Updated: Aug 14
The Meteoric Rise of the Gaming Industry and Dustup's Unique Solution
Imagine an industry valued at an eye-popping $300 billion, with a player base that's nearly half the population of planet Earth - a staggering 2.9 billion people. Now, compare this to the music industry's sales of $26.2 billion and the film industry's revenue of $77 billion in 2022. No, this isn't some hypothetical scenario. It's the reality of the global gaming industry today.
Now, let's delve deeper into the dynamic, rapidly-growing world of esports, as professional gaming is known. According to Statista, the esports market was valued at over $1.38 billion in 2022, and this figure is set to grow exponentially. The lion's share of this market belongs to the powerhouses of China and the US, but what's truly intriguing is the legions of non-professional gamers who like to compete. This segment of “enthusiast gamers” - numbering in the hundreds of millions - relishes the thrill of formal tournaments outside of regular online matchmaking. But they are currently underserved.
Accessing tournaments through existing esports infrastructure presents numerous challenges. The registration process is often tedious. Most platforms require players to use multiple interfaces and chat systems to coordinate the competition. And prize payouts are slow with high fees. All these issues lead to a subpar experience, holding back growth in grassroots esports.
Meet the Game Changer: Dustup
Enter Dustup, the brainchild of Neil Woodfine, a passionate enthusiast gamer himself. Having spent a decade in China where he co-founded Remitsy, a bitcoin-based cross-border payment system (eventually sold to Bitcoin startup Wyre in 2017), Neil had a front-row seat to the opportunities in the gaming landscape and the challenges presented by cross-border payments using existing fiat payment rails.
Neil didn't embark on this journey alone. He assembled a dream team: Richard Bensberg, a self-taught engineer and veteran of the bitcoin industry who Neil met during their stint at OKCoin, is Chief Product Officer, and Adam Woodfine, Neil's brother, a top-tier Rocket League player and software developer, is the Lead Developer.
A Solution Tailored for Gamers, by Gamers
During Neil's time running Remitsy, he was approached by a number of esports companies facing challenges with cross-border payments. Also, as a gamer himself, he experienced firsthand the difficulties of participating in esports tournaments with real stakes. The solution? Dustup.
Dustup is an esports tournament platform that provides a user-friendly experience for enthusiast gamers hosting tournaments. The platform utilises bitcoin for payments, bypassing the regional limitations of legacy payment systems. It enables participation fees and prize money to be paid in a universally accepted currency, ensuring a truly global and inclusive esports tournament experience for enthusiast gamers.
Comparing Apples to Oranges: The Competition
Competitors include platforms such as Challengermode, Battlefy, and Toornament. These platforms are bogged down by a long-winded onboarding process, and Battlefy, for example, requires users to submit a plethora of personally identifiable information during onboarding.
In contrast, Dustup allows users to create esports tournaments in less than 30 seconds with just a few simple steps. The use of Bitcoin for payments eliminates the need for cross-border payments integrations and offers a universal currency for fee payments and prizes.
An additional standout feature is the ability to slash the scoring process duration from an hour to a mere few seconds. Lastly, Dustup doesn't drag players onto another platform and instead lives directly on Discord, the go-to chat and VOIP platform for gamers.
Financial Prospects & Risks
Following a successful completion of the Wolf accelerator program and a $250k investment from Wolf, Dustup is now extending its pre-seed round. According to a 2022 survey by TheGamer, the average American spends $76 per month on gaming, with millennials hitting a monthly average of $86. Given the Total Addressable Market (TAM) of millions of gamers globally who could be onboarded, potential revenues for Dustup are substantial.
Dustup's team of passionate gamers have an in-depth understanding of their industry, the payments space, and Bitcoin, giving them a distinct edge. They're solving real pain points in the user journey. While large gaming software providers could potentially move into this space, their ability to pivot quickly may be limited, and talent that understands both gaming and Bitcoin is scarce. Thus, Dustup's headstart could be their ace in the hole, at least until the competition wakes up.