Hopes ‘more players can earn a living doing what they love’
eSports have been around for a long while. Even before MLG there were smaller tournaments — heck, EVO started in 2002, and I can recall personally attending regional championships for the original Halo, and competing in online ladders in Mech Assault on Xbox Live.
Now, we have full-on publisher sponsored leagues, NBA involvement, and multi-million dollar tournaments that eclipse those ~$1000 purses from old school tournies. I had the chance to chat briefly with Sean Gailey, Co-Founder and CEO of Jinx (stylized as J!nx), who offered his perspective on the eSports phenomenon — something his company is banking heavily on.
But before delving into eSports, I wanted to know how Gailey got into the business of gaming-themed clothing. He responded with, “In the early days of JiNX, we focused on both gamers and geeks. The word geek represented a very small, niche market. By proudly proclaiming that we are geeks, we were making a statement about unabashedly loving things that the world historically scoffed at. However, the word geek has become ubiquitous. Everybody is a geek now. The market is saturated. While we still love Star Wars, comic books and Dungeons and Dragons, we decided to focus exclusively on video games, our one true love.” Some of his influences include the “scrappy indie dev game scene,” “Ultima,” and “retro D&D art.”
Naturally, the company wanted to move into the next big thing, eSports, in 2015, but Bailey contends that it was always going to be huge. “Esports has long been big overseas, it just took the right conditions for it to take off here in the states,” he says. “We’ve been watching and playing competitive games for 10+ years, long before anyone cared. It is no surprise to us that esports would catch fire. We’ve taken a boutique approach to our partnerships, with Team Liquid being the first, and another launching on November 21st.”
But like every industry that has a ton of money being flung at it every waking moment, it has the potential to burst. Just look at toys-to-life, when Disney, who most people thought was too big to fail, pulled out and canceled Disney Infinity. The same fate could fall upon Skylanders, LEGO Dimensions, and amiibo, but Gailey isn’t too worried about eSports. “I do think that the immediate influx of money will cause a shadow of a bubble as the ecosystem adjusts” he responded, when asked about a bubble.” However, my hope is that the end results will be an elevated and refined system where more players can earn a living doing what they love.”
Gailey concluded by saying that “The JiNX namesake brand is fueled by a love of gaming culture as a whole, not just one particular game. We also placed a heavy emphasis on a full day of comfort. In other words, clothing that you’ll want to wear while gaming and lounging, but also when you leave the house.” While I’m generally not big on gaming-centric clothes, I do dig some of their new holiday line (like the shirt in the header), so maybe they’re onto something.