Welcome to Compete, a joint venture between Deadspin and Kotaku dedicated to covering the best, worst, dumbest, most thrilling, most interesting, and, generally, the most stupefying—in the better and worse senses of the word—in esports and competitive gaming. We’re just getting started here, but hope to make this a destination for the kind of coverage you would never read anywhere on the internet or elsewhere.
Why Kotaku and Deadspin would be collaborating here is an obvious question; we think the answer is equally obvious. Esports are a hybrid of traditional sports and gaming—brilliant highlights and ridiculous lowlights resulting from intense competition with a physical element that plays out in pixels and polygons; teams, leagues, publishers, and broadcasters perpetuating scams and swindles; debates about rules and fairness; the emergence of a new type of celebrity athlete whose sport plays out online more than on TV—and so demand hybrid coverage of the sort that a sports site and a gaming site with differing strengths and a shared sensibility can provide by working together. Getting past the hype and bullshit to the real story—be it stupid, astonishing, or just plain compelling—is what we do. This is a field that deserves it.
The team here, building off of the superb esports coverage Kotaku has been getting on weekends from Ethan Gach, will consist of Deadspin and Kotaku writers and editors covering competitive gaming, as broadly construed. Eric Van Allen and Maddy Myers—our full-time writers, who work for both sites simultaneously (the site being hosted on Kotaku has to do with web-hosting technicalities; it is in every sense a joint venture)—know a ton about every major competitive game you can think of, from Dota and League of Legends to Street Fighter and Smash, from Hearthstone and CSGO to ... Catherine? Sure. That, too. And they will be complemented by our staff writers and freelancers as they dig into anything that involves games and people trying to win, from board games to casinos and beyond.
Eric will be working from Austin, where he’s been making a name for himself as a freelancer for sites like ESPN, Vice, Paste, and IGN. He also has a TV background, which is great, since part of the Compete plan is to cover news and highlights with lots of great visual elements covering the most outstanding, silliest, funniest, and most amazing things happening in the field.
Maddy will be working from Boston, where she most recently worked as an editor at The Mary Sue. Maddy has an esports background of her own, so she brings not just the expertise of an observer but also of a participant. She will be working on daily coverage, and is also preparing deeper-dive features.
What they get up to will largely be a function of what they’re interested in, but we mainly hope to just ask the right questions, and so get into the kinds of stories you won’t read anywhere else. Do brain drugs actually make you play better? What is the NCAA’s role in this evolving field? How dexterous is a top League of Legends player compared to a top tennis player—and to whom does dexterity matter more? Hopefully we’ll get some answers here and find out some things worth finding out, and whether you’re a gamer who’s interested in competition, a sports fan who’s interested in games, or someone who’s just interested in interesting things, we think there will be something for you.
Two notes. One is that while this project is being initially underwritten by Gillette, and while we are happy they’ve done so, this is entirely abstract to our editorial team, which has had and will have no contact with them. Compete is every bit as independent as anything else Deadspin and Kotaku do, and its coverage is a function of what its staffers and readers are interested in.
The other is that we want your tips! See something cool? Know about some twisted corruption? Just generally know something we should know? You can email our staff writers at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or our full staffs at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.