ULT // Design for the player journey

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The designer for ULT brand, Nate Eckman, comes from a history of premium product development and design for game publishers. ULT exists to elevate modern wearables for the competitive gaming industry. From sketches, renderings, raw material sourcing, custom patterns, the original cut and sew garments are hand tailored from the highest quality French terry and premium grade mesh with hand stitched panels and woven labels.  The jersey is the pinnacle of the player journey and at ULT we aspire to elevate that moment with wearables that truly celebrate the idea that competitive gaming professionals ought to get only the best possible attention to design detail and modern aesthetic sensibilities.  

Quote from the Designer, N8:

“ULT designs for the player journey from the team house, traveling the world, meeting fans, and hitting the stage.  We create a lifestyle product narrative for each of those moments as well as wearable, fashionable, technical wear for the pro players on stage.  This is not the easy path but it is the right philosophical approach necessary to solving inherent design problems within our industry.  Players and fans ought to have access to modern wearable designs that make them look and feel awesome.”

 

Nate Eckman, Co-Founder Ultimate, Chief Creative Officer, ULT Designer

ULT Agenda Recap

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The ULT crew had a fantastic time at the 3 day, action packed Agenda show in Long Beach, CA last week. Our booth showcased a community-centric experience where we played video games, made new friends and educated people about our world of esports and gaming as a lifestyle.

Continue reading “ULT Agenda Recap”

ULT goes to Agenda

Agenda

We’re excited to announce that ULT will be attending Agenda: Long Beach from July 13-15, 2017. Agenda is the most diverse and creative lifestyle fashion tradeshow around. The Agenda philosophy has always been to develop a level playing field, where passion becomes profit and the sharing of ideas can be conducted in an authentic environment.

Continue reading “ULT goes to Agenda”

ULT interviews Lexy Pls

Lexy Pls

N8: What do you look for when you’re composing your in-game photography?

Lexy Pls: Sometimes I go to pretty spots that I love to take pictures at or I just roam around and end up finding a cool place or even just a cool looking spot in the sky. Other times I have an image in my head that I want to capture because of a quote I read or just because of something that’s on my mind. But my main goal is to capture how I see the game and what makes it amazing, awesome gaming scenery with a clear view on the character in the picture.

Continue reading “ULT interviews Lexy Pls”

ULT founder Nate Eckman to moderate a panel at XLIVE

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We’re thrilled to announce that Nate will be moderating a panel at the XLIVE Conference that is taking place from December 5-7 at the Tropicana in Las Vegas.

nate8The panel is titled “Power to the Players” with a focus on the future of esports athletes on topics of discussion including players unions, sponsorship strategy, and potential legal changes to P1 visa laws for esports athletes under the incoming Trump administration. Nate will be joined by executives from FACEIT, WME/IMG, Splyce and YouStake.

If you are interested in attending the conference we have a special $100 discount code: THAL100 that can be used on the XLIVE registration page. Click on the green Tickets button and then find the Enter Promotional Code button on the top right corner of the pop-up menu.

Have any additional questions regarding XLIVE? Please contact Max Rollinger at mrollinger@xlivecon.com. Thanks and we hope to see you in Vegas for the conference!

Battle on the Strip Announces SF V and Smash 4 Tournament

Street Fighter V and Super Smash Bros. have been selected to headline the Las Vegas-based event known as Battle on the Strip, according to an announcement by Ultimate Media Ventures. Each month, the organization will showcase a different game and theme. After kicking off the tournament series with Dota2the respective fighting game communities have an opportunity to shine.

In similar fashion to last month’s pilot competition, UMV is looking to attract players of all skill levels. Participants can take a shot at the $10,000 prize pool that will be equally split between both titles.

In addition, cosplay enthusiasts are also being encouraged to attend as a contest will be hosted with a prize pool of $5,000 up for grabs.

The prize breakdown for each game is as follows:

Super Smash Bros. 4 prize pool breakdown:

  • $3,000 1st place
  • $1,000 2nd place
  • $750 3rd place
  • $250 4th place

Street Fighter V prize pool breakdown:

  • $3,000 1st place
  • $1,000 2nd place
  • $750 3rd place
  • $250 4th place

Online qualifers will be conducted on November 12 where the top two performers in each title will be flown to Las Vegas to compete at the finals, scheduled to take place on November 20th.

In a statement issued to Yahoo Esports, UMV CEO said that the organization is “Building on the successful inaugural October event, we’re thrilled to deliver even more exciting programming and special appearances to the esports community with our November installment of Battle on the Strip.

“This time around, we’re focusing on two amazing competitive titles, showcasing our fresh approach to creating a unique esports lifestyle experience, with something new and different every month.”

In an effort to stimulate more interest beyond highly experienced players, Battle on the Strip will host tournaments for amateur players as well. It’s important to note that BOTS is not a league and is open to all players (pro and amateur) regardless of their league affiliations. Smash.GG will be hosting the online brackets. You can register for the event by clicking here.

PvP Live // Chris Bahn

 

Street Fighter V and Super Smash Bros. 4 announced for Battle on the Strip

Ultimate Media Ventures has announced Street Fighter V and Super Smash Bros. 4 as the next set of games to be featured in its pro-am Battle on the Strip tournament series.

The winners of the previous Battle on the Strip tournament. (UMV)
The winners of the previous Battle on the Strip tournament. (UMV)

The event features a pool of giveaways and prizes valued at $10,000 that will be split equally between the two games. It will be hosted at The Foundry at the SLS Las Vegas on November 20. The tournament will feature both a pro bracket and amateur bracket.

Those interested in participating can sign up at the official Battle on the Strip website. UMV is also hosting online qualifiers on November 12. The top four placements from each game will receive invitations to the final in Vegas, with UMV covering flights from anywhere in North America and one night of accommodation at SLS.

Battle on the Strip will be live streamed starting at  11AM PST / 2PM EST on November 20 via Twitch. This the second event in the BoTS series. The first featured a Dota 2 tournament, with the team placing first scoring $25,000 in cash and prizes. Ultimate Media Ventures hopes to continue bringing out various esports events and tournaments on a monthly basis.

“Building on the successful inaugural October event, we’re thrilled to deliver even more exciting programming and special appearances to the esports community with our November installment of Battle on the Strip,” said UMV CEO, Jon Bukosky.

“This time around, we’re focusing on two amazing competitive titles, showcasing our fresh approach to creating a unique esports lifestyle experience, with something new and different every month.”

Yahoo Esports // Zorine Te

Annie Huang Talks With ULT

Can you tell us a bit about you as a designer and thought leader and what you do?

I am a graphic designer and a design educator. My design firm Bocu & Bocu specializes in editorial narrative publications and branding designs for clients from lifestyle, institutional to sports entities. I believe that each design solution has a purpose. There is a narrative to convey, either documenting a defining moment in sports history or conveying the brand message for a lifestyle product. A designer’s responsibility is to bring that clarity, interest and message for the audience.

As an alumnae from ArtCenter College of Design, I am grateful for the opportunities serving ArtCenter and its community as an educator. Teaching is a rewarding experience when you see students grow, get out of their comfort zone, and embrace challenges to extend their limitations as a designer. The collaboration amongst the students and the sharing within a competitive environment, help to foster critical design thinking skills that are pertinent not just for being as a team player, but being a leader within the design industry.

Most of your graphic design work service the sports industry (MLB, NBA, NCAA).  What is it like for you to see that many of the traditional sports are investing in esports? 

It’s fascinating, seeing traditional sports investing in esports. I think there is a shared common interest — a passion for a sport form that connects the athletes/players, entities/organizations and spectators/fans together.

Clean and minimal design seems to also be important to you.  Do you see much of these types of design in esports?  If not, what do you see?

I don’t think at the moment. I am seeing more of a display of logos and brand sponsors throughout in bright contrasting colors. Emphasis may need to be on the individual and group identities represented, as well as hierarchical clarity between competitors and sponsors. Focus on “less is more” as quoted from Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, modernist architect.

Would you want to design for esports organizations?  If so, what would differ in your approach, if anything?

I would be interested. I think the purpose of capturing the compelling narratives from the athletes/players, entities/organizations and spectators/fan should be the priority.

You’re an LA Dodgers fan. What is it like to imagine a world where the old stadiums are being filled with fans of esports?

Wow, that would be quite an experience! Imagining peanuts and Cracker Jacks being consumed enjoyably by fans of esports, quite a juxtaposition. Digital sports presentation immersed in a historical setting.

As an educator to millennials, how do you see the evolution of entertainment effecting their design sensibilities?

It is ever changing, the speed and the transformation. No matter how quickly the process may evolve, I think designers are responsible in bringing clarity to the purpose of design, being thoughtful to the needs of their target audience and being engaged as part of the community.

How do you feel about esports as a lifestyle and growing aspect of culture today?

I think esports is already a part of our culture today. It may not be as identified in our day to day followings yet, but I think with its rapid emergence and development of consumer products, esports will eventually be further identified culturally with effective and successful branded lifestyle products.

A $25,000 amateur esports tournament is heading to Vegas

A new monthly esports tournament is heading to Vegas, starting this weekend. Called Battle on the Strip, the competition will feature a new game each month this year, with both amateurs and professionals from around the world able to sign up to compete.

Online qualifiers will be powered through FACEIT, with the finalists flown from anywhere in North America to Vegas, with full room and board, to compete at the Foundry at the SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. This month, Battle on the Strip will feature Dota 2, with the four finalists heading to Vegas for the live event on October 16, with a total of $25,000 in cash and prizes up for grabs. Tomorrow is the final qualifier for this weekend’s event.

“For every pro team there’s probably 1,000 amateur teams,” Ultimate Media Ventures CEO Jon Bukosky tells Dot Esports. “There was nobody really doing stuff for the community as a whole.” To try and bridge this gap, Bukosky and the team at Ultimate Media Ventures decided to create Battle on the Strip, and picked Vegas because it’s relatively cheap to travel to and stay there.

The company’s ultimate goal is to build something that brings the esports community together, with cosplay competitions—featuring a $10,000 prize pool—and LAN events in the ballrooms.

“There’s always going to be something for somebody,” Bukosky says. “Even for brands, endemic and non-endemic.”

For fans that want to watch the competition but can’t make it out to Vegas, Battle on the Strip will be streamed on Twitch and through the website via Maestro.

The title for November will be Gears of War 4, with December’s game announced next month. If all goes well, Battle on the Strip could continue next year.

John Lee for ULT

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Meet John Lee.  3x Iron Man.  9x Tough Mudder.  Also – Streams 30 hours a week.

Q: John you are an accomplished athlete in the most physical and literal sense of the word.  Can you please mention a few of the highlights?

I had several mottos in life, but the most prominent being from my dad. “If you put your passion, energy, and focus into something everyday, you can achieve anything.” I always grew up as a competitive person and the first thing that appealed to me was competitive gaming. Since you had the ability to play anyone across the world at any given moment, competitive gaming stuck with me as I constantly grinded to be the best.

For gaming, I placed in the top 8 of both Cal-O DoTA2 seasons, a six-time top10 DXD DoTA1 player, top 5% for World of Warcraft PvP from Seasons 1-7, top 50 player for CoD MW2 FFA, a 1900 PSR (top 4%) player in HoN, and a 4200 MMR (top 8%) player in DoTA2.

In high school, I wrestled, threw shotput and discus, and was a sponsored paintball player. In 2014, I raced for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Club Triathlon Team at Nationals and the following year completed Three Ironman races. Ironman races are grueling triathlons where you swim, bike, and run courses that are 70.3 or 140.6 miles long. I finished 9 Tough-Mudders and 5 half-marathons the past three years. This year, I decided to switch it up by preparing for the World’s Toughest Mudder, a 24-hour obstacle course race.

Q: What does your training regime look like when preparing for a big event?

Preparing for a big event, I usually taper off on my training a week prior. For an example, if I am going to run a 50-mile race, I will cap off my training at whatever the distance is times 1.25 the week prior and then take a week off. That week, I will definitely become well rested and do active recovery in the form of yoga and foam rolling. For nutrition, I will start my carbo-load a few days prior to the race and get 12-hours of sleep the night before. Then for the big day, I will be primed and ready to rock!

Q: You are also an avid gamer, streamer and Esports enthusiast.  How long have you been into gaming and which games do you focus is on?  

Ever since I had the ability to walk and talk, I always had a joystick, controller, or a keyboard and mouse in my hands. Gaming provided me an outlet of expression and competition 24/7; traditional sports cannot do that. I played various games at the competitive level, including DoTA1, HoN, DoTA2, and World of Warcraft PvP. Currently, I play on amateur leagues for DoTA2 and captain an amateur team.

Before streaming, the only way eSports junkies could follow the scene would be montages or highlight videos in Youtube. I started streaming in June of 2016. Streaming platforms, such as Twitch, revolutionized the game as I could broadcast my play and watch other professionals on how he/she approaches the game. It also allowed me to connect to others around the world. Sometimes I would eat dinner and just randomly talk to people about my background for hours!

Since I do not have the same schedule as I did back in high school (man I miss those days), I follow various competitive eSports scenes as an enthusiast. I love following teams and their story lines, the dramas, and the revolving meta surrounding games.

Q: What is your streaming schedule like?

Currently I stream on my channel from 6 PM to 11 PM M-F, and on Sundays from 4 PM to 10 PM. My schedule is a bit crazy right now as I am working full-time, training 10-12 hours a week for my races with all of them coming in the next two months, and captaining an amateur DoTA2 team in a tournament. I should be streaming more as World of Warcraft Legion just launched!

Q: John can you also let us know about how you’ve battled depression and what your diagnosis is?

After I received a concussion in 2011, I lapsed into having Dysthymia (Chronic Depression) and it took over my life the next two years. I lost interest in education, interests, and often questioned what purpose I had on Earth everyday. Waking up each day was extremely difficult and I sheltered myself from my friends and family when I shouldn’t have. Through their support, I overcame this stage of my life and lifted a measureless weight off my shoulders. It was a difficult time in my life, but I made marginal gains everyday to live a healthier lifestyle and mitigate the factors in my life that were causing stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Depression affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.” This, unfortunately, is a huge number and I personally do believe that in modern times, people need to be aware of cognitive disorders. I act now as an advocate, and with my education in cognitive psychology, raise awareness.

Q:How does gaming and Esports play a role in your ability to combat your depression?

Gaming and eSports have always been competitive outlets, but also therapeutic as well. As I moved away from my home in Torrance, California, to the central coast of San Luis Obispo, to now San Jose, I left many friends and teammates behind. Even though I do not see them on a daily basis, I am still able to interact and share the same laughs and spend time with each other through gaming. One of the main things people exhibit when going through depression is pushing others away. I exhibited this behavior, but soon found much peace and ease being around with others.

Q: For you, how would you compare traditional athleticism and Esports athletes?

The main stereotype that often comes up when comparing traditional athleticism to eSports athletes is that eSports athletes do not move. To an extent that is true, we do not have to physically exert our body in ways athletes. eSports athletes can benefit from physique as it will benefit the long gaming sessions. Some tournaments run over a week with 10-hours of play daily. If you do not have the endurance to put your body through that much pressure, you will fatigue.

What I like to explain to people is that with traditional professional sports and eSports, the amount of dedication and training is just the same. For instance, in football you will run drills and plays over and over. In competitive Counter-Strike, you have plays and you have to memorize every single smoke and flash angle on a map, while running the certain plays over and over. In basketball, you can practice your free-throw a hundred times. In DoTA, you can practice proper creep pulling and stacking. In volleyball, you have constant communication between the players to keep the ball up. If you watch competitive gaming, you will hear teams constantly be calling out plays, alerting for certain timings or abilities, and have the same level of intensity during the heat of the game.

Q. What does it mean to be a gamer and how has Esports changed that?

My friends know me as the craziest nerd/ fitness-junkie. Once a gamer, always a gamer. Shoryuken! But seriously, I love being a gamer and following eSports because I solely believe in the next few decades, it will mirror traditional sports. There still are a lot of social stigmas surrounding competitive gaming, but now there are more opportunities than ever to be a professional gamer. Back in 2006, there were only a few tournaments that would give 4-digit prizes. Now you have 20+ million dollar tournaments for DoTA2! Growing up as a Korean-American in the states, I would see how far Asia has progressed it’s own eSports scene compared to the States. In Asia, you can graduate with a degree in Gaming and eSports pros are treated like movie stars there. Fast forward to 2016, the US definitely closed the gap and I cannot wait to see how regions across the world progress their eSports scene.

How can I manage my own depression / How do I help someone who has depression?

It is extremely difficult for friends and family to help one who is depressed. Individuals close to one may feel anxious, frustrated, or fearful to attempt to give help, but providing any support is a huge benefactor to help treat depression.

1) Learn about depression.

The more one understands about this condition, the better one can cope and retrieve the sources necessary to overcome depression.

2) Share your feelings with close friends and family.

Depression not only affects you, but those around you. It is important for everyone surrounding the affected individual to lean in and share emotions.

3) Be understanding.

Let your friends, family, or the affected individual know that you care. Depressed individuals can feel more invigorated to overcome the problem by being continually reminded that they are loved. You cannot “fix” someone else’s depression. Complete recovery is in the hands of the depressed person.

4) Monitor symptoms.

Keep a running diary of how you/one feels daily. Track progress and emotions and see if the depressed individual is gradually recovering from depression.

If at any time the depressed individual talks about death or suicide, seek immediate help. Contact your doctor, go to your local emergency room, or contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK).

Exclusive ULT Merch at Upcoming Vegas Esports Residency

ULTIMATE MEDIA VENTURES PARTNERS WITH SLS LAS VEGAS HOTEL & CASINO FOR ‘BATTLE ON THE STRIP’ ESPORTS TOURNAMENT SERIES

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Las Vegas’ First Esports Residency & Tournament Series on the Strip to Feature Rotating Monthly Competitive Titles Where Pro and Amateur Teams Battle it Out, Offering Significant Prize Pools

Dallas, Texas – (July 27, 2016) – Ultimate Media Ventures, LLC (UMV) – the VC-backed esports innovation and media company – is pleased to today announce a partnership with SLS Las Vegas Hotel & Casino for the first of its kind “Battle on the Strip” esports tournament series activation beginning this August.

The Battle on the Strip is a recurring esports tournament series that features online brackets each month for a different IP from the top competitive video game titles. Industry leading prize pools will drive the best players in the world to compete at SLS Las Vegas, the Strip’s newest resort, curated by UMV for the ultimate Vegas esports experience. Long overlooked, the Battle on the Strip series of tournaments will allow the best amateur esports competitors to show their mettle alongside top pro esports talent.

“We’re incredibly excited to take over the Las Vegas Strip and bring the esports community and lifestyle to the world class hotel and casino that is SLS,” said Jon Bukosky, CEO of UMV. “At the Battle on the Strip, top professional and up-and- coming amateurs will battle it out for bragging rights and cash prizes, competing against each other on equal footing. We’re thrilled to offer this one-of- a-kind tournament experience in one of the best venues in Las Vegas, featuring some of the top competitors and leading esports titles on a rotating basis.”

“Esports is rapidly growing in popularity and expanding past traditional sporting events, in large part, due to its interactive live tournaments,“ said Matt Minichino, Vice President of Nightlife & Entertainment at SLS Las Vegas. “Competitive gaming represents the future of entertainment, and we are excited to partner with Ultimate Media Ventures to be the first to bring this incredibly unique experience to the Strip.”

The Battle on the Strip tournament series semi-finals and finals will be held live and broadcast from The Foundry, SLS’ newest live entertainment venue. Fans can attend each month on-site during the finals and secure premium gaming products from leading industry brands. Exclusive merchandise from UMV’s dedicated esports apparel & lifestyle brand “ULT” (ULTesports.com) will be available for purchase, including the ULT Battle on the Strip Collector’s shirt (limited to one hundred units) each month. Over the next three weeks, UMV will announce game and broadcast partners, brand sponsors and additional prize pool details. For more information, please visit www.UltimateMedia.Ventures.

 

ABOUT ULTIMATE MEDIA VENTURES

Ultimate is a highly specialized gaming and esports innovation company with services ranging from strategic consulting and content production to creating lifestyle products and event experiences. Our team has the ultimate ability to apply our extensive gaming and esports industry experience to help brand partners navigate the deeply nuanced global esports game community and culture. Ultimate features venture-backed innovations and initiatives in esports lifestyle apparel, news content, virtual reality (VR) and experiential design. In partnership with UMV Group is Dallas, TX-based Cedar Springs Capital headed up by Mr. Colin McGrady. To learn more about Ultimate Media Ventures, follow us on Instagram @ULTeSports and Twitter @ULTlosangeles or visit www.UltimateMedia.Ventures. UMV’s brand of ULT esports gear and apparel is available at www.ULTesports.com .

ABOUT SLS HOTELS
SLS Las Vegas®, a Tribute Portfolio Resort, is an all-encompassing resort and casino with more than 1,600 guest rooms and suites in three distinctive towers, 80,000 square feet of flexible
meeting space and a collection of acclaimed restaurant and nightlife brands. SLS offers an impressive selection of dining concepts including Bazaar Meat by José Andrés™; Katsuya; Cleo®; Umami Burger, Beer Garden & Sports Book; 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria; Northside Café™ and The Perq™. The resort is also home to multiple nightlife and entertainment offerings including Hollywood favorite, The Sayers Club®; the edgy and sophisticated nightclub, Foxtail®; and the intimate, live entertainment venue, The Foundry. SLS Las Vegas also hosts the luxurious
Ciel Spa® and a sports book operated by global gaming leader, William Hill.

For more information about SLS Las Vegas®, please visit slslasvegas.com and stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Nate Eckman Talks Philosophy & New Esports Clothing Line ‘ULT’

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I don’t wear gaming clothes. Not because I don’t like the games they depict, but because they too often look like sandwich boards advertising a product, and that bothers me. That’s why when Nate Eckman showed me his new clothing line, ULT, I was agreeably surprised. The ‘esports lifestyle apparel’ collection has more in common—aesthetically speaking—with Los Angeles street fashion than with your typical gamer threads. Black, white, grey. Minimal. A subtler approach.

I first came into contact with Nate when he reached out to me about our recent interview with CS:GO esports caster Lauren ‘Pansy’ Scott. It turns out he had studied Philosophy as a young(er) man. Our website is called Existential Gamer. We immediately got along. I met up with him over coffee at E3 and demanded he answer my questions about ULT, philosophy, and… Shovel Knight. Shovel Knight definitely comes up.

You studied philosophy, and now you work in the world of gaming and e-sports. How did that transition occur, and what has remained of these studies in your daily work?

Studying philosophy was my first serious life pursuit. I would spend my summers in the library reading philosophy. In high school I created a philosophy club. I traveled across the country to find the best collegiate program for me to become a professor in the field. To my dismay, the other students in the program I found myself with were not interested in discovering the path as much as they wanted to adamantly proclaim their version of the answer. They pre-supposed they were right and I found myself seeking a different experience. I decided to study studio art but didn’t feel challenged enough. I switched to filmmaking which seemed like a complex creative process. Eventually entered an MBA program for audio engineering but then found creative marketing. I’d never felt so creative until was marketing a video game. I found myself in the traditional marketing and advertising world, consulting on gaming and esports – the things that I love. I wanted to become the expert in my dedicated field of study. Esports. To this day, philosophy is at the core of every brand and marketing exercise I undertake. Philosophy is a belief system. Our beliefs determine our reality. These are fundamental elements to my approach to esports and the decisions that we make.

NateProper

When did the idea for ULT first germinate, and what is your purpose with the line?

I’ve been working with publishers for years on custom products, contemporary art collaborations, brand partnerships and unique products for the community. However, none of those projects truly enabled me to do exactly what I would have wanted from a design standpoint. I love esports. I also love design. It pains me to see bad products available for the community. It pains me to see players and fans who are so passionate about esports having to wear clothes that they feel embarrassed by. The sensation of shame should not exist when it comes to product design. The purpose of ULT apparel is to offer something modern and wearable – something that makes you feel confident and comfortable. ULT products exist because there was an absolute void in the market from my perspective in defining modern esports lifestyle apparel.

“I love esports. I also love design. It pains me to see bad products available for the community. It pains me to see players and fans who are so passionate about esports having to wear clothes that they feel embarrassed by.”

You mentioned you designed the pieces with help from (designer) friends, what was your collaborative process?

Yes, design mentors in the LA streetwear scene inspired me. Getting to collaborate with designers I have known for a decade on my own line has been an amazing experience. The Seventh Letter is a family and we are proud to collaborate with Casey Zoltan. For the signature ‘kills’ piece that was only available at our launch event we featured collaborative designs from DualForces, The Seventh Letter and Cruizer Co. Each of them have such distinct lettering styles. I worked with each artist and designer on their own inspired version of the lettering for the word ‘kills.’ Each artist and designer is completely unique but absolutely modern and very ‘LA’ in aesthetic. I love sharing the experience and process of discovering the path of the design. I worked with other artist friends and family who I absolutely trust. These people know me very well and I can express the idea for ULT very openly. Ideas have a way of inspiring creativity and bringing people together. Creating ULT has been a lot of creative responsibility because actualizing the idea takes serious dedication. I needed to work with people who understood me and why I was doing this. ESports is worth it. The community deserves great products.

What is the game you’ve played the most in your life?

Probably League of Legends. Maybe a close second would be Skyrim. I also got hooked on Destiny for a while. More recently Overwatch.

Shovel Knight could win game of the year 2 years back to back and I would not complain. For shovelry!”

What is a game people would be surprised to know you enjoyed?

Shovel Knight. Shovel Knight could win game of the year 2 years back to back and I would not complain. For shovelry!

The world of e-sports can be quite toxic. How do you deal with that side of the scene?

Ignore it. Don’t contribute to it. Be positive. Do what you love. Focus on the things you can control. Create better things for the community. Better products, content and experiences. Make friends. Be a part of the community and seek out experiences and new people who love what you love. Don’t be afraid to do what you know and share that with others.

Do you plan on collaborating with specific teams on gear, or are you trying to build a brand that caters to the whole scene without ever being specifically affiliated?

Ultimately I want to service the greater community. The fans. But I do want to support specific teams that I admire. I am from North America obviously, but that is not the edge of the world for esports. It’s a big pliable world. I want to share the ULT brand and our design philosophy with other receptive and like-minded people. That process will continuously evolve but the brand will be consistent.

Los Angeles start-up Ultimate Media Ventures is focusing on business opportunities within the e-sports industry, starting with a fashion brand dubbed ULT. (Ultimate Media Ventures)

If you could design a perfect e-sports event, what would it look like?

Everyone in the world that does not know about esports would be there together in one place. They would get to see first-hand what we know and love. They would get to feel the incredible excitement of that shared passion. They would all realize how special this is and they would be inspired too.

What’s your favorite game to watch people play competitively?

CS:GO spectating is awesome.

What’s next for your company Ultimate Media Ventures? I’ve heard rumors of an outlet called Fragd?

Now that ULTesports.com is fully operational we are now focused on launching Fragd. We are excited to share our vision for esports lifestyle content with the community.

“We are a continuously evolving culture. More and more women are making esports what it is and what it will become.”

Aesthetically, e-sports tends to have a macho, militaristic vibe. Do you think that will ever change?

Yes absolutely. We are a continuously evolving culture. More and more women are making esports what it is and what it will become. Also, generationally, we will naturally shift out of the current mode and in to something entirely different. This is the nature of things. Change is inevitable. We can choose to be the ones to create that change.

What kinds of games would you like to see played competitively (that aren’t currently)?

Shared VR esports games. Cross-platform. Headset agnostic. Live spectating and socially dynamic experiences.

When do you believe the world is going to end, and how?

Not in my lifetime. Probably a plague. Something will wipe out the tech and then madness will overtake everyone in a fever of desperation.

You can check out all the pieces in ULT’s first collection on their website. Or follow them on twitter or instagram.

Existential Gamer // Julian Feeld

Designer Nate Eckman brings fashion sense to the video game industry

It was a couple of hours before the launch event was officially set to begin when I walked into the Lost Knight bar in Los Angeles. Nate Eckman, dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, sat at a table going over final logistics for the evening. Eckman is soft-spoken and unassuming, despite being on the verge of the launch of his new eSports lifestyle apparel brand, ULT.

ULT’s first line of clothing is dubbed, the “Kills” collection. This mostly-black line of t-shirts, hoodies, jackets, and hats is like its designer – subdued and understated. While most of Eckman’s pieces have prominent graphics featured on the back, the collection is monochromatic (with the exception of one cap), absent of bright colors, fabric, or textiles.

Guests at the event filled a room that was reminiscent of a small boutique in New York’s famous SoHo, as Eckman took to the stage to quietly address the crowd. He shared a story that serves as the inspiration of ULT.

“I stopped an eSports fan wearing his favorite team jersey, an all-over printed nylon baby blue shirt. He said he would be embarrassed to wear it at school or out with his friends. That sucks,” Eckman said.

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Most video game related attire, like t-shirts sold on shelves at Gamestop and Walmart, feature logos and key character artwork, which are fun to wear at times, but aren’t exactly fashionable. Eckman’s intention for the Kills line and ULT label is to offer video gamers clothing that expresses their identity as video game players, but with sophisticated aesthetics.

“With ULT we want to change that feeling through modern and minimal design, with streetwear sensibilities. We want the fans and players who wear our line to look and feel awesome because the eSports community is amazing and that is what we deserve”

“With ULT we want to change that feeling through modern and minimal design, with streetwear sensibilities. We want the fans and players who wear our line to look and feel awesome because the eSports community is amazing and that is what we deserve,” Eckman said.

ULT will not be limited to casual streetwear though, as Eckman plans to design technical training and competitive gear for eSports players, as well as custom suits, ties, and accessories. Additionally, ULT will feature collaborations with other established designers of streetwear.

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With its focus on fashion, comfort, and premium attire, ULT’s potential for impact in the eSports community and the video game industry at large is tremendous. Eckman’s first line of apparel can be found at ULTeSports.com.

Examiner // Rick Kim

Get to Know the Top Names in Esports

Break out the Red Bull (gamer drink of choice) because eSports had its coming out party in 2015, shattering records in prize money (over $50 million), viewership (147 million) and making its first appearance on ESPN (to all the haters who say it’s not a sport). This year should be even bigger as Turner Broadcasting will cover eSports just like it does the NBA, MLB and NCAA Final Four, broadcasting tournaments, reality shows and talk shows across its many television and digital platforms. New eSports leagues are forming behind entertainment/media giants (William Morris, IMG, Activision) and it had its first international doping scandal. Like it or not, competitive gaming is here to stay so here are the people to know before you get in the game.

Continue reading “Get to Know the Top Names in Esports”

A Trend Conscious Brand Plans to Take Esports Fashion by Storm

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At last night’s launch party for the Los Angeles based Ultimate Media Venture’s new ULT eSports apparel line, founder and lead designer Nate Eckman regaled the large crowd with a story.

A while back, he ran into a kid wearing a Cloud 9 Jersey.  Nate struck up a conversation and the kid told him that Cloud 9 is his favorite eSports team.  When Nate asked if he ever wore the jersey to school, the kid answered that he would never because his classmates would laugh and tease him. eSports were for nerds and wearing the bright light blue Cloud 9 shirt would make him a target for the ridicule with which you and I grew up and, unfortunately, continues to exist.

This meeting inspired Nate to create ULT apparel, a minimalist, exceedingly wearable line of t-shirts shirts, hoodies, accessories, and other items that eSports fans can wear to school, a bar, or a park and not feel gaudy. ULT’s goal is to allow eSports fans to express their fandom, without sticking out attracting unwanted attention.

Nate has lived in LA for 10 years.  He loves his city and wanted the ULT line to reflect its art and style. In addition to Nate, ULT has seven designers, all of which come from the LA street art scene.  Indeed, if you examine the “ULT Kills” line, it looks to have pulled its style directly from the side of an Echo Park or Boyle Heights wall. I also live in LA and I love this town because it embraces creativity better than any other city in the world.  For example, you can be an attorney, but also write about eSports on the side and people view that as perfectly normal.  Thus, the fact that LA is home to a serious attempt to blend eSports and modern fashion is no surprise.

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ULT’s website may have just launched this week, however they already have a plethora of items to kick-start the aspiring eSports fashionista’s wardrobe.  The launch party highlighted men’s and women’s t-shirts, hoodies, zip-ups, jackets, and hats.  However, ULT does not plan to stop at the fans.  Going forward, Nate hopes to partner with eSports teams and produce technical gear and accessories to wear during tournaments.  Additionally, ULT will launch a “Caster Couture” line of suits for eSports broadcasters.

Nate, like me, believes eSports are the future.  Some kids play football, Nate’s son plays Mario and “slays it.”  ULT wants to make eSports even more acceptable to the younger generation. From what I’ve seen, it is off to a fine start.

For more on ULT apparel, visit http://ultesports.com/

Esports Center // Adam G

Can a Los Angeles start-up give video gamers a stylish look?

Los Angeles start-up Ultimate Media Ventures is focusing on business opportunities within the e-sports industry, starting with a fashion brand dubbed ULT. (Ultimate Media Ventures)
Los Angeles start-up Ultimate Media Ventures is focusing on business opportunities within the e-sports industry, starting with a fashion brand dubbed ULT. (Ultimate Media Ventures)

Though fans may not always notice, professional athletes put thought into their outfits off and on the field.

They’ll choose custom sneakers on the court, fancy jackets at the press conference and color-coordinated headphones in the locker room.

But in e-sports, not so much.

Professional video game players rarely do better than jeans and oversized hoodies. So at its first of several planned ventures to amp up e-sports, a Los Angeles start-up is hoping to give the growing industry a sophisticated look.

Ultimate Media Ventures on Monday launched ULT Kills, a fashion line of T-shirts, hoodies, hats and eventually footwear that, in the words of co-founder Nate Eckman, isn’t the usual “super-embarrassing … kitschy, nerdy gamer wear.”

The Los Angeles-stitched streetwear, priced between $28 and $78, will have woven labels, embroidery, custom printing and generally more attention to detail than the gaming-fashion industry typically sees, Eckman said. It comes in men’s and women’s styles.

There’s no “all-over print, colorful fabric, splash art and big throw-up characters on a shirt that costs $2,” Eckman said. “If people keep designing products for ‘nerds in basements,’ they are going to keep ending up with that.”

There’s no “all-over print, colorful fabric, splash art and big throw-up characters on a shirt that costs $2,” Eckman said. “If people keep designing products for ‘nerds in basements,’ they are going to keep ending up with that.”

Ultimate Media Ventures is among dozens of small services companies and product makers seeking space in e-sports niches, from analyzing a player’s value to developing fancy chairs for matches. As deep-pocketed investors flock to the booming industry, the start-ups hope to carve out a big business.

In accouterments, Eckman saw extra opportunity because, in his view, established athletics wear giants like Nike are hesitant to enter e-sports because they could catch flak from their traditional sportswear customers. Among many sports fans, playing video games remains anything but a sport. Nike declined to comment.

By the end of the year, Eckman would like to have uniforms on players. The jerseys would be made from multiple undisclosed materials in an effort to make them breathable and sweat-wicking. Uniforms also must stand up to the chill players feel in heavily air-conditioned video studios.

“It’s not going to be a cheap soccer shirt,” Eckman said, adding that there would be matching pants and shorts.

He and his co-founders have been consulting video game publishers on marketing initiatives for several years. They recently decided to combine efforts and raised start-up capital from Dallas firm Cedars Spring Capital. Other projects include developing e-sports-related shows and organizing events on behalf of gaming companies

Los Angeles Times // Paresh Dave

LA Cultural Icon Casey Zoltan on Esports

Casey Zoltan is the founder of world renowned artist collective The Seventh Letter, contemporary art powerhouse the Known Gallery and LA’s streetwear flagship on Fairfax. He was selected as one of the Hypebeast 100 most influential people in streetwear today.

Q: What is your perspective on gaming and eSports in culture today?
A: ESports is quickly making waves into the mainstream. Gaming is a billion dollar industry as is, and will be vaulted into the lexicon of mainstream athleticism within another decade. I personally have watched countless hours of gameplay on Twitch, as well as competitive gaming, and its more exciting to me than traditional sports.

Q: As a creative person are there things about gaming and eSports that inspire you?
A: As a creative it’s a wonderful thing to see, because it’s still young, and “pure”. You know that the players playing are giving their all, and that the best player doesn’t always come out on top. It inspires me to write all the time.

Q: Where do you see gaming and eSports going in the future?
A: ESports will have more of an online presence than mainstream media, unless the right avenues and aesthetics are used to truly attract its viewership. But Twitch has such a stranglehold on that market, it’s hard to see much else jumping in. My opinion is that Facebook can, and most likely will contribute greatly to the culture.

Q: What sort of need for premium product design do you see within gaming and eSports?
A: A HUGE NEED! Aftermarket products are a staple. Only a rare handful of great players use “out of the box” peripherals. And anything that helps set you apart (skill wise), while letting the player express themselves is always going to be a major plus in the gaming industry.