Esports Project Management – During the event!

So we’ve discussed planning an esports event budget and a few items to look out for. We’ve also discussed planning an esports tournament. If you’re entirely new to esports project management that’s ok too. So now you have the teams, you’ve set a budget and it’s LAN time. All the players have arrived and shit has hit the fan.

This will be a part 1, there’s a lot that can happen. Here are some things that can go wrong and what to look out for (I’ve experienced all of them I believe). Some of these are unavoidable but proper planning, keeping cool and experience will help guide you through these.

  • Broken PC’s for a player – Yes, these things happen. Ideally you’ve tested and tested thoroughly but they can still happen. For your stage PC’s try to have a solid 10 that are similar (not worse or different monitors) to the practice room PC’s. You can rent the stage PC’s or make your own if you have quite a few events. Just ensure they work thoroughly in a few different languages and settings. The easiest solution is to have an exact replica of the same PC that can be swapped out for the player to minimize downtown. If you’re using drives you can swap them out quickly. If you’re using networking images you can quickly download the players image on their PC.
  • Bad windows licenses – Yes, this one is really random and unfortunate. Make sure you validate you have good keys that won’t force a shutdown DURING THE TOURNAMENT. :).
  • Bad internet / low bandwidth. This goes into planning. For example, if the hotel has slow internet ie 100 up / 100 down for everyone with no dedicated speed for your LAN and then a patch hits, it’s going to be excruciating to download a patch. It may take multiple hours to download something as simple as a 50mb patch if everyone is trying at the same time.
  • Mismatch between what the sponsors / even organizer said they’d do. This one is really tough and you need to get super creative. For example, the stage PC’s you requested were supposed to be custom with drive bays that you can swap out or you were supposed to have the capability to create custom network images. Instead, you get a traveling PC that has no drive bay and is incredibly difficult to open up. What’s the solution? Well, you may need to void a warranty or two so double check. Getting creative is key in esports and this is no exception.
  • You have no internet. Yes, this legitimately happened to me. The venue had no internet and in order to setup we had to ask the venue to drop their own line as a backup. The sponsor eventually put a line in but one of them wasn’t working at all so we kept the backup in case the main line went down.
  • Wrong Equipment. You get shipped DVI cables are HDMI 1.0 cables and your monitor supports 60hz HDMI rather than 144hz. This one sucks as it’s miscommunication generally. If you’re doing consistent events you really want to make sure you have your own gear you know and trust. If you’re relying on others be sure to double check everyone knows the difference and why it’s important.
  • Your staff accidentally runs an ad during the match / interview. Ouch. This one will piss off some people without adblock. Be ready to release a statement and apologize immediately. Make sure you get in front of it.
  • The lights of the venue are too bright or it’s too cold / hot. Try and visualize yourself during the matches AT THE TIME AND PLACE OF THE EVENT. Sometimes you go for a tour and you think it’s great. Try and go through a checklist of “does this place have any heating if we’re doing a tournament here in winter” or other checklists that are good for player quality of life.
  • Tournament runs late – Sometimes this happens, proper planning is important to make sure you have enough time and days to run a smooth tournament.
  • Your tournament format sucks. Your tournament format is getting complaints from players and fans – Yes, this is where planning in esports, talking to teams and players and just knowing the space is so important. If your tournament format sucks you’re going to get bad feedback. Make note of it and keep track of it as a lessons learned in esports
  • You blew your budget on hand warmers. Just kidding, but seriously. Players use A LOT of hand warmers so make sure you have a bunch.

These are just a few of things that can go wrong during an event. I’ll write up a part 2 shortly.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions!

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