Controllers (Part Three) – An Open Letter to MLG
This is the final part of a three part series covering the upcoming releases of competitive controllers for console gaming.
When I first set out to write this series and this particular letter, I was intending to argue about business models and competitive gaming history. As I laid it all out, however, I quickly started to realize that the crux of my point was neither of these things. Instead it had become about open competition and giving the gamers what they want.
When I was younger I, like a lot of the MLG community, owned an Xbox and liked to play Halo: CE with my friends. This meant purchasing three extra controllers and playing four player split-screen. To save money, we purchased some third-party controllers which, quite frankly, were all really awful (I’m looking at you MadCatz). We’d always fight over who could use the first-party controller since the other ones sucked so bad.
It is amazing that over the past 10 years or so, I’ve been using that same joystick and all of the other options haven’t improved either.
We’re finally going to see some controllers that, hopefully, will bring some long overdue improvements to the controllers that we spend so much time with. Best of all, we’re finally seeing different companies get involved all at around the same time. Microsoft has been the only company making controllers and they had no motivation to improve them, given that they had the best on the market.
To: Major League Gaming
When you first announced your partnership with MadCatz, I had to shake my head. Not because I felt MadCatz wouldn’t make a good competitive controller, but because it was a move that could be very bad for the players if you don’t handle this correctly. In the past, your sponsorships have meant exclusive rights to the Pro Players and no competing brands on the main stage. It hasn’t been said one way or the other if you plan on holding this rule with the MadCatz sponsorship, but I will say this:
Please don’t ever limit pro players, or any players, to using one controller. Let the best controller win and let the companies compete to improve those controllers over time. This generates money in our competitive gaming sector while also ensuring the players get better controllers, which in turn makes the shots better and matches more exciting.
Sundance, you appeared on Live on Three and said the following in regards to competing sponsors not being able to advertise at events:
“I want to get to a place where I don’t need to do it. One day I would love for you guys to roll in wearing your freakin’ logo’d up shit and I would love for everybody to know what some of those logos are. For them not to all be endemic to the gaming industry. I’d like for guys to be rolling up and taken care of. But we’re not there yet. If we were it would be an amazing thing to be there already.
Nobody wants that day to come faster than me.”
If you truly feel this way (I believe so), then you would realize that allowing for open competition in this case is a huge step towards that goal. We need to create a competitive economy for that to ever happen. I believe that the people willing to buy these controllers extends far past the competitive gamer and that the pro players can have a huge influence over sales. Think of how amazing it would be to have Halo matches with an overview of what controllers everyone is using. I’d love to see that.
Major League Gaming can go ahead and agree to promote the hell out of MadCatz, I don’t mind that. They can give incentives to pros to use MadCatz over the competitors. Let them have a giant booth and promote hardcore at events. Just please realize that this can be a huge stepping stone for financial independence for pros and better products for the average player. Don’t limit or censor the fact that players are using other products.
I’m not asking you to change your business model. I love the fact that MLG continues to grow and has a pretty balanced checkbook. This scenario is different than an official razor, drink, or snack of MLG. These are gaming companies that are releasing competing products that directly effect our ability to compete at the highest level. These are products which are incredibly influenced by a player stating a product is good. Let the players promote these products and continue doing your thing with companies that don’t directly influence our performance.
Loving You Always,
Colin “Skyllus” Fogle
This article was originally going to be addressed to the controller manufacturers as well, but I think the first two parts of this series really addressed them enough. I will just say that I hope that these companies take heed to what I’m saying and the feedback these articles have generated in the community. We’re the audience that these products are being designed for and each company would be wise to include players in their development process as well as promotion.
That is going to wrap up this series. I hope that soon we’ll be able to bring reviews of plenty of competitive controllers, and I hope that they meet most of my expectations. Most of all, I hope that each company flourishes and has reason to keep creating these controllers for years to come. In 10 years I want to look back and say “Wow, controllers have come a long way” and not “Wow, we’re using the same thing as 10 years ago.”
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