ESports is the most talked about subject in the games industry as well as media business. As games and video converge into cross-screen entertainment franchises, professional gamers and streamers are the celebrities of the new generation. Stadiums around the world are filling up each weekend and over 100 million fans are tuning into esports every month. It is not surprising that advertisers and traditional media are rearing to get involved. At the Casual Connect Europe conference, learn what the future will bring as the stakes get higher from leaders within the esports economy on how they see the future. The moderator for this informative panel, John Gaudiosi explained, “When it comes to esports as a journalist, every game developer and publisher is always telling me they have got the next that they have got the next esports title.” Find out how you can stand out and what is up next.
John Gaudiosi is co-founder and president of Greenlit Content, a company which builds custom websites and offers custom video and editorial content covering all aspects of gaming. Recently Casual Connect was excited to have John discuss this new company, as well as the insights gained from more than twenty-five years covering the video game industry for print, online and television outlets.
Casual Connect: Tell us about the work you do at Greenlit Content. How did you come to start the company?
John Gaudiosi: Greenlight Content is an editorial, video and website outsourcing company that provides turnkey custom content for a variety of clients, including online retailers, internet companies, game companies, peripherals companies, a golf company and even a horror film subscription service. Having spent over twenty-five years writing about video games, entertainment, technology, and the intersection of these verticals with everything from sports to travel, I’ve been able to work alongside great freelance talent. Greenlit taps into this huge pool of talent, from writers to videographers to web designers to SEO experts to social media specialists, and allows clients a one-stop-shop for any of their needs.
CC: What is your favorite thing about your work?
John: I’ve spent nearly my entire career freelancing, with a few full-time gigs early on at Variety/Video Business, Cnet and MCV USA. Greenlit Content taps into freelancers across all sectors and gives them work (sometimes very regular work). It’s also great being able to take expertise in areas such as eSports and parlay that into helping companies navigate that burgeoning business. And I’m working with my co-founder, who’s a longtime colleague and friend that I trust.
CC: How have your past career experiences been helpful to you as president of Greenlit Content?
John: Everything I’ve done in my career has led to Greenlit Content. All of the connections from public relations to the marketing side of the gaming and entertainment business come into play with this new company, as do all of the connections on the journalism side of the equation.
CC: What inspired you to pursue this career?
John: My grandfather was a lifelong journalist and my great uncle won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on the Philadelphia Bulletin. Journalism is just something that’s always been in my blood. Being able to take that base and build a new company off of it has been great. There’s really nothing I’d rather do than what I’m doing now. And they always say if you enjoy what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.
CC: Do you have any advice for someone interested in pursuing the same career?
John: When it comes to journalism today, there have never been more opportunities for anyone to have their voice heard through blogs, vlogs, Twitch channels, etc. And that’s really the route to go. If you have a great personality and can build your audience, there are multiple opportunities there.
On the flip side, there have never been fewer good-paying jobs in writing, at least in the gaming and entertainment sectors. Most big companies pay freelance writers peanuts today. And most sites focus on lists and clickbait rather than actual reporting. It’s become the norm for the majority of news stories these days to just regurgitate press releases or the scoop of someone else’s work in the fight for traffic.
CC: How did you become involved in the game industry? How did you make your start?
John: I began writing professionally in high school and was able to get a freelance job covering video games for the Washington Post, which was my local paper in Fairfax, VA. The Post was the first paper to launch a gaming section in its Fast Forward section. That gig opened the door to a lot of other freelance jobs. And after graduating grad school I moved to San Francisco to take a full-time editorial job with MCV USA and later Cnet and Variety/Home Media Magazine.
CC: What do you find to be the most fun part?
John: When I was younger, getting all the games early was great. But these days I enjoy traveling around the world for stories. And I still love gaming, especially new growth areas such as virtual reality and eSports. So it’s fun to find out more about these things through interviewing the movers and shakers in these industries. It’s also nice to see developers evolve, and others in the industry move up through the ranks over the decades.
CC: What are some of the challenges you have faced in your current position? How have you overcome these challenges?
John: Greenlit Content has faced normal startup challenges, which for us have been mainly just keeping up with the demand from different clients. Without ever officially announcing the company, we’ve been able to secure some big clients right out of the gate. This has kept us so busy that we only just launched our company website (www.greenlitcontent.com). We have also just secured investor funding for the next five years or more, which is allowing us to expand our operations.
CC: What do you do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
John: When I was younger and had free time I would build model railroads. It’s a hobby that my uncle got me into. I have trains across all scales from the large German-made LGBs to the tiny Japanese N-scale trains. I spent most of my time working with the slightly larger HO-scale trains. These days, I’ve been too busy to do this.
What I do spend some of my free time doing is working with rescued dogs. My wife runs a non-profit dog rescue in North Carolina and we have a small network of foster homes that we work with. We always have an extra dog in our home, in addition to the six we own (all fosters that were, for some reason or other, unadoptable). We’re like the island of misfit dogs (from the Rudolph Christmas special).
CC: If you were not in this industry, what would you be doing?
John: I can’t imagine doing anything else.
CC: What was your dream job as a child?
John: I’m doing it.
CC: What has been the proudest moment of your career so far? What led to this moment happening?
John: Fairly early on in my career I was named one of the Top 50 Game Journalists by Edge Magazine. It was cool to get that type of recognition back because it was the result of a lot of hard work and a lot of writing.
CC: What do you think will be the next big trend in the industry in the next three to five years? How are you incorporating this trend into your future plans?
John: Virtual reality and eSports are the fastest growing sectors in gaming and the biggest opportunities. At Greenlit Content these are two areas we are especially focusing on. And they are two areas where there isn’t a ton of expertise, so there are a lot of opportunities.
CC: What interests you about the game industry?
John: Games are the most innovative form of entertainment. Having seen what goes into making just one game, I appreciate the creativity and hard work behind these projects. Even smaller mobile games require a lot of work and creativity from a small team. I grew up playing black-and-white Sears Pong as a kid and buying every game console that came out afterward.
CC: Are you a gamer? What are some of your favorite games?
John: I’m not a good gamer, especially compared to some of the pro gamers I interview these days. But I enjoy playing games. I don’t have the time to invest in the incredibly sophisticated open world titles such as Fallout 4 or The Witcher 3, but I appreciate those types of games and will watch videos. The games I actually play are mostly sports titles such as Madden and NHL and more action-packed offline games such as Call of Duty and Disney Infinity Star Wars. I’ll also play classic games on mobile.
CC: What should a game have to catch your attention?
John: These days it’s pretty amazing what the indie community can create, whether the game is for mobile or digital platforms. The ones that catch my eye especially are the “old school” homages to classic 8-Bit or 16-Bit games like the ones I grew up with.
Having played and seen so many games over the years, what doesn’t blow me away any more are realistic graphics. We’ve reached the point where games are almost photorealistic, and that doesn’t matter, It’s the gameplay that makes or breaks a game, not the visuals.
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.