This week has seen some pretty crazy news in terms of the North Carolina Fighting Game Community and the overall fighting game community. You wouldn’t know too much about what’s going on because most of the fighting game media outlets have failed to report on the movement yet again. But, no big suprise there as the news does not involve Level|Up, CrossCounter, UltraChenTv, a famous Japanese player or the West Coast right? So sad, but that’s life.
Let’s start with a breakdown of what’s happened in the past few days.
Empire Arcadia Teams With FNEX
Anyone worth their salt in the fighting game community knows Empire Arcadia and their leader, TriForce. They have a long history in the scene that’s both bad and good. FightNation Ex (FNEX) on the other hand is a bit different with there new up-and-coming force who thus far, has a great reputation in the community, especially here in the south.
Both organizations are looking to strengthen their position in the scene with a big emphasis on expanding the Empire and helping the North East as TriForce has mentioned in one interview. Empire Arcadia will focus on the flagship players of their organization and big picture movements where FNEX will focus on everything else, likely player management of the not-so-big names that are trying to make their mark in the scene. At least, that’s how I understood everything as a whole while referencing how Empire Arcadia operates their organization.
Di3mini0n Leaves Broken Tier
With the partnership of FNEX and Empire Arcadia, in comes the departure of Di3mini0n from Broken Tier to REJOIN the ranks of Empire Arcadia. Di3mini0n is a very powerful player who will only continue to do amazing things, leaves Broken Tier with a serious loss to their organization as a whole. On the opposite end, Empire Arcadia will receive a huge boost due to this new acquisition and strengthen their position at majors all over the nation, if not the world, with a pretty solid lineup of serious contenders.
That said, there has been some speculation on this departure. Broken Tier by right is no small contender themselves. Without Di3mini0n, they still boost a solid team of Yipes, Viscant, MarlinPie and Clockw0rk. With such a heavy lineup, you could imagine the team is likely not the reason for the departure. It seems (as in me speculating) the exit is mainly due to the funding and the support of Di3mini0n on their team to compete competitively. Therefore, it seems Empire Arcadia is able to provide that funding and support that Di3mini0n seeks as he comes to end of his Broken Tier contract.
Now that Empire Arcadia have made some major plays in the past week, you may be wondering why and most importantly how? I think the why is pretty much obviously, but the how may not be as obvious. Everything that’s happen seems to not have happened without some power behind the throne as they say. The Video X Games (VXG)–the crew hailing out of St. Maarten–is now either sponsoring Empire Arcadia or directly sponsoring select players from Empire Arcadia. My guess, VXG is sponsoring the entire organization where TriForce decides who gets what and when. How big that sponsorship may be in terms of actual dollars is still unknown, but it’s enough to reactivate Empire Arcadia from it’s known suspension mode to temp both FNEX and Di3mini0n as well possibly more in the next few weeks to join the empire.
Why The Sponsorship?
That’s still mostly up in the air until more and more information comes out. As with any sponsorship, it’s about driving some type of awareness, influence or return. Many companies, including the ones I’ve worked for spend thousands-to-millions a year in influence marketing among other types of marketing for their products and services. VXG is likely looking to do the same for either the resorts, their new event or maybe even the entire island itself. The more control they can have over you as a consumer or a gamer, the greater the chances you may buy into what they are selling. How they make that happen is selected specific community influencers (like TriForce) who act as brand ambassadors who recruit other ambassadors who you love and follow. They all tie together in one big circle feeding the players, feeding the organization and feeding the sponsors in hopes of some type of tangible return. What that return may be, is what will slowly become more clear in the coming months.
When you look at this from the outside, you see a old video game organization that was riddled with many problems over the past few years receiving a good financial backing to restructure and reorganize for the better. You also see a new sponsor coming on the scene that’s both trying to help their own major event, trickle that love outside of their community and possibly even promote assorted brands, products and services in between.
However, this is only the beginning from what TriForce and Co. have teased already. There is still much more to come down the line. What that may be is still very much unknown. Both Empire Arcadia and FNEX have been very silent on what their next moves may entail. Thus, here are some predictions of my own.
Empire Arcadia Acquiring More Players
My best guess is the empire will still headhunt some more quality players for their lineup. One in particular could be Mike Ross simply due to TriForces recent tweets to Mike Ross in terms of meeting and discussing the future.
[pullquote2 align=”center” textColor=”#ffffff”]@ThatMikeRossGuy I don’t know either, I just said I’m interested in getting you on board our new division. But you know this already. –TriForce[/pullquote2]
Whether or not Mike Ross jumps on board is up for debate, but money of course rules all in this scene. I’m sure for the right sponsorship, Mike Ross or other big names if not him particularly would be happy to jump on board if that meant free rides to majors. Regardless of who specifically, my best assumption is that we will see more movements on the empires end in terms of getting those big names on the team to try and take the scene by storm.
Repairing The Bad Reputation
Empire Arcadia does not have a very good reputation. You can tell from the recent interview with Di3mini0n that VXG knows about this reputation and they are still moving forward with sponsoring Empire Arcadia. My assumption is that VXG will focus on damage control and helping repair that bad reputation by trying to steer everyone towards looking at the bright new future rather than the shady past. Thus, expect a dramatic change in Empire Arcadia’s attitude, maybe even in a re-branding that’s focused on repairing that bad reputation to focus on the new empire.
I can’t imagine all this new money coming into the scene without some type of return on either side of the fence. Let’s be real here, VXG may not see the benefit of promoting in this scene. The empire will have to capitalize on this as much as possible with decent revenue streams just in case of fire. They will likely look towards expanding to new product lines like t-shirts and other swag items like everyone else. I’m sure we will see a new line come out from Empire Arcadia or VXG featuring both FNEX and top player names like Di3mini0n and Sandford Kelly.
I can’t help but think about the negativity that might happen in the foreseeable future for both Empire Arcadia and their new sponsor VXG. That’s because I work in marketing, especially in the video game industry where I worked on AAA multi-million dollar games for mass consumption worldwide. Therefore, when I try to look at everything that’s been revealed thus far, it’s hard to see a good return on investment for VXG (whatever that may secretly be for them).
Besides all the negativity towards the empire, I’m mostly referring to the fighting game scene as a whole. The average fighting game consumer is not spending a lot of money on their hobbies each year. You can see that as Empire Arcadia as well many others struggled to retain and keep sponsors for their organizations. What influence they bring, is simply not enough to really temp most companies to sink some investment into their pockets. So, it’s hard to see that being successful for VXG too, at least for fighting games.
Don’t get me wrong, I have high hopes for all those involved. I hate to see any fail regardless of any reputation or any personal feelings towards specific parties involved. That’s because if VXG and Empire Arcadia fail, it impacts innocent bystanders like FNEX and other critical elements in the community. Thus, I want them to succeed in building the community and in return, give them some type of return whether that’s more spending or simply awareness that VXG exists.
Whatever the case, if you’re looking to expand, don’t hesitate to call me up too.