Welcome to [xplayn]. I first published those words in 2001, in my welcome post on XplayN.com. We wanted to serve the Counter-Strike community with a professional community site, written and run in a tone that was fitting for that environment (so, lots of “your mom” jokes).
It was just me and one guy I had been in Counter-Strike Clan with. The other guy was an awesome programmer, thought very logical about everything and to this day I never understood why he signed up for all that work as a volunteer: I don’t think he really liked me very much. As clan mates we would usually get into stupid arguments about stupid little things, as people we clearly didn’t work together.
But, somehow, we created great work together. We somehow made each other do better work and Xplayn.com more or less became the Counter-Strike community in Denmark. Not really a website for the community, but the community website. I hope that makes sense. While we in periods of time had some competitors here and there, I would say that Counter-Strike in Denmark was Xplayn.
It’s hard to describe what an early esports community felt like back then, because the world was so different. There was no social media: that was xplayn. There was no reddit: that was xplayn. If you wanted to be a part of the CS community in Denmark, you had to go to xplayn. We organized a Danish ladder, got the big teams to actually play each other in public (trust me, if was very different back then), organized every qualifier for international tournaments that took, started an Internet.cafe, ran the Danish national team, started ESL Denmark, I could go on and on. 90% of all esports activities in Denmark was probably done by us.
If I am honest with myself, I don’t think I have ever worked as hard or as dedicated on anything in my life. Of all the things I have done, Xplayn was the one that somehow triggered the most passion. I worked day and night, doing alternating day and night shifts at a gaming cafe, working on my website whenever I possibly could.
In 2005 my last competitor closed down. I had won. After 4 years of basically not sleeping, being really hungry for food most of the time and not once making a rent payment on time, it was over. I had an office, I had employees, I had learned to sell and find sponsors. Xplayn literally ran every aspect of esports in Denmark that I wanted to touch, and I came to this terrifying conclusion: I had nothing left to win.
I sold Xplayn a few weeks later. In hindsight I wish I hadn’t done that, but I really needed a change in my life.
So now, 16 years later, I am working on the next version of Xplayn. The world is a very different place today, esports is basically unrecognizable compared to where we started. That’s amazing. Everything is amazing. I hope the next Xplayn will be amazing as well, time will tell. I think it’s fair to say that Xplayn will be a new kind of esports site, sometimes you just don’t know if something is a great idea, before you actually build it. This is one of those times.
I have no idea when we will be ready to launch, but I wanted to get started, I wanted to start finding that passion that once consumed most of my day, 7 days a week. That’s probably unrealistic at the age of 42, but the thing about passion is that it can sometimes transform unrealistic to real.
So, welcome to Xplayn. I have no idea what comes next.