A new way to stay up to date on esports called Juked, which aggregates esports streams across Twitch, YouTube, Mixer and others into a streamlined schedule, provides statistics and enhances viewer experience and encourages cross-game viewing, launched into open beta Wednesday.
The company was co-founded by entrepreneur Ben "Fishstix" Goldhaber -- who was the first gaming-specific hire at Justin.tv in 2011, months before it launched Twitch -- and programmer and show producer Chris "ChanmanV" Chan. The company first announced its intention to launch on July 1 and underwent private alpha and beta testing stages throughout the late summer and early fall.
Juked will cover more than 20 esports titles, including League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, Overwatch and more. The product is similar to TV Guide, outlining the schedule for all esports events and providing embedded livestreams and video-on-demand replays to create a game-based and global directory. Juked also provides tournament standings, brackets and statistics for each event it covers.
"When you talk to anyone in the industry or anyone that's just a hardcore fan of esports, they know that there's been a problem with discovery that you have to go to five different sources just to find what you need to understand what's happening, even just in the top couple of esports titles out there," Goldhaber told ESPN. "So as esports fans, this is a pain that we felt many, many times throughout the years. There's a lot of people like us who want to know what's happening across many different titles, but you can't do that in any meaningful way right now with the existing products that are out there."
The new project spawned from a site Goldhaber started prior to beginning at Justin.tv. Over the past few years, Goldhaber and Chan have worked on talk shows on Twitch, primarily one that centered on competitive Overwatch. After Goldhaber was laid off by Twitch in March 2018, he and Chan began brainstorming together and coined Juked.
Goldhaber and Chan did not disclose user numbers from the early and alpha and beta stages, but stated that feedback had been incredibly positive and that the company hoped to grow organically through word of mouth, search engine optimization and leveraging their personal contacts and networks. The company also hopes to roll out premium features via a subscription model in the future, Goldhaber and Chan told ESPN.
"The value proposition for the subscription will be a blend of features that make people's lives easier just to follow esports," Chan said. "Things like our newsletter, things like a summary of this past weekend, the highlights you should watch, some of the results that you should know, if you can only spend five minutes or 10 minutes getting caught up. Then content for sure.
"I think ads at some point will be something we consider as well. Maybe first, to be honest, maybe we can serve some ads, just while we're trying to get users, just have the free experience and then have this subscription."
The launch of Juked comes as competitors to Twitch have begun investing significantly in the gaming and esports spaces. In the past three months, Microsoft-backed Mixer, Google-owned YouTube and Fox-backed Caffeine have each signed exclusive contracts with influencers, with some also entering the live event esports space.