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An esports team isn’t really like the squad that you see on the field in professional sports. Instead, a company like Tempo Storm is much more like the business organization that runs a franchise. Sure, the team members compete to win in tournaments, but they are also often content creators. During this week’s How Games Make Money episode, I spoke with Tempo Storm chief executive Andrey “Reynad” Yanyuk about embracing diverse responsibilities.

Reynad realized early on that esports wasn’t only about playing games all day. He quickly spun up a production arm of Tempo Storm to begin creating content for brands and sponsors. But that also unlocked an idea for something new for Tempo Storm.

“We really found a lot of success with the production arm,” Reynad told GamesBeat. “It was helping with the money. It was getting us new clients. So we started promoting all this different stuff, and eventually, we started working with game publishers.”

During this period, more publishers warmed up to the idea of paying influencers like the pros at Tempo Storm for promotion. And that worked especially well, Reynad said.

“Out of all the different products we’ve ever promoted in the history of the company, when we promoted video games through a direct publisher relationship, it was the best we’ve ever pushed any product,” he said. “And we basically realized, ‘Holy shit — we’re sitting on this distribution tool that is so effective at driving game downloads,’ and I thought what if we just got rid of the middleman.”

Tempo Storm expands into game development

In the case of Tempo Storm, the middleman is the game developer. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that Tempo Storm is an intermediary for people trying to sell video games. Reynad and his team created a pool of talented influencers and competitors, and then those marketers use Tempo Storm to amplify their promotions.

But Tempo Storm wants to see if it can do all of that itself. And that led Reynad to oversee the creation of Tempo Storm’s own video game, Bazaar.

“Luckily, our core fanbase is strategy game players and card game players, and that is a pretty inexpensive genre of game to make,” Reynad said. “And we found that there are a lot of extremely competent animation studios and software vendors around the world. These teams have incredible expertise in making a game. They could do it really cost effectively, so basically we decided that we’re going to be the first esports team to start developing our own game.”

Reynad said that Tempo Storm is putting its best effort into Bazaar. And he thinks the team has the experience to know what makes a strategy card game great. And, of course, it has the infrastructure to promote products.

“It’ll be successful because we know we have a good distribution engine,” said Reyand. “We’ve promoted hundreds of games. And not all of them are triple-A phenomenal games. So even the fail case here still seemed very safe to me.”

And Reynad says that he understands that some fans will view Tempo Storm differently as a game developer.

“It’s a different type of accountability than when you’re a streamer talking to your fans,” he said. “But so far we haven’t seen any resentment. People just seem to be really excited.”

The CEO sees this as a chance for Tempo Storm to build a profitable central pillar.

“I’d compare it to something like Bloomberg,” said Reynad. “It owns business media, but most of its revenue is based on one high-margin product, the Bloomberg terminal. For us, that’s going to be our game.”

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