So here I am, just a few days before pulling back-to-back trips for two different majors: Rumble in the Tundra 6 & The Fall Classic. Countless matches to call, hours in front of the camera & hundreds (if not thousands) of viewers watching... and for what?
Just so we're clear about something right out the gate, this month's Dynamek Perspective isn't going to be cheerful, reminiscent or anything jovial like that... no, there's a very particular thorn in my side at the moment and, on the cusp of my travels, I intend to address it head-on.
Over the last few months, we here at Kick-Punch-Block have been exceptionally busy on the tournament circuit. None more highly visible than our time at Summer Jam X this past August. Our involvement & connection with KOF XIV is apparent and there really is no denying that. Hell, the origins of our streaming production is directly related to the KOF XIII's exposure in this region. The community knows us & it respects all the effort we put in to accommodate them. However, something changed between those halcyon, pre-Aphro days and now, the glorious Dynamek Era. (Heheheh, sorry... couldn't help myself.)
To properly frame this message, I want to take you back to Winter Brawl this year. All things considered, it wasn't half bad. Despite everyone, more or less, still reeling from the holiday season in their own respective ways, we had a good time. The crew even managed to get me out to Philly since it was my birthday weekend -- a piece of information I did well to keep quiet -- so that I wouldn't miss out on anything. Had the chance to see a lot of great matches, as well. All in all, it was a fun event for us. Keeping all that in mind, I need you to put yourself in my (comically large) shoes for a moment. Imagine coming back from that weekend and, because you're long overdue for one, you decide to take a personal day from work just so that you can recharge your proverbial batteries before returning to the ol' rat race. During that wonderful day off, you opt to check out YouTube & see what's new in the uploads. Are you're still with me? Good, let's take this a step further & make it personal.
I now want you to imagine that you're an official member of an FGC team that has a committed streaming presence in your region. Imagine that YOU are the team's official commentator. One of your myriad responsibilities on the team is to consistently be energetic, engaging & entertaining for the audience who has taken time out of their day to view this stream over literally thousands of others. Seems like a hefty burden, doesn't it? Especially since you take that job seriously as it means that you are one of, if not the primary representative for your entire team. You've become the "face" (or, to be precise, the "voice") of your team. As such, there will be a small handful of moments when YOU will be the first thing some people think of when they think of your team. If this all sounds heavy-handed or overbearing, humor me for just one more paragraph.
Now, with ALL OF THAT being said, put yourself back into that day off you took from work. Like I said before, you decide to check out YouTube to kill some time since you're clearly not in a rush to do anything overly constructive. Are you in that moment? Cool... now imagine how utterly perplexed while simultaneously furious you would be when you see your team's ENTIRE broadcast posted on someone else's channel. Not a particularly dramatic set or a Top 8 qualifier... the whole damn thing. Believe it or not, that was the scenario I got to experience after my birthday. I realize that this possibly looks naive on my part to an almost monumental scale, but I was unaware that the wholesale bootlegging of tournament streams was a thing. Sure, I knew you could find individual matches from most majors online, but the concept of just lifting a complete production & passing it off as your own is beyond me.
To make matters worse, now that I'm aware of this phenomenon, I cannot escape it. Damn near every time I open up YouTube, I see another channel that has bootlegged an event's stream. Aside from being frustrating, it is also incredibly demoralizing. You see, stuff like that won't really make a dent in other streamer's lives because they're too big to notice or even bother to give a damn. That's not a luxury afforded to us, however. As maligned as I am to admit it, KPB isn't as universally recognized as I'd like us to be. Just the way things are, I guess... but I won't let that stop me from working my ass off for this team.
I bring this up because of what's in store for us throughout the rest of 2016: Rumble6, TFC, GUTS4 & NEC17. Four majors in three months. That's a lot of miles to travel only to have all the hard work of this team get passed around like some internet meme. There are steps that can be taken to counteract this, but there is always going to be a 'way' since the 'will' obviously exists. And they are industrious, too. Every time one channel gets reported, two or more pop up in its wake. Like fighting the Hydra, it can prove to be a somewhat futile task to even raise the concern in the first place.
However, regardless of what new ways are found to screw us over, our efforts will continue. This is who we are & this is what we do. An old African proverb states: "If you can talk, you can sing; if you can walk, you can dance". As long as there is breath in my lungs & strength in my legs, I'm going to keep being the Voice of KPB... regardless of how my melodious baritone reaches the ears of the masses.
Until next time... keep fighting the good fight, my friends.