Nathan Briffa Interviewed - Team Manager at ORDER

We're kicking off March with an exclusive interview with a Maltese-Australian who recently rose to a managerial role in ORDER. ORDER is an exceptional Australian eSports organisation, and if you'd like to learn more we'll leave the talking to Nathan Briffa himself. 

1.) It’s great to finally have the chance to interview you. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself and your affiliation with esports? Along with that, please share your affiliation with your Maltese roots?

Thank you very much, it’s great to have the opportunity to talk with you. I have been working in esports since 2014. I began my esports career with an Australian team, Team Immunity. I started out as a content creator, and just assisted with management where the players needed it. I then transitioned into a dedicated management role and have been doing it with different organisations ever since. I am Maltese on my father’s side (David Briffa). My grandfather was born in Sliema. He left for Canada at a young age and arrived in Melbourne in 1956 where he met his to be wife, who was from Hungary. We have family living in St. Julian’s.

2.) On a personal level, how familiar are you with Maltese culture and traditions?

Being a non-native Maltese, I’m not very familiar. I’m very aware of Maltese history. Being of Maltese descent, the history was always interesting to me, especially as it is some of the most profound in the history of the world.

3.) Jumping straight into it business, how does it feel to have a managerial role in ORDER, a newly created eSports organisation which is also the World’s first Crowdfunded eSports team?

Honestly, it is hard to articulate the pride and joy I have in ORDER. It’s not just an incredible experience and opportunity for the ORDER staff and players, I see it as an exciting time for our region. The crowdfunding campaign was designed to give our fan base a legitimate opportunity to own a piece of the organisation. I think of it like a one-off payment sports club membership, except that in this case, the membership gives you a return. We’re excited about it because it is a whole new way to engage with our core fans. We have some enormous plans for the organisation that will bring an entirely new level of engagement to both esports athletes, and fans.

4.) With Australia on the opposite side of the planet, we really don’t know much about eSports and competitive gaming in the region in general. Describe it a little for us.

I would say that esports in Australia is about to enter an explosive growth period. The adoption and investment rate has been growing steadily for years, but I feel we aren’t far off it completely exploding. Australian esports competitors have spent years dealing with problems typical to every region where esports is trying to grow, and has not been properly cultivated or accepted, and as such lacks a mainstream audience. Historically, opportunities to compete internationally were extremely rare in Australia, but as different teams results got better and better, more opportunities opened up. As more opportunities opened up, more money was invested into the region. As more money was invested into the region, mainstream audience adoption grew. As mainstream audience adoption grew, even more money was invested into the region. You can probably see where I am going with this. Growing esports in Australia was a war of attrition, but now you regularly see Australian rosters having competitive results internationally, and our opportunities to compete internationally are at an all-time high.

5.) We’ve interviewed a variety of professionals involved with esports on Gamers.com.mt, players, CEOs and teams, yet we haven’t had the opportunity to interview a manager. While many argue that playing the game is the most daunting activity, what’s it like to manage in esports?

Management in esports can be a demanding role. We’re working on the cutting edge of a new, rapidly growing market, and the people you are managing are building a professional career. Every time a mistake is made, it has an impact on your players careers. Obviously, the impact it has can vary a lot, but ultimately you are responsible for making sure the players have access to everything they need to practice and compete to the best of their ability. The potential stress of the role is generally magnified by your success, also. The more success you have, the more you have to do as a manager, and normally that comes with having to do your work in a constantly changing environment, in different countries. I look at it as a great problem to have, because the more I have to do, the more opportunities my players have to continue building their career.

6.) As a manager, what are your plans and prospects for the year ahead in your new position?

Now that I’m working with ORDER, I want to use this year to give the players as many opportunities as they can to compete at as many events as possible and use these opportunities to build long-term tools and plans for our success. Right now, for example, we’re currently in Sosnowiec, Poland, bootcamping for the IEM Katowice 2018 event. This is the first bootcamp our roster has had together, and where the bootcamp has given the players massive amounts of experience and tuning, it has done the same for me. I’ve learned more about what can and can’t work, what is and isn’t reasonable, and where things can be made more efficient. This bootcamp has been a great success for us, but I can confidently say the next one will be better. So that’s my goal for this year, to continue building our infrastructure and tools, and ensure that ORDER is the top competition in Australia.

7.) Our final question; what advice would you give to others aspiring to managerial roles in esports? What have you sacrificed and what values have you developed to get to this point?

If you’re going to pursue a career in esports, be prepared to work a lot. On top of that, be prepared to work for nothing. Management has a low barrier of entry compared to basically any other job in esports, so there will always be competition, and you’ve got to go the extra mile to make sure you’re doing a better job. All careers in esports come with a grind, and management is no exception. As I mentioned before, your players ability to perform at their best will be impacted by the work you do, and that can become stressful. I wouldn’t suggest getting into any esports management just for monetary purposes. There needs to be good degree of passion for what you’re doing. I get a lot of joy from knowing that I have helped my players make esports a professional career, so in my eyes the price paid is worth it.

Thanks incredibly for the interview.

We hope you enjoyed the interview, with a special thank you to Nathan Briffa who was so enthusiastic to participate in the interview and have the chance to reconnect to his roots. Our next interview will be in response to the most heated article of last month, stay tuned. 

Posted by Gabriel Sciberras on 10th March 2018, 09:06

I'm Gabriel - 17 year-old student attending a sixth form with a little free time on his hands. I've been working with Gamers.com.mt for a roughly a year now - spreading my interests in technology, gaming and writing over the platform along with interviews and hardware reviews. All constructive feedback is appreciated. Thanks for reading!

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