Most gamers know Bravado Gaming, which has certainly become one of the most successful multi-gaming organisations (MGOs) in the country. But where is Bravado going? What are its plans? What is the organisation hoping to achieve for e-Sports? We asked Andreas 'Cent' Hadjipaschali, Bravado Managing Director, a whole bunch of questions in order to delve deeper into the brains behind the organisation.
Bravado is moving from just being an organisation to a brand, says Hadjipaschali.
“Bravado is working towards becoming a gaming brand in the centre of e-sports in South Africa – a lifestyle that gamers can follow. We want to be a home to the top players in South Africa, simultaneously helping them and growing e-Sports in South Africa. It's quite a lengthy and complicated step-by-step progress but we’re getting there,” he says.
Hadjipaschali says Bravado aims to cater and supply its players with what they deserve, putting them on an international scale and showing the world what we can do.
“We want to help South Africa as a whole be recognised as a competitive gaming country and do what needs to be done to grow the e-Sports scene,” he says.
For this year, Bravado has been reaching out to gaming organisations to find partnerships where there can be mutual benefit. The organisation is also looking to run several events much like its upcoming Call of Duty 4 (CoD4) Free-for-all (FFA) event. (Registrations for that close on 20 June.)
“At the moment we’re looking at setting up Headquarters in order to aid the development and innovation of upcoming projects as things are becoming very intense. There are some really good things coming up – a lot of time and investment has been put into these projects and it will all soon become a solid concept!” Hadjipaschali says.
Recently Bravado has begun to hire staff professionally. This is quite a new concept on the local scene which relies mainly on volunteer staff. Why has Bravado taken this route?
“As a gaming organisation we are centered between the current market and the potential market, which means we need to supply for both – whether it's about results or information on events or creating knowledge for potential gamers in the potential scene.
“In order to do this we need to make sure that we have the right writers, passing that knowledge towards one or the other markets. In order to do is professionally we need to hire.
Andreas 'Cent' Hadjipaschali
“I do not believe in two months hard work and two months break. It should all be consistent with what we are working towards and that is the reason why you find articles on things that are ‘obvious’ to current gamers but new to ‘potential gamers’, for example.
“I would like to see our site expand to a stage where writers can be rewarded even more in the future for what they’re doing as we have some really ambitious and hard working writers. Some of the writers even have the potential to get involved in upcoming projects,” he says.
Hadjipaschali adds that the website isn't finished yet but it is getting there.
“The point of the website is to create interactivity. We’re working towards new functions and features that will make it even more interactive, slowly but surely,” he says.
Partnership with Iconik
Bravado has partnered to support Iconik Gaming, a Battlefield 3 team. It's an interesting direction for the MGO – rather than keeping things in house it's taking its knowledge further out.
“It's going very well with Iconik. The point was to take an individual who has had experience with the Bravado Gaming Battlefield 3 squad and have him lead a team of his own with new players who have the potential to become really good,” Hadjipaschali says. “Our aim with this sort of thing is to spread knowledge about how the game should be played on a competitive basis and bring this to new blood.”
Hadjipaschali calls that “new blood” the future of gaming in RSA.
“This comes directly back to the concept of ‘spreading knowledge’ and helping individuals improve their gameplay but, most importantly, to help ambitious individuals get to where they want to get to,” he says.
Bravado's success factor
Bravado has been around a long time and is moving from success to success. But how, when so many other local MGOs have failed?
Many local MGOs tend to come against similar problems – a lack of communication, relational fallouts, misunderstandings around expectations, and generally a lack of consistency, to name a few. But consistency appears to be something Bravado is doing well.
“[I think our success factors include] taking it easy and steady, and building a good foundation in order to carry out all ventures and goals. Many of the MGOs in South Africa strive for a few months but then either become really quiet or break up.
“It's taken us five years to get to where we are now and it's not an easy task. If I can give any advice to MGOs it is to make sure you don’t try jump from step one to step five but just follow all the steps slowly and steadily. One simple error can put you in lots of crap and even cost you your MGO,” he says.
Hadjipaschali says the competitive gaming market, in this country, doesn't even really exist. He adds that this is something the community needs to remember, especially leaders of MGOs.
“What's harder than trying to strive in a market where a market doesn’t exist? It's not solid yet but it's getting there. With this being said, the potential market is huge and it's there. The only issue is that it's scattered in a thousand different segments and there's no solid place you can look at to say ‘that’s the gaming market’.”
Bravado's goal is to help create that market.
“I have been very blessed with what I have done and achieved in the past and all that helps put it into perspective for a gaming organisation. Whether it's been my marketing degree, friends who ran big projects such as Ferrari RSA, having the opportunity to run a professional face and body skincare product company from Greece in RSA, planning exhibitions, support from family and much more, it's all taught me a lot. I would like to take all of this knowledge and excel in what I love doing: gaming,” he says.
Currently Bravado supports six games – Counter-Strike, Call of Duty 4, Battlefield 3, DotA 2, Modern Warfare 3 and Starcraft 2, with one team in each (with the exception of Starcraft 2, which, being a 'single' player title, has two players). But there are many more gamers looking to get into the organisation – so what makes Bravado take on a new team or support a new title?
“Some of the factors that drive us into adopting a new team are things such as Market potential (will the game become big?); consistency between the game; dedication between individuals and much more,” says Hadjipaschali. “We never started with ten divisions. We never started with a good website. We never started with eight writers. You need to work your way up as time goes by and as your foundations grow stronger and stronger. This is very, very important.”
It all started with the infamous Bravado Counter-Strike team. The organisation then also included DotA but when that started to find a lack of support Bravado took on the very successful Brazen CoD4 team (that was in 2010), led by Stephen “TrolY” White.
“Then we went for something smaller but still big in a market sense: Starcraft 2. Only then did we recruit Modern Warfare 3, Battlefield 3 and DotA 2 divisions,” Hadjipaschali says.
But why do things so slowly when there is such a demand from gamers to get in? Hadjipaschali lists three reasons:
1) You need to make sure that you can support any divisions before you adopt any of them. 2) You need to make sure that you have the resources to maintain them. 3) You need to make sure that you can keep everyone happy. There is no successful organisation with one unhappy individual or one unhappy division. There has to be a good synergy between all divisions and players.
“Remember, many might say: ‘How did Bravado Gaming get this sponsor, or that thing or this?’ All I can say in reply to this is that it has taken us five years, lots of dedication, and a lot of money and resources. All these make Bravado what it is today.
“It's not just a simple process of getting some guys together, doing well and that’s it. Players in Bravado constantly push the brand out to new and current gamers; they help with the planning and organisation of projects. It's way more than what many think it is – there is so much more that goes on that the public doesn’t see, but that is another topic which I can write an endless essay on,” Hadjipaschali says.
So how has Bravado managed to keep consistency and commitment with its players and line-ups?
“I think it all has to do with equality, direction and synergy. It's important to make sure that players are always happy, that you can give your 150 percent to players when they need it, to supply them with what they want in order to go forward. Most importantly I think all players have the same vision. As a player I can tell you that there is no better thing than being consistent (within an organisation which provides constant innovation and opportunities).
“What is also important is that players understand the direction of the MGO. Sharing information and keeping members up to date is very important when it comes to relationship. You need to maintain these relationships, help each other and work together towards a goal,” Hadjipaschali says.
Hadjipaschali believes the international scene should come to us, not visa versa.
“We'll grow e-Sports locally through performance, investors, synergy and, most importantly, the dedication to keep promoting it. If we can do all of these successfully the international scene will come to us, not us to them,” he says.
Hadjipaschali closes with a few remarks:
“I would like to give a big shoutout to all the Bravado Gaming followers, the divisions, my partners and all the gaming organisations involved in the e-sports scene, from suppliers to players.
“A big thank you to our sponsors and partners Roccat, PLuGG and Clanbase for supplying, helping and working with us to create this organisation's image into what it is today,” he says.
To get hold of Hadjipaschali he can be emailed at .
“We are always open to ideas and mutual support!” he says. “Stay tuned as we have some great announcements in the forthcoming months.”