By Corey Moss
The “different,” it’s what I look for. And the disruptive of course. Now as some of you know, Zoom puts out numerous use cases, actually at least one a week. They feed into my Hotmail account and normally I’ll open the e-mail and glance at them. There have been some that match the norm – use in legal, healthcare, discussion on security and some that get a little more elaborate. However there was one recent case that I had to do a little deeper investigation into, entitled “Daily Mafia Transforms Zoom Into a Gaming Platform.” So wait a minute, the Mafia communicates over cloud videoconferencing? Now I know goodfellas can be somewhat industrious, but conferencing on devices? OK, so after doing a little reading I found out that Zoom isn’t supplying the mob underworld with a monthly subscription plan, their application was actually being used by a band of gamers who call themselves the “Daily Mafia.” Aha, now I got it. Gaming, not rubbing out the adversary. Or maybe in a sense that’s their plan too.
Chris Stottle, the mastermind behind and founder of the Daily Mafia was pictured in the case study and I took a glance at him, his serious look, and his perfectly fitting white tux in a black and white picture. So I’m saying either this guy is the Don or he’s in a wedding. After talking to him on a Zoom conference, I found out it was the latter, he had just gotten married (congrats Chris). Funny though, in our video conference meeting (that he came into early, a first for me) this young man had a big smile on his face and totally unmob-like. In fact, I found out in our conversation that Chris’s day job is working for IBM as a Service Request Coordinator. So corporate business during the day and high level gaming after hours. Now if I just had a life like that when I was younger, then again Space Invaders was the big deal and online was AOL. I don’t think that would have really made for much of a useful gaming community.
So back to the present. The case study was posted on LinkedIn recently and I made a comment. The next thing I knew, Chris had sent me a connection request. Now as I had seen his picture in the case study, I said this is a guy I wouldn’t mind connecting with. In fact, I invited him on a video conference to meet face to face, we talked a little while (with Zoom’s Marketing Manager Priscilla McCarthy Barolo sitting in) and near the end I said, as I’m figuring human interest here, that we had the makings of a blog interview. And here he is, Chris Stottle, to discuss cloud collaboration and the Daily Mafia.
CM: Chris thanks for agreeing to participate in this blog interview. Tell us about yourself, why you created the Daily Mafia and how communications fit into the picture for your gaming community.
CS: Thanks for having me here. A little about me. I am a graduate from the University of Missouri, recently married to my high school sweetheart and I’m a very passionate and competitive gamer. That about sums me up. Daily Mafia was created after I was watching a live stream of mafia and decided I wanted to try it out. I quickly learned there was nowhere to read the rules for the video version of mafia. There were no public communities that you could join. So I, along with a small group of other interested players, decided we would just start playing and streaming our own games and see what happened. For our games and for playing and streaming, we use a video conferencing room for the majority of the game play. Mafia isn’t on a board or in a video game, it’s created and played all through text and visual interaction. This means we needed a software that had high quality audio, high quality video and the ability to handle 10-25 participants from all over the world.
CM: You told me that you had previously been using a different video conferencing application however according to what you said it became problematic. What caused you to start using Zoom?
CS: We currently are running all our games through Zoom.us. Zoom offers exactly what we need. Zoom offers superior quality for both video and audio as well as some other features that make our games better overall such as the visual aid to see who is speaking, names displayable on all frames and more. Other video options lacked in at least one of those fields, mainly the audio or video quality in a 10-25 person setting. Some did not even support 25 people, which just wouldn’t work for our purpose.
CM: What kinds of enhancements have you experienced with the upgrade to their application as well as cloud video conferencing and collaboration in general?
CS: Using Zoom has made the experience for both our players on our viewers incredible. They are constantly making changes such as the name frame implementation and the rearranging of video as they turn off cameras, which make our games and experience better all around. Zoom offers up a great product and amazing customer service as well, anytime we have a question or want to see something added, they work with us, which is a great feeling. The Zoom video software we use is one we have used for a long time and I do not see us venturing too try any other option in the future. We do not need a ton of features or cool graphics or anything of that nature. We need a high quality video and audio conferencing solution and that is exactly what Zoom provides.
CM: Do you have any comments for other gaming groups in terms of using a cloud collaboration solution in their environment?
CS: Although we are a gaming community, I’d send this message out to everyone. We are a living community. Using a cloud collaboration solution makes the engagements and the interactions be much more personal than a text or audio. Even when we don’t play, we have a conference open to just hang out in. It acts as a central location for us to just get to know one another, share interests and have fun in the process. So if it’s a gaming community, book club or maybe just a group of long-time friends who don’t get to see each other, try it. Conferencing solutions don’t have to just be for work meetings or for class lessons and still has so much potential.
So really, in the end what we have is a sophisticated group of gamers getting together online to play or just hang out to shoot the virtual breeze. If you thought cloud video conferencing was just an application for the commercial world, think again. While certain other solutions might be good for catching up on the week’s events with the family, what you see is an application for cloud communications and collaboration you may never have expected. An enhanced gangland gaming strategy that is so far advanced, it actually qualified as a case study. Yes, this is the stuff that serious gamers are made of and with Zoom, the Daily Mafia may just be setting a whole new trend.