The Esports Cave, Austin’s fastest gaming center, opened in Mid 2020. Right in the middle of one of the worst historical events in modern existence. We knew tournaments would be a key component of our business model. Smash tournaments, specifically. We worked hard to create a community during a world-wide period of isolation. Part of our success truthfully has to do with the success of our Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Tournaments. That success came through multiple points of evolution:
- finding the right ways to communicate with the community that already surrounded the game,
- finding a good time that would allow the most people to come in and play,
- and finally, changing our system to better handle brackets, registration, and prize payouts.
Austin Smash Tournament Community
There was already a Smash Ultimate community in Austin. It’s safe to say that it’s existed since it was released in Dec. 2018, maybe even shortly after it was announced. Part of the trick to an exciting tournament is having enough players, so we knew right away that we needed to find ways to reach out to community. Small advertisements here and there turned into connections with the Austin Smash Discord Server. We used these to let them know what we had and give them opportunities to present feedback on how we were doing. More recently, we’ve been sharing our tournaments on multiple social media platforms to reach out to people who play outside the main Austin Smash bubble.
Timing is everything
Next up, it was important to see when players would be most likely to attend a tournament and how frequently. Settling on once a week was easier to do, given the resources we had at the time, but picking a day had to fall in line with players lives outside of the game. Most Smash players, we found out, were high schoolers and young adults, the people who had their own money and usually, jobs. The fact that they had lives meant we had to find a weekend date that worked. This meant looking at Friday, which is where the chips fell. Now, every Friday, our Anderson Mill location hosts a weekly tournament for Smash.
smash.gg is awesome!
Finally, needed was a good system, which was possibly the hardest to build. When we first started out, we did everything manually. We took down names on paper and created brackets by hand. We even had some players tell us that we were missing something. Eventually, one of our friends managed to show us a site that would help. Smash.gg became the central tool we used. It allows us to create tournaments with brackets built in. And it allows players to register days or even weeks in advance. The bracket part keeps track of which matches were being run at what station and when. It was like a miracle and the players noticed, too.
Thanks for playing in our tournaments!
The Cave has trained multiple employees in the system we’ve set up so that each tournament can be run flawlessly, and we strive to keep finding new ways to make tournaments more player-friendly. In many ways, we work for this constant growth because we want to foster one of the games that has kept us going for a year and a half. We encourage the community to participate in our second weekly tournament on Sundays at our Cedar Park location. Creating a better experience for the players is always the best goal to work for.