Interview: Rob Lineker, founder of Doesplay
"Are you playing in the Doesplay tonight?"
If you spend a lot of time in the ANZCoD twittersphere, you will likely have seen some variation of the above. While it might not make much sense to outsiders; to the ANZ community it's become an integral part of our vocabulary. Only twelve months ago Doesplay was unheard of -- today, 'Doesplay' is a word synonymous with "competition".
"Doesplay was born from a need to simplify competitive gaming," explains Rob Lineker, Doesplay's founder and director. "I just find it ridiculous that competitive gaming websites make it so difficult to find competitions, their rules, and their schedules."
Originally the Doesplay website was intended to be a simple calendar, tying together competitive events held by organisations such as the Australian Cyber League and Cybergamer AU. However, as Lineker puts it, "It became clear that people just didn't want to play time-consuming ladder matches anymore, and [one-day competitions] were too few and far between. I knew from playing in some semi-successful amateur night comps, that more nightly competitions were the future and the best way to grow the scene."
Since its inception, Doesplay has seen the competitive scene transform from the occasional one-day competition - catering to between 12 and 40 teams once a month - to regular weeknight tourneys with over 70 teams attending regularly. Looking at the calendar on Doesplay's website, there are five competitions in the next seven days alone, and Lineker does not plan to slow down. "We have over three thousand active competitors [signed up to our website]," Lineker says, "and hundreds of paying subscribers to our Doesplay Premium Membership. We hope to grow both of those numbers tenfold before the year is out."
"No one can say they understand competitive if they don't play it themselves. I think people should respect that almost all the Doesplay staff play competitively, regularly, and in our own competitions. We see what needs to be fixed as soon as it becomes an issue. We trust our players and their feedback because we are playing alongside them. No one else in the scene plays their own competitions, so I take pride in saying we're a competitive gaming company driven by competitive gamers." - Rob Lineker
Lineker cites Doesplay's accessibility as a large part of its appeal. "We cater for the amateur and pro player alike," he says. "Our structure allows players of all skill levels to compete on a regular basis, and to improve by playing under tournament conditions more often." Doesplay itself thrives with this flexible approach to competitions. Their nightly free-to-play events are rarely planned ahead for, and can be added to the Doesplay calendar only hours in advance. Registration for each tournament is open until the minute of the scheduled start time.
This system affords players a degree of flexibility unheard of within other organisations in the ANZ region. Having played competitively himself since 2013, Lineker understands how important this versatility is to competitors. "Players want to compete at their own discretion -- they don't want team restrictions and [long-term] commitment," he says. "The idea of roster locks and player restrictions [locking in a team roster for a set period of time]... is archaic and unnecessary."
Doesplay's main focus is currently on Call of Duty, arguably the most well-known console title on the market. This will change in future as Doesplay brings other titles into the roster -- both on console and PC -- beginning with the recent introduction of Counterstrike, and Hearthstone, to the Doesplay competitive circuit. "We're looking to reproduce our success with Call of Duty in other titles," Lineker reveals.
When speaking of the future, the Doesplay director is nothing but optimistic. In his own words, "Our vision is a lot bigger than most people tend to realise. We have goals to achieve that span the next 10 years. We've invested in this company and in our community."