THE CHECK | XIT WOUNDZ OWNER CODY.M TAKES US INSIDE THE WORLD OF ESPORTS BUSINESS, EXISTING MARKETS & TEKKEN254
XiT Woundz has operated in Kenya for close to a year now participating in Kenya’s premier FGC series called Tekken254 run and organized by Tekken Two Five Four and Ace Pro Gaming. The circuit currently is on its third season and going into the third qualifier this coming weekend before heading for the April break.
XiT Woundz has expanded its operation globally tapping into various Esports markets. The Esport organization is represented by Catholic University of Eastern Africa law student Sylvia Gathoni Wahome who goes by the name of QueenArrow.
Ace Pro Gaming connected with XiT Woundz owner Cody M to bring you the interview below:
APG: Tell us a brief history of XiT Woundz Esport Organization
Cody M: Good afternoon Ace Pro Gaming! It is a pleasure to be speaking to everyone here today and I hope everyone is having a wonderful day wherever they are in the world. To begin, XiT Woundz was originally formed as a Halo 2 team at MLG (Major League Gaming) Las Vegas Nevada 2005 by the brothers nicknamed Bonfire and ItWasLuck. The team yielded an incredible presence in both Halo 2 and Halo 3, earning over 40,000 USD in tournament prizing and were a constant Top 8/Top 16 team during their initial reign. Their time as a team came to an end around 2009 with MLG Columbus being their final event. In 2017, I was approached by an old business partner about reforming the brand in the competitive eSports circuit. I was working as an eSports journalist at the time but decided this was an excellent opportunity to build something of my own and continue a legacy.
After discussing terms with ItWasLuck, an agreement was met that continuing the XiT Woundz legacy would indeed come to fruition. In 2018, we kicked off the brand’s re-emergence in January and since then seek to build upon the brand’s legacy and carry the traditions the old team set before us.
APG: XiT Woundz has players from various eSports markets (countries). If you do not mind answering, why expand to these markets?
CM: Excellent question! As most of the audience out there may know, the U.S.A. is the eSports hub and world market. This simply means that most high-end competitive circuits will almost always do business in the United States simply because we have the prime locations and biggest prize pools. Considering how established we are as a country in competitive gaming, this also comes with the territory that we hold the largest eSports organizations market in the world, with multiple organizations being based in various states throughout the country.
Other countries such as Mexico, Baltic Europe, South America and even Africa are just now starting to catch on to the eSports market and infrastructure we have out here in the west. This means that local talent can be found all over the globe. When looking to establish our presence as an organization, we wanted to find markets that would fit our brand’s image and showcase what is possible in the world. After doing about two months of research, I found different African establishments that presented the development of a competitive eSports circuit and gaming culture and from there we found the TEKKEN 254 circuit in Kenya and the rest is history.
I love signing underdog players and talent. It’s important to give players across the world a chance to compete at the highest level. When we found QueenArrow we knew this would be one of the greatest player acquisitions we will ever do, it’s been a wonderful experience.
APG: Does the organization have plans to expand its player base in the current markets you are present in? Do you have plans to expand into different countries (markets)?
CM: XiT Woundz always has plans to expand our operations to other countries. Like any expansion plan however, it all boils down to logistics and cost effectiveness. We currently feature players in USA, Canada, Venezuela, Kenya and Germany and we even had a Dota 2 team in Cambodia last year. To say the organization is everywhere would almost be an understatement. I would like to say we are absolutely looking to head to Europe and Japan as our next major expansion for 2020 but first we need to further establish our presence and build our local market community and that means further establishing our presence in the state of New Jersey as that’s our home turf.
Now, as for what games we are seeking to get invested into, well I’ll let time do the telling when we get there!
APG: Which of the existing markets does the XiT Woundz organization find easy to manage players?
CM: It’s always tough to answer what is the easiest player base to work with. Of course, if it’s based on logistics/traveling then our United States players are the easiest to figure out plans for. However, I would have to say that so far, we have been able to get everyone involved in tournaments on a global scale effectively! And for that I have my amazing staff to thank for.
APG: With the TEKKN 254 Circuit running its third season, what is your brand involvement with Sylvia Wahome like from management point of view?
CM: Sylvia is a diamond in the rough, a true fighter at heart. We are continuing to assess her abilities as a player during her run in the TEKKEN 254 Circuit Season 3 tournaments. What’s awesome is that all our players from Canada and Germany have been able to give her some of the most incredible advice from improving her game step by step, so in this case her training since last year has been almost all Canadian. With the TWT (Tekken World Tour) circuit we would love to see her get a top placing at a serious major; however, everything comes with time and as we move forward, we will continue to help her grow and develop her skills at a higher level so she will be more tournament ready.
APG: With the expansion of the Tekken World Tour, will we see Sylvia take part in the African leg to be staged in Cape Town, South Africa?
CM: We would love to see QueenArrow in South Africa for the TWT event later this year! However, that will be completely up to her, if she feels she is ready.
APG: Still on the TWT Cape Town leg, how best would you love the Tekken World Tour format to be for other existing players who cannot attend the various events in the schedule?
CM: With the introduction of the Dojo series, this gives players an incredible amount of motivation to attend their local weekly series to earn TWT points. The best part is, all the organizers must do is apply online via the website and wait for a response. Outside of the Dojo system, I would love to see an official TWT major in Kenya as I feel they have a city to host it and a solid developing tournament infrastructure to showcase to the world. I can also see countries like Ghana, Vietnam, Denmark and various others get a shot to host a major soon.
I would love to see more countries get the chance to showcase their communities and top players to the entire world! Build the foundation now and bring the TWT to an even greater podium in years to come!
APG: What is your take on the growth of eSports globally?
CM: Esports, or as I still call it, competitive gaming, is a longstanding tradition of gamers across the globe with all nationalities and religions to come together and compete at the highest level possible. In the early years of the 2000s, who would have thought everything would grow to an exponential level that we see today; it’s absolutely mind-boggling to me. However, it still has a lot of problems that need to be corrected; player unions should become a thing for players to feel comfortable in their contracts and have re-assurance that the organizations won’t screw them over as we have seen here in the States an alarming amount of times. With this also being said, the alarming potential factor that many large tournaments may eventually become more monopolized and invitational only is a great concern for the FGC entirely.
It’s hard to say where exactly everything will go for the future, but since entering the industry back in 2004, I can safely forecast what will end up happening and I hope and wish that all players and organizations out there take great care now to prepare themselves for even greater hurdles we have yet to see from a business standpoint. Other than that, however, I think competitive gaming nowadays is a beautiful thing as it truly brings gamers together from all walks of life and for that factor alone, I can be grateful for.
XiT Woundz owner Cody M. continued to thank all eSport players in Kenya, TEKKEN 254, Davy Kamanzi (TEKKEN 254 president) and Pro Series Gaming.