Dear Smartlaunch, Stop Hurting Video Game LAN eSports Centers and Arenas

So… I got this cool email from Smartlaunch today (pasted at the bottom). For those of you late to the game, in June of this year I sent Smartlaunch an email letting them know ggCircuit (my software company) will be discontinuing support of Smartlaunch on July 1.  I sent the email on June 27 and then 3 days later on June 30, Smartlaunch announced their “eSports 5.0” product.  It is posted on their “blog” which was the last post made on there the same day they announced eSports Leagues which never have started.  I did a quick screen grab of their site this morning:
smartlaunch-screen-grab

Smartlaunch Screen Grab from October 31, 2016

 
As you all know, there wasn’t anything close to being a product yet, who knows if there was actually one at that point. After months of people trying to get it, some people actually got something installed (which has to be done directly working with one guy) and it was obviously not anywhere near finished.
 
So today, on the last day of our ggLeap pioneer program, they sent the email below to let all of us know that it “has been released”.  Sounds great?  But is it is an official product that we can all run our centers with and feel good about?  
 
During this time Smartlaunch keeps signing centers up with “BIG” discounts for 1, 2 and 3 year contracts. Then nothing works right, they disappear and stop helping centers and move on to try and sell the next long contract.  I know this because the list is LONG of centers coming to us just happy that we answer the phone, reply to emails, answer FB messages, give our Skype account to them, etc.
I absolutely don’t care about competition with our own software, if I give them the courtesy of allowing them to be anywhere near our product to call them a competitor.  For those that know me, I thrive on competition.  I welcome it.  I am driven on the thought of someone out working me to the finish line.

For the 12 years I have ran my centers I firmly believe that Smartlaunch has caused our industry to be stagnant and been solely responsible for many centers closing their doors.

While that may seem like a strong statement, here are the facts to support it:
  • In 2004 when I opened eBash, Smartlaunch software license could be purchased for a one-time fee.  We paid $1,500 for our copy and not only was it promoted as no other fees in the future, we could also actively sell our license to other stores.  This was a REAL program they supported, you contacted them and said “I sold my license for 27 stations to this email address” and they would transfer them.  Crazy, they actually made the licenses a commodity and gave them value almost like a bar with a liquor license.
  • Smartlaunch then went into financial ruin.  I know more than most about what happened.  But I will keep this extremely fact based.  They went out of business.
  • All of a sudden, they are back in business again and guess what?  Now you have to pay a monthly fee for the licenses for the EXACT SAME THING YOU ALREADY BOUGHT for a one time fee.  It seems like a joke, but it wasn’t.  Because the licenses we bought outright still authenticated on boot up they were able to just shut everyone off without a monthly subscription.  How does a monthly subscription even make sense when the software runs on game center servers at the game centers?  There is no SaaS model here, and there were no new updates to justify charging monthly.
  • Up until I guess today (if we believe this is a NEW product released today) the software has been on the exact same version since I started in 2004.  Yep, 12 years of the exact same version of software being provided and still charging monthly with nothing new and worthwhile developed.
  • The software is dated and therefore it still takes tech geniuses to be able to run it.  You have to set-up a local server, understand databases, be able to write batch files and search the internet for extra solutions.  Business people cannot run LAN centers using Smartlaunch, they have to be technically savvy and spend hours with work-around solutions to get things to work correctly.
  • Here is the big one:  For all of the  years that I have been in business as a LAN center owner, Smartlaunch has NEVER been concerned with making sure their own customers are successful.  It has always been about the money.  For them centers come-and-go and is all water under the bridge.

This is why today’s email makes me so upset.  Smartlaunch doesn’t care about the centers, they just care about the fact that someone else like us (www.ggleap.com) has finally started a product that actually helps centers.  They are willing to lie to people, take their money and then literally put them out of business and move on to the next center.

To continue to break down where we are at today, let’s take a look at the main differences between our product, ggLeap, and Smartlaunch’s new product they are calling eSports 5.0 from feedback with centers that have ran it so far:

ggLeap

Smartlaunch
Cloud-based servers Yes No
Web-based admin usable anywhere Yes No
Game license management between multiple centers Yes No
Free game licenses like Battlefield 1 Yes No
Multiple center support channels Yes No
Player stat tracking in-game with leaderboards Yes (3 years) No Proof
Unique prize and redemption system Yes (3 years) No Proof
Integrated touranment bracket software Yes (3 years) No Proof
Prize support from major gaming companies Yes No
Built by LAN center owners Yes No

Currently we are moving centers over to ggLeap that have “upgraded” to Smartlaunch’s new eSports 5.0 product.  They can’t get rid of it.  It is either so genius in programming as an intentional take over of control of the machine or so completely poorly written that they forgot to make a way to uninstall it. Centers are now just formatting their PCs to get rid of the Smartlaunch product and start over from scratch!

Thanks for the Monday morning motivation Smartlaunch.  If that was not your intention, then sorry about your luck.  Just stop over-promising and under-delivering and I will leave you alone.  In the meantime you are putting my friends and good centers out of business so it is very personal for me.

I will leave everyone with the copy of the email I received today from Smartlaunch which is a desperate ploy to try and keep customers from jumping ship.

************* Email from Smartlaunch sent today, October 31 ***************

Hello

Smartlaunch eSports 5.0 has been released! eSports is experiencing explosive growth, which has made it a necessity for game centers to deliver advanced services to an increasingly sophisticated customer base.

Smartlaunch eSports 5.0 is a state-of-the-art software platform designed to deliver a complete eSports solution to Game Centers and eSports Arenas. Smartlaunch eSports 5.0 introduces a wide range of tools for day to day management of an eSports centers as well as administration tools for organization of local eSports events and participation in international competitions.

Smartlaunch eSports 5.0 comes with long awaited features such as automated game loading and patching in addition to a suite of eSports features including popular game statistics, player rankings and individual profiles for players and teams.

You can upgrade to Smartlaunch eSports 5.0 under the supervision of Smartlaunch Support. For more information and to book your installation contact me at vj@smartlaunch.com or support@smartlaunch.com.

Vinay Java
Smartlaunch
vj@smartlaunch.com

One thought on “Dear Smartlaunch, Stop Hurting Video Game LAN eSports Centers and Arenas

  1. i have seen many examples for this sentence :
    “I firmly believe that Smartlaunch has caused our industry to be stagnant and been solely responsible for many centers closing their doors.”
    so i believe it
    thank you

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