help us build the future of this product. I will share the two big objectives for getting to a BETA version of the platform. #1 is lose the dependency on Twitch — this means integrating directly with digital production software suites so we can consume the audio feed directly. This allows us SO much more flexibility and will help us deliver a much smaller bandwidth stream to users. #2 is build out an infrastructure for gaming and Esports podcasts. I really mean it when I say I want Strymer to be the voice of Esports.

As our journey continues I will try and post some more blog type stuff (if you guys enjoy this), so be on the lookout for that. Cheers guys!

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