The #LongGrass :: Week 12
Hello and welcome to the twelfth addition of Enter the #LongGrass brought to you by 8-12Hz.
This week we are joined by Matt ‘Kamikaze’ Cooper COO of VwS Gaming.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you're from.
Hi #VwSFam, my name is Matt Cooper, I’m 25 and I’m from Telford in the United Kingdom.
I’m the Chief Operating Officer here at VwS Gaming which basically means I help run the day to day processes of the organization.
What got you into gaming?
Some of my earliest memories are of playing Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Mega Drive with my older brother. As we grew up I found that I was quite talented at a variety of games and had a tendency to finish them quite quickly (much to the annoyance of my parents). We were fortunate enough to own the majority of the consoles through the 90’s and early 00’s and there was rarely a game that I hadn’t completed within a few days. With the release of the Xbox and Halo my competitive nature started to show on a player vs player basis and come Halo 2’s release along with Xbox Live I found myself really focusing on competitive play and attempting to be the best.
After years of playing games I also realized I had a keen knowledge of their inner workings and so attended both college and university on games design courses eventually earning a degree in the field.
Tell us a bit about your experience in eSports before you got behind the scenes and started running an organization?
By the end of Halo 2’s cycle I was aware of the incredible players in the US and of course MLG however the knowledge of competitive play in Europe was nonexistent. This all changed with Halo 3’s launch and a 10k league ran by Xleague. Xleague was a company that had its own Television show on Sky with regular guest appearances from players and countless tournaments (it was definitely ahead of its time).
I jumped into the league and my team climbed to the top of the table, we eventually made it to the LAN playoffs live on Television in London and were expected (despite our league placements) to finish dead last. We made it to the finals over that weekend and took an initial 3-0 lead over the reigning European champions before unfortunately going on to lose the series.
One of my team mates that weekend was Alex “Buk 20” Buck who has had a fantastic career in Halo eSports and is still going strong today.
A short but sweet recap of my career following this results in me attending various EU events and achieving moderate success as well as attending MLG’s first Halo 3 event in New Jersey. I eventually put the pad down to focus on my studies but my comeback for Halo 4 saw me team with another recognizable name in Jake “Chalkie” White and captain of an organization called Reign eSports of which I would go on to become Managing Director.
Tell us your most exciting event experience (either from your days as a competitor or even setting behind the scenes as a manager)?
One of my most exciting experiences I’ve previously mentioned being Xleague, I was so nervous in the finals that the opening map I threw a grenade off spawn at Buk 20. Luckily we went on to dominate the game and win. However in terms of experiences in management I would say working with world class players in Halo and Smash has been incredible really, to go from a player looking up to stars like Snipedown, Formal, Heinz, Lethal, Pistola etc to then working with them on a daily basis and seeing them win consistently throughout 2013 onwards was a pleasure to be a part of.
Sending Professor Pro to his first US event and seeing him smash all expectations was a great birthday present and more recently our successes in Halo pre invitational tournaments were almost perfect. My main experience for pure excitement was Insomnia 51 where I took my first League of Legends team alongside Call of Duty and Halo to Coventry. Despite an incredible amount of running around alongside organizing a beat the pro tournament for one of our sponsors (Venom) our teams placed 1st (Halo), 2nd (League of Legends) and 3rd (Call of Duty) which made us the stand out organization of that event overall.
Hopefully we’ll share a lot more of those moments in the near future.
What do you think about the growth in eSports and how do you feel it will benefit VwS?
This is a topic that I could speak about for a long time so I’ll do my best to be concise.
The growth of eSports is fantastic, more so given the initial and some times more recent backlash to its presence on some more established sporting media. The perceptions of gaming have changed rapidly but still have a way to go however the main issue is the lack of governance. My favorite phrase is “No barriers to entry” which basically means that anyone can start up an organization, event, team, clan or company within the industry with little to no barriers.
In my case with Reign and in Joe’s case with VwS this is fantastic as it allows us to grow and learn with the rest. For those with more questionable morals it means we are likely to see corruption, badly run tournaments/events, con artists and a wide variety of less reputable people within an industry we all love. At the lower end of the spectrum some players or organizations may fall foul and be out of pocket however at the higher end this lack of governing body provides ample opportunity to those who wish to do others harm or are just looking for a quick buck.
Before eSports can really progress I feel the above needs to be questioned and we need to see some real change. With eSports growing at an incredible rate the lack of governance could see a wide variety of issues especially with the increasing focus on us all from media outlets.
Worry aside I think VwS are in a very strong position, we have a very talented group of staff and players and our organization is set up on some very strong core beliefs which has meant we have a fantastic reputation overall. eSports growth can only bring new opportunities for us and new companies to work with to bring the #VwSFamily even more success in the future.
What are some exciting things the fans should watch out for these upcoming weeks i.e. events, future plans, special announcements etc.?
Myself and Joe have spoken at length about our ideas for VwS long term and I can say some of the things you will eventually see are extraordinarily exciting. In the short term you can expect to see us getting back into the scene we both adore – Halo. We will also be announcing an amazing giveaway to celebrate our first year anniversary as an eSports organization, we truly have come a long way since last year and we expect our next year to take us even further.
Over the next few weeks and months you should look out for the Gfinity Season 2 Finals, our Smash players travelling to Europe and the United States, our new CSGO & GOW teams joining our LoL team in competing online as well as our exploration on our return to the Halo scene.
We also hope to be bringing you news of exciting new partnerships which will elevate our org to a new level.
Do you have any shout outs?
A huge shout out to the #VwSFamily along with our CEO Joe for his amazing work ethic and all the things he does for our organization. I would also like to shout out our staff and players here who all do an awesome job on a daily basis in representing VwS and finally to our sponsors without whom we couldn’t build on our success and achieve our goals.
Where can the fans find you?