When Matt Jackson started the company Ultimate Gaming Championship, also known as UGC, the term e-sports didn’t exist. Now, 10 years after opening up a competitive gaming space above a relative’s coffee shop in Du Quoin, Jackson is leading a team that’s creating the foundation for interaction and rankings across the competitive gaming landscape.
What Jackson and his team see, and what they’re building, is the next stage of organizing shared spaces of digital and physical participation.
“From a business standpoint it excites me a lot to see how this digital realm is affecting our traditional spaces,” Jackson says.
If a player wanted to compete and rank against other players competitively they previously had to participate in a physical space to achieve success as a competitor. Now, with the development of UGC’s digital platform, access is set to increase exponentially.
“As online gaming becomes more and more popular an online digital ecosystem is the best place for e-sports,” Jackson says of UGC’s expansion beyond their live events.
Building that platform, and ensuring it integrates across systems, games and social environments, is the job of Jeremy Packer. Packer, the founder of Packer Labs and three-time Saluki App Competition winner, is an old friend of Jackson’s and UGC’s new Chief Technical Officer.
Packer says his vision for the UGC platform is similar to how many professionals view LinkedIn.
“Right now there are not many mobile apps that focus on tournaments,” Packer says. “You want to be a pro gamer. What do you do? Make a profile on UGC.”
UGC’s platform shares a core function inherent in the most successful social media platforms that many of us use day-to-day. The platform will develop and nurture relationships between individuals and between creators and audiences.
This is something Jackson and Packer both recognize.
“Features are more geared toward social experience,” Jackson says. “Building a team, finding teammates, being recognized and also building a community so people can stay connected through e-sports specifically.”
Unfortunately, when developing a new digital platform, being able to produce the core functions of what other platforms already do isn’t likely to scale a new platform into a global phenomenon.
Where UGC sees opportunities for success, and where other platform creators across industries can see success, is delivering a new utility to a rapidly growing market.
UGC is creating a platform to ensure competitive gamers, as well as casual gamers ready to up their game, have the tools they need for success.
“Ranking players, finding teams, establishing your foothold in the space is still a challenge,” Jackson says. “By adding that online component to it — we’re able to keep rankings going between live events and set standards. It gives purpose to the gamer almost 24/7.”
Additionally, Packer says the utility their platform offers is quick and efficient tournament management for online, live and multipoint play.
“[We’ve] streamlined it to an industry standard that no one else is doing,” Packer says as he describes what live tournament scoring looks like. “A judge will be able to go to a station and then receive real-time information, linked up between the person taking the score, the main tournament management, as well as digital displays.”
Jackson, Packer and the UGC team follows a developer model that touches on what many commonly used social media platforms seek to do.
UGC bridges the gap between digital and physical spaces, it provides utility and it creates meaningful relationships between those using the platform.
One of the most important attributes contributing to UGC’s likelihood of success is that the team has participated where they seek to profit. That’s something that can increase the likelihood of project success for anyone developing new business models and new platforms.
“All of the eyes are on e-sports, something we’ve been an advocate of for years,” Jackson says. “Now we’re starting to see people actually take interest and initiative and see this as the future.”