Joe Zhou, CEO, Raj Rajkotia, CTO and Anik Dang, VP of Global Markets
From role-playing an Italian plumber that rescues a princess in a two-dimensional world to exploring a living, breathing universe on an adventure beyond the stars in a virtual reality (VR) environment, the gaming industry has seen a number of revolutionizing transitions since its inception in the 1950s. Today, the ubiquity of the internet has resulted in the rise of esports—organized multiplayer video game competitions—that gives players the opportunity to transform their passion for gaming into a profession.
Evolving with the gaming industry, esports has now become a worldwide phenomenon with millions of gamers participating in events on a regular basis. However, even with the increasing demand for esports tournaments leading to the development of better competitive games across all platforms, a solution that can assist amateur players to earn rewards based on their skills and interact with professional players remains a prime need in the industry.
Boston-based gaming tech firm, FirstBlood meets this demand by providing an esports platform that allows amateur players to compete with professional gamers, demonstrate their skills on major gaming stages, and win prizes. Highlighting the value proposition of the company, Joe Zhou, CEO of FirstBlood, says, “By providing a piece of technology that allows gamers to interact and play with professional gamers through various game modes, FirstBlood offers everyone the chance to win huge rewards and go pro.”
FirstBlood’s mission is to bridge the gap between amateur and professional gamers
Zhou further emphasizes FirstBlood’s unique approach by narrating a recent success-story wherein a group of individuals was able to leverage the company’s competition app to enter a $10,000 invitational event in PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). The group of players—“Team Ready”—played along the training rounds to qualify for the main event and ended up interacting and coordinating with various professionals, which led to Team Ready bagging the third place in the event, and winning their share of the prize pool along with Tier 1 teams like Wildcard and Cloud9.
Another feature that adds to FirstBlood’s innovativeness is their utilization of blockchain technology. The decentralized database of blockchain and smart contracts aided FirstBlood in revolutionizing the process of match result validation. Further, using blockchain, FirstBlood empowers players to identify those who cheat, create incentives for players who help in their discovery and devise procedures to penalize gamers who are proven guilty. Once a user is caught cheating, they lose all the deposits they have made in the online world, and the money is used to compensate the players who worked to identify these fraudulent gamers. “Our primary inspiration behind starting FirstBlood was to bridge the gap between amateur and professional gamers, and transform gaming into an activity that can be seen as something that is more than a hobby,” says Zhou.
The automation capabilities of the platform provide gamers a seamless user experience. The solution helps users register, set up price points, and claim their rewards in a simplified and straightforward manner. Additionally, the platform has automated the typical multiplayer lobby experience to minimize the waiting time and developed a truly hassle-free experience for users joining a tournament, and the ones running it. In addition, with the recruitment of Raj Rajkotia—the former head of IT at Warner Bros. Games—as the CTO of FirstBlood, the company aims to further enhance its technological prowess. Zhou strongly believes that the evolution of gaming is perpetual, and wants FirstBlood to become the driving force that takes competitive gaming into the future.