Forward Gaming CEO and founder David Dashtoyan talked to Championat.com about founding his own organization, difficulties of choosing its name, explained why he started the with the Dota 2 roster and more. The full interview is available here.
Why found your own organization
When you’re working from within, you inevitably notice that you could do some things differently. However, I would say that with experience this feeling only grows smaller. When you are 19 you think that everything in the world is done wrong and you can come and turn things upside down. Only later you start understanding that some things are not ideal due to certain limitations. [...] Still, sometimes you notice some details that others ignore, because they didn’t notice or were lazy. Every one of those moments you see as an opportunity. There is always something to improve and bring to the next level. When I decided to create my own organization, I had a list of things that I wanted to do better than others.
Choosing the name
We spent a lot of time coming up with this name. A perfect name has to fit a few criterias. Firstly, it has to be nice to say and easy to chant. I think that Virtus.pro is a very good name from that point of view, because you just want to chant that last syllable. I think Forward Gaming is also very organic like this. I can already imagine people chanting: “Push Forward!” [...]
Looking for a name is a very difficult task. By the end of it I was completely buried in the dictionary listing through words, because I didn’t have any ideas left. When I stumbled upon “Forward”, I was absolutely sure that its domain is taken, but it turned out to be free. Plus we managed to avoid the abbreviation with “G”, since there is a ton of teams like this: IG, EG, VG and so on. We specifically wrote our tag as FWD.
Russian CEO, but American organization
Forward is definitely an American organization. It will have an almost completely American management. I will be the only Russian-speaking manager there. We will start our recruitment in NA and then expand to the international level. However, we plan to also work on the Russian and Chinese markets, at least in social media. The main reason for this is economical. Purchasing power of the American audience is about 10 times bigger than in CIS. [...]
Why start with Dota 2
Firstly, the barrier of entry to Dota 2 and CS:GO is a lot lower than into a franchise model. To enter the NA LoL or Overwatch, you have to pay a sizable franchise fee. But the most important thing was getting an opportunity to sign one of the most successful rosters available in the scene.
Our policy regarding other teams will be based on if we will be able to sign a team that can become one of the favorites right away. When we realized that this team has all the potential to enter every major event and place high, we decided to fight for them. When we will realize that there is the same kind of roster in CS;GO or even some franchise leagues, we will be thinking about opening a new roster right away.
We categorically do not want to be an organization with the “Virtus.pro syndrome”. For almost the entire history of that organization one of their rosters was carrying the other. [...] We want to avoid this situation and grow like Astralis. It is better to have only one roster, but the best in the world. [...]
Running the roster
We have an agreement with the team: nobody can initiate a change in the roster without a majority of votes. I can’t come and tell them who they should replace. But if the majority of players want change, they will come to me. I will make the final decision. [...] There may be situations, when I could notice that a decision was made too emotionally. Then I will have an opportunity to time-out the team for a week or two for them to wait and say they final opinions. [...]
Plans for the roster
We have a motivational system for the pay, tied to winning events. But at the same time we don’t have any requirements for the amount of any winnings or titles. In general, I don’t think there is any necessity to additionally motivate players, since most prize money end up in player’s hands in esports anyway. It is already a giant motivation for them.
We promised the guys that they can play this season as they can and we won’t be coming to them after two failed events demanding roster changes. We trust them and believe in their potential. [...] We will be drawing conclusion only at the end of this season.
Forward Gaming picked up its first esports team, former VGJ.Storm, on Sept. 14, at the end of the post-TI shuffle. Despite being a very lucrative squad to have in North America, the roster had to be dropped by Vici Gaming due to new DPC rules. Forward Gaming already qualified to the new season's first Major: The Kuala Lumpur Major, representing NA together with Evil Geniuses and Marchoutofarmy.