/whois realition - the stupidly simple plan that created the most successful Counter-Strike team of all time [xplayned]
Table of Contents
- Quantifying the Astralis success
- Color-coded linear progression of time [visual]
- Interview with Frederik Byskov [video]
- Profile of Frederik Byskov
- Team Org 2.0 [visual]
- Player partners, not player employees
- Some historical Danish context
Quantifying the Astralis success
Many smart people in the community have written, recorded, streamed or USED TWITCH CHAT IN ALL CAPS <BECAUSE REASONS> to quantify or rationalise the unbelievable success that is Astralis.
I'll just use Google:
Esports has gone mainstream in Denmark. From cultural curiosity to cultural revolution, the tipping point was Astralis.
The Astralis team has been featured in national news broadcasts multiple times, including live broadcasts from events they attend, even the Danish prime minister is a fan-boi on twitter. After so many championship titles, in such a short amount of time, Astralis players are becoming national heroes.
If a Dane suddenly won two (2) Tour De France routes in a week, I imagine the national euphoria would look and feel very similar. I hope that gives you a sense of just how popular Astralis have become in their home country.
If there's something rotten in the State of Denmark, it ain't Astralis.
Color-coded linear progression of time
Interview with realition
I am truly honored to welcome Frederik 'realition' Byskov from Astralis as our first guest on Xplayn. Who would know the Astralis story better?
As co-founder of Astralis, Byskov helped create the blueprint to win and sold it to investors. And after receiving their investment, he then had to make everything reality as the CEO of the new company.
Profile of Frederik Byskov
Byskov started his esports career in 2008, back then as editor for the premiere Danish community site Xplayn. Over the years Byskov invested hundreds, then thousands of hours, creating and curating content. Daily servings of esports, daily content served to an audience known for unfiltered, un-compromising, unrelenting feedback when you screw up.
And you screw up a lot, you realize that when thousands of engaged users decide to really engage.
Professional gamers play for thousands of hours to become better, repetition and pattern recognition form deeper neural links in the brain, over time becoming muscle memory, reflexes, execution, awareness and all the other win conditions. Mastery comes from pattern recognition applied to repetion. Synapses that fire together, wire together.
Repetition and pattern recognition shaped Byskov, to became a pro at community. Specifically, being pro at community is the ability to see what a thousand eyes will see, to understand the safe zones in the dynamic range of a thousand reactions, to identify the right decisions.
The ability to see new areas you can help improve, because no one else thought about it right.
Team Org 2.0
Like the stupidly simple details.
Player partners, not player employees
In 2018 the best performing team in both Dota 2 and CS:GO was started and co-owned by players. Astralis was started by.. Astralis, while OG Dota 2 was started by n0tail and Fly.
- Inspired entrepreneurs run on empowered levels of passion, energy and dedication, maybe ownership also empowers you to click more ass? Maybe there is such a thing as pwnership?
- Astralis remains highest winning CS:GO team in the world, co-founding players first to net $1 million in CS:GO.
- OG Dota 2 became the first team to win 2, 3, 4 and 5 Valve Majors respectively, last year the team won the biggest prize pool in the history of esports.
- Both organizations were incorporated with an exceptionally talent-focused mindset. Example: OG's contract gives the players veto-rights for all sponsors/products.
Most teams wouldn't give players (or any other employees) veto-rights to anything. Not for something trivial like toilet paper brand, never ever in a million years for something with financial implications.
Some historical Danish context
In 2000 myself and Kubrick noticed that both our evenings (all our evenings) had started to vanish into a beta mod called Counter-Strike. The release of beta 1.0 had happened just a year earlier, the majority of gamers still hadn't been exposed to concepts like multiplayer-only BattleArena, competitive gaming, prize money, round-based mechanics, money system rewarding performance, buytime and droppable guns.
As founder and editor-in-chief for Jubii Games, I ran a staff of 20ish incredibly dedicated editors and we grew to one of the largest .dk gaming sites. After discussing if we could add meaningful Counter-Strike content to Jubii Games, Kubrick then spent months developing a stats system that tracked player-to-player performance across multiple servers, for the first time giving players the opportunity to compare personal skill to the greater community. That attracted the very best players, naturally evolving JGCS 1-7 to high-skill servers, for many years the most popular servers in ping range. JGCS grew to the biggest Counter-Strike site in the nation. Some days with even more traffic than the mother site, amazingly.
By summer 2001 a total of 4 CPL events had taken place in Europe. Spirit of Amiga played in the finals at 3 of those 4 events. I met Clan-[SoA] at an event and realized that this was the most dedicated, skilled and ambitious players I had ever met. Counter-Strike wasn't just a new way of playing, it was a new way of being a player.
The first semi-professional esports team in Denmark, I really wanted to help them win. I joined Clan-[SoA] as manager in 2001, replaced Clan with team and got the team booked for several television appearances.
Thanks to meeting Alx one late night at an internet cafe, this team/Counter-Strike rap song happened. I made a new homepage and added Turtle Race by Some1 & Prime, we dominated the Counter-Strike section on Chart.dk after that.
Then I went on the road. As the first naive team manager schmuck presenting local companies to the scifi-esque concepts of prize money and sponsorships in video games, I can still feel the looks of pity.
To most companies the culture sounded so bizarre that they were afraid of damaging their brand. It was hard to move people past the "you win by planting a terrorist bomb?" question right after 9/11 2001, but the real end-of-level monster was usually some variant of "wait.. so you shoot people in the head?".
It seemed obvious that the most important part of gaming would become players, not the games being played. I started the original Xplayn in 2001, believing that was the best way to further develop the Danish market. I worked on the website and team during the day, then worked nightshifts at an internet cafe to pay rent. It would be more than a year, before I could cover my rent with income from esports for the first time.
I have earned my right to be an Astralis fanboi, everything they have accomplished, they have accomplished from Denmark. And that.. Is just absolutely spectacular.
I did a Google Image search for Frederik Byskov, someone else took all the great pictures of him and I am just showing off their work. If that's a problem to you, please get in touch.