This was the biggest year ever for esports. Competitive gaming has more players, a bigger audience, and a brighter future than ever before. Over a period of 10 days, the Daily Dot will profile people who’ve fueled this unprecedented growth, from top players to industry visionaries.
In our first in the series, we looked at Sasha “Scarlett” Hostyn, the 20-year-old StarCraft 2 phenom from Canada. Today, we’re introducing you to Rod “Slasher” Breslau, the hardest-working man in esports news.
Rod “Slasher” Breslau is a tireless hustler. In a world of ephemeral efame that goes as fast as it comes, that’s not a bad quality to have.
Although he’s been around competitive gaming for 15 years, Breslau has willed himself into the position of a top industry journalist in the past five years as esports has exploded in popularity. Based in Manhattan but a fixture at most important esports competitions around the globe, he sees airplane toilets as much as his apartment’s porcelain throne.
After leaving a notable gig at Major League Gaming in 2011, Breslau set out on a quiet quest to build a big, independent esports website on par with the mainstream gaming media giants. Eventually, Breslau would serve as catalyst to the founding of an entirely new division within CBS Interactive, devoted exclusively to esports: OnGamers, which launched officially in November.
Breslau deserves a lot of credit not just for onGamer’s existence but also its impressive staff, which he helped recruit all the way to the top. The website is only just getting started and still has a lot of hurdles to pass. But with such an extensive roster of esports journalists, a handful of early hit articles (including one major scoop), and the backing of a multibillion dollar conglomerate, the potential is undeniable.
The year is ending in triumph for Breslau, but it began a bit more muddled. Alex Garfield, the owner of the behemoth esports team Evil Geniuses, publicly and loudly chewed Breslau out on a live Twitch stream in January. Garfield was furious over the fact that Breslau had reported on leaks relating to two major acquisitions on Garfield’s team. Privately, the pair eventually made amends. But that argument provoked very public debates about the role roster leaks should play in esports journalism that still haven’t been settled.
After that fight, Breslau went a long time without getting yelled at. Too long, if you believe there is a correlation between worthwhile journalism and rustling feathers. Earlier this month, shortly after onGamers officially launched, Breslau helped break a story about League of Legends player contracts, which gave important insights into how the biggest esports league works.
There was no public scolding this time. But the public spotlight that Breslau put on the normally secretive world of the esports industry undoubtedly left a few powerful people unhappy.
This year, amidst making a few powerful people very angry, Breslau helped forge a new CBS brand and continues to build toward ubiquity in esports. The community would be well served if he gets yelled at a few more times in 2014.