Dear Friends,

Well, these aren't the circumstances under which we ever thought we'd launch our first product.  First and foremost, we want to send our thoughts and prayers to anyone affected by COVID-19, whether directly or indirectly.  And we're all being affected in one way or another - whether it's having to stay inside, reading what's in the news, or (hopefully not) shouldering the burden of being sick or caring for someone sick.  Gaming at its best can be many things, and one of them is a haven for those unable to find safety or comfort in their immediate environments.  Sometimes this can be social, but in our current, global crisis it is undeniably physical - and we hope that being part of the gaming community, in whatever way, has been able to offer all of you some respite in this very difficult time.

One of our core goals with Popdog from the very beginning has been to make gaming better for all, and we'd like to think that we've done a pretty good job of that thus far.  On the Loaded side of the business, we've been lucky to work with some amazing talent and partners to do what we view as helping to push the industry forward.  We've worked with our influencers to usher brands into the space in never-before-seen ways, like Ninja's collaboration with Adidas that involved the company's first shoe collaboration with a gamer.  We've worked with platforms to negotiate lucrative content agreements for our influencers, like Ninja, TimtheTatman, Shroud, and CouRage, that have seen gamers creep closer and closer to being paid like professional athletes and mainstream celebrities.  And we've worked with major game developers and publishers to produce unprecedented influencer-focused launch campaigns for titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Apex Legends.

On the Popdog side of the business, which is what we call our technology arm, we've been in stealth.  Part of this is because of the company's overall focus on the continued growth of Loaded, but part of it is also because our most powerful product might be one that's invisible.  Over the past year, our dedicated product and engineering teams have been hard at work creating a robust esports and livestreaming analytics backend that processes tens of millions of messages and data points every day - allowing us to take what we believe is the most comprehensive daily snapshot of the industry available.  At launch, we marketed ourselves as the backend of gaming and esports - and while it seems our company might be becoming much more than that, we wanted to keep to our word.  The question has been, after developing this, not whether it was valuable - but what do we do with it?

We worked on several concepts over the course of the year.  Some were good, and we might still roll them out, but ultimately we didn't find something we were truly excited about - that is, until now.

One of the core beliefs that this company was founded on was that gaming and esports content would not only continue to grow over time, but that it would spread.  The industry is bigger than ever before - and getting bigger - but there are also more moving parts than ever, with so many destinations, channels, and content creators (ultimately, a good thing).  As we thought about what to build, especially with what we were seeing firsthand with Loaded, we noticed that there needed to be something to help make sense of all of this stuff.  And so, the product you're seeing today was born.  It's a discovery tool and aggregator designed to make it easier for you to find out what's going on that's important, and keep track of things you already like.

It's a start - and hopefully a good one - but far from a finished product.  We have some neat features - like the ability to import your follows from multiple platforms so you can keep everything all in one place; an esports directory that automatically displays the scores of ongoing matches; and a "trending" algorithm that uses our fancy data backend to highlight content that's significantly outperforming its average.  But ultimately, this product is something that we hope will develop into something more.  We plan on adding more features, like profile pages and deeper esports functionality - and our most important goal now that we've launched is to gather feedback from everyone in the community and the industry and find what works best for all.  We don't want to build what we want - we want to build what you guys want.

So, come talk to us.  Leave us feedback on our forums and on Twitter.  If you’re an industry partner, reach out.  We hope this can develop into something truly special for everyone - because the easier it is to find what's on, the more people will get involved (which is good for all).  In the meantime, watch our video, and take a look at the site.  We hope you like what you see.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there.

With all of our best wishes,

Alex Andreas Josh
Colin Niles Brandon