Esports: Gathering and Growing Communities with Austin Smith
A lot of our focus is on pro and varsity-level esports and gaming, but the recreational esports community is really taking off, especially now that the COVID-19 pandemic has put a hold on physical sporting events. Today’s guest is Austin Smith, who is the cofounder and CEO of Mission Control, a St. Louis-based company with a mission to gather and grow communities, focusing on recreational esports. Mission Control utilizes the nature of gaming to create digitally organized social experiences that drive connection through shared passions and playful competition, not profits and competitive play. In this episode, Austin shares the founding story and vision for Mission Control, from the organizations they work with, to how the league management software and mobile app actually work. We discuss the unique scoring types they offer, what differentiates Mission Control from their competitors, and gaming as a social experience, as well as the market opportunity for software like this. Along with this, we explore why Mission Control only promotes recreational play, and what it is like being a startup in St. Louis. Tune in today to find out more about gathering and growing communities in the recreational league esports space!
Key Points From This Episode:
- About Austin Smith and an introduction to Mission Control.
- The types of organizations Mission Control works with, from college intramural rec departments to private institutions like YMCA.
- How the Mission Control league management software and mobile app work.
- There are currently 11 games on the platform, with a larger array coming soon!
- Adding new games and unique scoring types, creating new ways to play a game.
- How COVID-19 has impacted Mission Control
- The integration required to support a new game.
- Relationships and partnerships between Mission Control and game publishers.
- Mission Control’s competitors and what differentiates them – their hyper-focus on rec and gaming as a social experience, not a competitive one.
- The market opportunity for multiplayer community gaming.
- Why Mission Control is only interested in building software that promotes recreational play.
- The advantages of building a startup in St. Louis.
- Austin talks about how Mission Controlraised a $1.75 million seed financing round.
- How Austin thinks the pandemic will impact the gaming ecosystem and what part Mission Control will play.