Interview: Challengermode faces an indie challenge

Photo credit: Challengermode

The “Best International Games Festival” is the largest fair for independent games in Latin America, and it was there, in the midst of the throng of emerging and aspiring developers, that Challengermode took place.

The presence of Challengermode, an esports competition platform, at the festival reveals a new side to its business strategy – one that highlights opportunities in the Latin American market.

Keep Reading Challengermode Partners With PUBG Mobile, Launches eSports Fund For Tournament Organizers Challengermode Partners With KRAFTON For Base PUBG NextPro Series

A unique challenge

As esports grows, Challengermode wins, which is why it’s vital for the esports competition platform to reach new markets to sell their wares.

Challengermode’s services have been used by major brands in Latin America, including the likes of e-commerce giant Kabum! – which also has a roster in the Brazilian League of Legends Championship (CBLOL) – Itaú’s own Player’s Bank – and in circuits like the VCT Game Changers Academy. So the interest in attracting indie developers is a strategic direction, shifting away from reliance on big-budget competitions.

“We’re looking for more games and we’re looking for more game developers to work with,” said Philip Huebner, Chief Business Development Officer at Challengermode, of his presence at the BIG Festival. “So for us, it was about getting to know a few indie developers and a few publishers that are active in this space and see if there’s a game that we can support at a competitive level.”

“We’re not trying to sell them to host a million-dollar contest, we’re building a community around the games through competitive play,” Huebner said.

However, visibility can be a challenge for Challengermode. Huebner admitted the company struggles to market its services through tournaments it hosts. He said they are relying on a face-to-face customer acquisition strategy for now. “We go out, we find partners that we think are relevant, that we can do cool stuff with, and we grow with them. It’s a simple approach. And that’s why events like BIG and in Sao Paulo are so important to us. It helps us to pursue that strategy.”

Interview: Challengermode faces an indie challengeThe Payments and Monetization of Esports whitepaper was a collaboration between Nuvei and ESI. Click here to read the white paper.

Therefore, direct contact with potential customers is necessary for the commercial development of Challengermode. The company has employees in Latin America and is even considering opening offices if growth justifies the costs. So far, according to Hübner, Brazil is the most promising market. “The result is a huge appetite [in Latin America]. Maybe more than most other regions if it’s just about playing and competing,” he said.

As many in the scene will tell you, eSports in Brazil is more than just a competition: it is used to overcome social challenges and economic circumstances. Garena’s Mobile Battle Royale Free Fire, for example, became a way for players in Brazil to break out of widespread poverty in the poorer regions of South America. Due to the game’s accessibility, popularity, and competitive scene, it became a way out for many – giving fans an extra reason to compete.

Challengermode would therefore like to support the region’s drive to compete. It aims to expand its status with publishers and local tournament organizers as the technology they need to develop their esports scene.

“Promoting esports from the software level is the goal. And for us that means making it as easy as possible for players and organizers to host competitions and onboarding more and more game developers,” said Hübner.

Challengermode is ambitiously targeting the end of 2023 to have achieved most of the targets set for the region. The company is looking to land more high-profile deals in the coming months, and even convince tournament organizers who already have their own tech to use Challenger mode instead.

However, the primary goal remains to position the platform as a way for developers to promote games through community engagement.

“So I think the most important thing for us is that we help these independent games connect and engage with their community until we see it start going viral by releasing their games on our platform will. People are starting to create their own tournaments. And of course that increases engagement with the game,” adds Hübner.

The work has already started. In November, Challengermode became an official esports partner of PUBG Mobile, integrated the game into its platform and launched a fund for independent tournament organizers to promote the game – an example of how Challengermode aims to rise to the challenge.

Victor Frascarelli, journalist

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Victor Frascarelli is a Brazilian esports business journalist focused on the Latin American market. Victor, who was previously with The Esports Observer for two years, enjoys everything competitive, from League of Legends to soccer to chess to CS:GO.