Boosting PlayStation’s esports presence, one phase at a time.
In 2018 Sony Interactive Entertainment reached out to Zemoga with the need to design and build a product to allow them to participate more aggressively in the esports space. Together, we’ve brought to life a destination site that welcomes and brings value to both competitive gamers and more casual videogame enthusiasts.
Sony PlayStation is a powerful brand in the gaming industry. Our mission was to leverage the existing brand’s positioning and, based on that, create a hub that caters to all types of gamers out there.
From the get-go, we were aware that one of the main existing assets was PlayStation’s tournament infrastructure —a console-oriented solution that helps users worldwide participate in tournaments remotely.
With that in mind, we knew we needed to craft a web-based product in which curated content could co-exist with the friendliest possible tournament-oriented experience.
Our product and technology teams worked in tandem for 4 weeks in a discovery phase that was the foundation for the MVP and subsequent phases.
From a technical perspective, we spent time with Sony’s technology teams to understand the existing environments we’d need to integrate with. In the end, we had enough information to present our recommended technical architecture.
From a product point of view, we focused on learning as much as possible about the business, the users, the PlayStation ecosystem, and the esports space in general. Then, in collaborative sessions, we defined a design problem, mapped user journeys, and ideated to find solutions and identify opportunities.
Product strategy and design
A hub for hardcore and casual gamers
In our Spark process, we learned how important it was to design for casuals and pros. We needed to craft a site for users eager to engage in tournaments and those who just want to watch others play.
The experience is divided between Play, Watch and Learn, allowing users to access quickly the part of the experience they’re likely to enjoy the most.
Embracing MVP thinking to the fullest
Being involved long-term has allowed us to define and work towards a vision we’re not forced to realize in 6 months. We launched our MVP in 2019 and then focused on learning as much as we could from that. Based on data and user feedback, we’ve continued to introduce a mix of improvements and new functionality from our product backlog.
A shift in the content strategy
Making tournaments available in over 80 countries
The product team has found that tournaments are the most popular aspect of the product, so we’ve focused on extending and improving the features associated with that component. We’ve also helped the Sony globalize tournaments, making competitions available to more than 80 countries and 9 languages.
Content that evolves and adapts to our users’ interests
Launching the MVP was vital for the team to validate and refine the role of content in the experience. After that first release, user feedback and usage data showed how much users preferred video over long-form articles.
We also saw how much users tend to focus on just one or two games, making personalization a priority. In the current version of the site, tutorials, competitions, and broadcasts are recommended based on preferences. We’ve also introduced filters, empowering users to control what they see based on what they like.
Given the traffic that a site like this one drives, we had to “step up the game” in terms of infrastructure, security, telemetry, monitoring and distribution. Our audience expected the site to look good, but more than anything, they wanted it to feel good.”
Andrés Zorro, Director, Front-End Development at Zemoga
Continuing the evolution
Zemoga and the PlayStation team have a long relationship based on a perfect mix of both sides’ strengths. After our first release, we’ve continued to push updates that make the product more robust and more aligned with our users’ preferences.
We keep learning from this audience, identifying opportunities, and coming up with creative ideas that lead to an even better product. We’re incredibly excited to be part of the team behind one of the main hubs for fans of competitive gaming around the world.