OG is Looking to Raise Funds and Expand to Asia by 2021, Says New CEO
OG is among the only teams in esports to make a profit largely from the accomplishments of one of its competitive rosters. It twice snapped up the biggest cash prize in esports with repeat victories at The International; esports’ Wimbledon equivalent. Having kept its brand and organization structure humble, OG’s new CEO tells The Esports Observer that the company is going to market for the first time, and will have offices in Shanghai and Singapore by 2021.
“We want to capitalize on the world domination that these gentlemen have been able to achieve in Dota 2, and we want to have real experiences with our fans around the world,” JMR Luna said. He explained that OG’s founder and current Dota 2 captain, Johan “N0tail” Sundstein, also visited Peru in December of last year; another fanbase the company hopes to tailor when the world goes back to normal, potentially with more games in tow.
“In Dota 2 we already figured out the formula we need. Doesn’t mean we’re always going to win, but it means that we’re going to have a chance to do it.”
Founded in 2015, OG is a comparatively young team brand and now faces the same knife-edge precipice that many of its peers are balancing: continuing to claim victory in-game, while developing as an entertainment platform. In an industry where investment has flowed sometimes too fast, Luna said he wants to keep the company light enough where profit vs. cost can be manageable.
“It’s not taking a shot at any other team, but I think most teams operate on a different structure; [increasingly] appreciating assets […] I don’t think that’s a vision that’s exciting for us, because we want to be profitable, we want to control the team.”
Luna joined as the first CEO of OG. Describing himself as a storyteller, he’s previously worked as a film producer for Netflix, MGM, and others. In esports, he held positions at Evil Geniuses and Immortals Gaming Club.
“I would say that anybody who is non-endemic, who wants to come into esports, will experience a learning curve. This is not a plug-and-play,” he said.
OG has not invested much into merchandise, instead working through a licensing deal. Luna is also hyped on fan-driven analytics. “I think there are a lot of people in esports that are shooting from the hip, and I find it a little reckless.”
Due to the fragmentation of esports titles, and the power held by the developers, sustainable revenue remains the holy grail. Luna believes that teams will have to unite to create leagues together, creating a motivation for developers to share the environment with them.
On the subject of talent development, OG has a penchant for finding diamonds in the rough, such as Anathan “ana” Pham and Topias “Topson” Taavitsainen in Dota 2, and more recently Mateusz “Mantuu” Wilczewski in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. It is a process Luna plans to leave to the respective team captains.
“You cannot join every game by hiring the best five players, otherwise that game will never be financially sustainable for you. If you want it to be a loss leader, go ahead.”
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