G-Star 2017 is currently being held in Busan. Seeing all these games from different genres in the convention, it was nice to see a familiar face. This face was the head of the global publishing unit for Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory, Yoon Tae Won.
Vainglory will be holding their world championships in Singapore on the 14th of December. This tournament will be held for 4 days. And also, Super Evil Megacorp has successfully received over 19 million USD, from investors in summer. The positive news was not the end here. Delivering a much needed announcement of their new and finalized 5v5 format to their fans, the hearts of the fans were filled with enthusiasm and complacent.
Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory has been treading a nonstop spur. We can only wonder what the current and future plans are for Vainglory through the eyes of Yoon Tae Won. What will be their goal for the future to come? How will the new 5v5 format be like and how will the world championships play out? Although we only had a short period of time at G-Star with Yoon Tae Won, we had just enough time to gain an insight into Vainglory and his overflowed enthusiasm.
Q. Great to see you again. It has been a long time. Could you first introduce yourself to the readers?
Nice to meet you guys. I am Yoon Tae Won, and I am in charge of global publishing for Super Evil Megacorp’s Vainglory. To make it clear, I don’t work for the creation side of the game but more so the global business side of Vainglory.
Q. Starting from last summer, I have only heard positive news about Vainglory. Could you give us a quick summary of what has happened from then to now?
I think one of the biggest things that has happened to us since last summer is the investment we received for over 19 million USD. Because the winners of the East Asia Championships were both Korean teams, two Korean teams got to qualify for the world champions in Singapore on December. On top of all this, I have been told that we have sold out on tickets for the event in December. Lastly, I am very excited for the new 5v5 format to be released for next year.
Q. As you have said, you guys have successfully reached the investment benchmark of over 19 million USD. What aspects are you planning to expand for Vainglory?
First of all, we recruited about 80 more developers for our team. We have just expanded our office. We are also looking into sponsoring and helping the eSports scene.
Q. From a user’s perspective, a user is hungry to find out more about the new 5v5 format. In what direction is the 5v5 format roughly going to be?
Although it is hard to reveal anything specific at this moment, I think we can reveal a tiny bit. You can assume it will be a totally different game from what it is now. We have heard from the developers that 'Shouldn’t we just release a Vainglory 2?' and that people can expect that it will feel like a completely different game. Of course if we just released a Vainglory 2, you guys would have to download the game twice. We decided against that (laughs).
As always, I want to remind everyone that just because Vainglory is a mobile game does not mean it cannot perform on par with PC games. As much as we are confident that we can perform on par with PC games, we want to create and introduce a style of 5v5 gameplay that has not been seen on any other similiar PC games.
Q. If that is the case, why did you intent to release the 5v5 format?
First when we released the 3v3 format, the biggest thing that we were concerned about was the eSports side of it. Because the basis of eSports is dominated by the 5v5 format, fights happen everywhere across the map and becomes hard to keep track of the flow of the game. Because of this reason, we considered the viewer’s point of view and decided 3v3 was more comfortable. Even now, we believe this to be true.
However over time, we discovered a noticeable downside for the 3v3 format. As eSports evolved over time, we discovered that players could easily identify picks/strategy. Especially in the professional scene, there has been a limitation in the number of options a professional player has. In conclusion, 3v3 format does have the upside of being incredibly fun to watch and fast paced. However looking at the deeper and more advanced state of the game, the 3v3 format does have a lot of disadvantages.
Q. Does this mean you have changed the direction for Vainglory?
That is correct. In other words, you can say that the new format will make the game a little bit more hardcore. We have also matched the game engine to be compatible with this.
Q. If this is the case, how has the development process been doing?
Yes. Looking at the development process side, the in-game aspects are almost finished. Now all we need to work on is balancing. There has also been an increase in graphic adjustments. There is still a lot to do until it is ready.
Q. Going onto another subject, you have announced that the world championships in Singapore will be held on the 14th of December. Could you briefly introduce us to this?
Throughout 2017, 6 regions had to participate in qualifiers. 2 teams from each region could gain entry to the championships. In this year, Southeast Asia and China are now participants for international competitions. Coming into the championships, all 12 teams have made it. Because of all the teams improving from before, there will be not a single game where it will be not entertaining.
Q. If you had to rate each team for the championships what would it be? Do you think the Korean teams can win the championships again?
I still believe the strongest teams are the two Korean teams. I strongly believe they will be the almost certain winners. Because the Korean teams will be placed in opposite groups, I am a bit worried that there is a relatively high chance that it will be a Korean vs Korean finals. Because Korean teams always shown a great performance, I feel like the other teams are not yet up to par with the Koreans.
To point out another thing, Korea and NA have a rivalry. Once in an Amazon event, a Korean team got their very first loss. After this, NA gained some confidence that there Korean teams can be beaten. Whenever the Koreans get a chance, I have no doubt they will cut away NA’s pride. I think the rivalry between NA and KR is healthy for the game. It will be a very interesting set of games.
I am excited for the underdogs of Southeast Asia, China, and South America. I would rank the top 3 regions to be Korea, NA, and EU. However within these underdog regions, we do not know if their determination will upset the other regions. I am excited that there is a possibility they might reach the quarterfinals, even the semi finals.
The last hidden team is Japan. Japan has entered as a wildcard entry. Japan isn’t necessarily a bad team, but people say that they cannot do as well as they could because of the Koreans. Japan has not been able to show a prominent performance in the eSports scene other than fighting games like Tekken or Street Fighter. However, it is very entertaining to see Japan show a good performance in Vainglory.
Q. WIll the 5v5 mode also be put into the eSports scene as well?
For now, we are going to maintain the 3v3 format for the world championships. The eSports team will decided when we want to implement the 5v5 format into eSports. Of course, it will be really excited to see. I, personally, can't wait.
Q. What do you think will be necessary for the improvement of the basis of eSports for Vainglory?
I think I will have to send this over to the eSports panel. I have another meeting to go to after this very soon(laughs). If we want to improve eSports, we need to make sure the all participating players, teams, caster, and broadcasters can make money. However right now, it is not the case. At this moment, no game has yet been able to give desirable amount of money to every participant in the eSports scene.
Now, eSports have the potential to succeed. I know deep inside that it has the potential to do so. However, eSports is still a tiny tadpole. I used to say this all the time when Vainglory was at its early stages. Mobile eSports is viable as well. It will be as big as PC eSports. However moving aside from being on par with PC eSports, the real problem is that eSports needs to be accepted as an actual sport.
Q. What do you think appeals people to eSports?
For example, ‘A’ game's championship received an incredible amount of viewers on stream. This ranked up to almost 38 million people. After the world cup, the famous Super Bowl that everyone loves so much reached a viewership of roughly 110 million. Looking at only the numbers, the average viewer for ‘A’ game for eSports is only ⅓ of how many viewers watch the Super Bowl. Even so if people ask, 'did eSports even get ⅓ of the viewership compared to the Super Bowl' it can be said that this is entirely not true.
So many of the sports scenes out there heavily rely on how many viewers they receive. They succeed by the number of viewers and sponsors. One way to judge this would be if you would calculate the income of one person watching. The calculation of how much a person sponsors/pays for a sport they are watching. For NFL, it has been shown that an average person contributes 20 US dollars. Meanwhile, ‘A’ game yields a dollar per person. From a pure viewer's perspective, eSports is ⅓ of the NFL viewership. From the income point of view, eSports is 1/20 of NFL. Changing this will be the route of eSports’ success.
If we start to focus on this aspect of eSports, we need to start thoroughly thinking about viewers, sponsors, and brands.
Q. In your viewpoint, what do you aim for the future of Vainglory?
Overall, our goal is to invest in the eSports scene more and help develop it. We have been investing in eSports, but we want to create an effective business in the eSports scene. If this effective business is possible, we can further return the profits from eSports back into it. This will help eSports to improve even more than it already has.
In essence, we want to create Vainglory a game that everyone can enjoy. Sadly, we still need more time.
Q. Lastly, could you say a few words to the players who enjoy Vainglory and also about the new 5v5 format?
The 5v5 mode. Although it is very difficult to say anything specific at this moment, please be excited for it in the future! The 5v5 mode is going better than I could have imagined. We are planning to show you guys aspects of the 5v5 format that you haven’t seen anywhere else. We are not trying to create a game that is necessarily better than the PC, but to create a game that is on par with it. With the new 5v5 format coming out soon, this is our first step. I just want to thank all the players and supporters that have enjoyed the game so far!
A managing editor who can do more things than you think.