Recently I spoke with Bring IT CEO Woody Levin about the new online service that allows gamers to compete with one another for real cash. I want to thank Woody and Austin for making this interview happen.
OCMS: What is Bring It and can you tell us how it works?
Bringit is a consumer driven website which allows gamers of all different skill levels to compete in their favorite games for real cash! Through our safe and secure website our members set up games by Barking in our lobbies to other members or posting open challenges. Members can play 1 v 1 as well as NCAA Bracket style tournaments in games such as UFC Undisputed, Madden, COD, Halo, Super Smash Brothers, and many more!
Gamers log on to BringIt and deposit money via Pay Pal or Credit or Debit card. Your money is maintained in a secure account with which you commit your stakes and stash your winnings. Once you agree on a game to play and opponent you accept the challenge and the collective stakes are held in an escrow account until the winner is declared and verified. The funds are then released into the winner’s secure account, and feedback is left by both players.
OCMS: How did Bring it come about?
In college at U-W Madison, the winters were cold and we were often cooped up in our rooms gaming well into the night. At that time, like most competitive youngsters, we all thought we were the best at Goldeneye, Mario Kart, Madden etc… We had to up the ante to see who could put up or shut up when something real was on the line – like pizza, beer, or cash. When I graduated I continued to play video games, but missed the competitive feeling I’d get when I’d play someone for something real. I wondered if there was some way we could do it over the internet, and after some research and a lot of testing and talking to the gaming community, BringIt was born. We have raised Venture Capital as well as put together an experienced executive team to run the company.
OCMS: How have you managed to avoid any issues with the console and game manufacturers as I would think that using their licensed games and hardware for gambling must have raised some eyebrows?
Well I do have my JDS, in case I need to use it. . No, haha, BringIt is simply a third party transactional system. It is skills based gaming and is 100% legal. It is no different than playing chess, backgammon, or any other game online for cash. The same laws that fantasy football relies on we do to legally provide this great service. The game makers like what we’re doing because more people play their games for longer periods of time.
OCMS: What have been some of your greatest obstacles and biggest success stories so far?
Well in five months having launched we’ve been featured in TechCrunch, landed a four page spread in the Xbox Official Magazine, and even the home page on Playboy.com for several days. Plus, we’re growing at astounding rate. Our biggest obstacle so far was getting PayPal to cooperate, but after they saw the business model, logistics, and legal aspects they are now totally on board – and it’s great to see a lot of members depositing with PayPal!
OCMS: What systems does Bringit Support?
Xbox360, PS3, Nintendo Wii, and PS2
OCMS: Why does Bringit not support PC games and are there plans to include them in the future?
Right now we want to make sure that we don’t grow too quickly and neglect the little details that make BringIt the number one competitive gaming site out there. SMS Text notification of your challenges as well as Auto Score Reporting on all EA Games keeps our members coming back. We will expand into the PC space in the future, but right now we want to continue to grow our critical mass in the console realm.
OCMS: What are the most popular games that players compete against each other with?
Well it’s cool to see so many different games going down at any given point on the site. But, like you might imagine, Madden, NHL, FIFA, both Call of Duties, UFC, Halo, and Super Smash Bros are all HUGE.
OCMS: What can you tell the readers about BringIts ranking system?
BringIt’s Ranking System is uniquely based off of your win/loss record and your previous strength of schedule. Like the BCS Rankings we have our proprietary algorithmic model which helps to create transparency and level the playing field so that users can “matchup” against their opponent. . We also just added a “Badge” system based off your BringIt Ranking which allows users of different abilities to play in specially locked tournaments just for novices, rookies, pros, veterans, and experts. It’s great because casual gamers like myself can get in on the action and still have a chance to win.
OCMS: How are challenges issued and how is the betting and payouts handled?
You can post and accept challenges as often as you want to play…you set the rules and choose the dollar amount. During gameplay, the collective entry fees are held in an escrow account until the winner is declared and verified. The funds are then released into the winner’s secure account. Everything is efficient, and safe, and secure. The community is really helpful to new players even with cash on the line.
OCMS: With such heated competition, disputes are bound to arise, how does Bringit handle this?
Issues do arise from time to time, but we knew they would. That’s why we have a well thought out dispute resolution system, 24/7 live support, and member feedback. We also have ASR, or Auto Score Reporting which the users really enjoy– the ASR system sends the scores of the game directly from the user’s consoles to BringIt upon completion. Members who may try to break the rules are fined and will be banned from competitive play on the site.
We also focus on member satisfaction and that is why we have the 24/7 live support as a resource for anyone with questions and inquiries. We have created the safest and securest gaming environment possible, I think that’s the only way it can work, and I know we offer that to our members.
OCMS: What is the largest pay out to date for the site?
The largest 1 v 1 match I’ve personally seen has been for $500 a side!. BringIt will regularly post multiplayer tournaments with payouts over $100.
I remember cutting a check to one of our members who withdrew $5000. That was a really cool moment for me, I saw someone who could making a living off playing video games. BringIt gave this member the opportunity to use his or her skills to be the best and monetize them.
OCMS: How does the site prevent Professional gamers from coming on and cleaning up against inexperienced players?
BringIt has multiple safeguards including the BringIt Ranking and user feedback. We also limit the amount of money that a new player can play for in their first 10, 20, and 30 matches. So no matter who it is playing on the site you’re going to have some history of their Wins and Losses. BringIt is set up to level the playing field and allow gamers of all skill levels the ability to make some cash doing what they love.
OCMS: What Verification system does BringIt use for matches?
BringIt allows its members to choose between Auto Score Reporting and self reporting. The community really polices itself like it does on Ebay. We see less that 3% of all games go into dispute and that number continues to decrease.
OCMS: What sort of future events and features are pending for the site?
We are very excited to come out of Beta in the next 60 days, and our new design is unreal. The designers and developers took lots of feedback from our members and have really created something very special. We are also going to be debut our Clan/Team Match technology where FPS gamers will be able to play each other up to 16 a side!
BringIt 2.0 is going to have tons of new features include an awesome, slick new interface, separate lobbies for different games and consoles, tournament trophies, custom profile pages where you can upload screen shots and game images, and much more. You have to come by and check us out…it really is taking gaming to the next level!
You can read more of Gareth’s articles at Skewed and Reviewed.