When it comes to giveaways in gaming, VastGG is among the best. We spoke to its co-founder Trey Christensen about its origins and its approach.
For those that haven’t heard of VastGG – VastGG is an incentive marketing company which offers its followers a chance to win everything from gaming peripherals to a $4,500 RTX 3080 Gaming PC.
Giveaways are organised daily, and by following certain actions, gamers can increase their chances of winning. VastGG now coordinates giveaways for industry heavyweights looking to reward their fanbase or sponsors needing a helping hand to reach gamers.
VastGG was founded by former Halo pro Trey Christensen and Halo community member Cody Reese. Christensen was confident in his ability to sell and Reese’s ability to innovate, so the two struck up a partnership and co-founded the company together after spotting a gap in the market.
“The industry has definitely changed. But 3 or 4 years ago when we created VastGG, people were looking to garner investment even more so than now,” said Christensen.
“They wanted to show they had growth, that they had the ability to reach users, fans and obtain a following. And so all of sudden we entered the space to cater to those KPIs.”
With Christensen adamant there was a demand for their giveaway service, all he needed now was to find their first clients.
A trip to E3 with $700 marks the birth of VastGG
“We started the business in April 2017. E3 was coming around and I asked my wife about the $700 in our savings account. I said I want to go to this event, I think I can pitch and sell my idea of VastGG,” said Trey Christensen.
“My wife gave me her blessing and I flew out to E3 and just hit the ground running. I went to every single booth and walked up to as many people as possible.”
From E3, Christensen was able to generate VastGG’s first initial business and started selling their services to help out brands in the space.In the following months the founders paid a visit to PAX and DreamHack events. By September 2017, VastGG was working with NRG.
“We got in contact with Andy Miller who is one of the owners of NRG. He was doing an acquisition of a smaller org at the time,” said Trey. The acquisition was of Northern Gaming, whose co-owner happened to be Thomas Chance Morris, more commonly known by his online internet personality alias, Sodapoppin.
“As a result we had a massive campaign with Sodapoppin that like… blew up,” said Christensen. “That campaign garnered a lot of attention, and people were asking who was behind it, and next thing you know we’re at TwitchCon 2017.”
A historic encounter with Halo friend Ninja
At TwitchCon 2017, Christensen reached out to a fellow former Halo competitor Tyler “Ninja” Blevins and his wife Jess about running a campaign for them. “This was right before Fortnite blew up,” said Christensen. “Tyler said absolutely, let’s see how it goes.”
The first two giveaway VastGG did with Ninja was for a limited edition of the Fortnite: Save the World, and the second for an NVIDIA 1080.
“After that Ninja got sponsored by NZXT, and we ran a couple of NZXT PC Giveaways, which are still today, the biggest giveaways we’ve ever seen,” said Christensen. “The fact our giveaways coincided with him playing with Drake was huge.”
While VastGG’s success with SodaPoppin was proof of concept, the campaign with Ninja was the catalyst for a chain reaction. Giveaways clearly worked, and in a way that was beneficial to all parties. Christensen’s reputation with fellow competitors from his Halo days clearly helped open certain doors, while other avenues appeared simply thanks to the exposure the giveaways were giving.
TSM Myth summons VastGG
During the Ninja campaign, VastGG were contacted by TSM streamer Myth, who wanted to use their services to give away 10 PCs to his fans. “Myth was like ‘I’ll do it out of my own pocket, I just want to give back to my community’, it was crazy but we told him we’ll make sure it’s the best campaign you’ll ever have” said Christensen.
Much like Ninja, Myth was blowing up at the time through his success with Fortnite. VastGG was fast becoming the go-to company for giveaways, and soon they found themselves working with Overwatch League and NBA 2K League teams. Within just a year of launch, VastGG had already found its place within the ecosystem. Since then it has remained influential, and a great way for creators both big and small to grow their network, or for fans to win prizes.
How giveaways can help aspiring streamers
The success of the giveaways is not left to chance according to Christensen, but instead a carefully crafted formula by fellow Co-Founder Cody Reese. Campaigns are structured to include a variety of share actions, many of which can increase the chance of campaigns going viral.
Giveaways can also help small to midsize streamers grow their business. The added exposure can increase an aspiring streamer’s following, enough to reach the minimum thresholds for being considered for sponsorships.
“ I think one of the biggest problems right now is that there’s essentially a lot of oversaturation in the market,” said Christensen. “It’s hard to compete with these massive streamers that have just gained such a large following.”
“You’re like what page 84 if you have 20 viewers in the Warzone section? It’s hard. So sometimes getting a bump in those numbers can introduce new fans to you and your channel that may never have found you on their own.“
VastGG now has 2 million followers across socials and 1.5 million email subscribers. The influence they’ve acquired allows them to mobilize the brands they work with to engage in their campaigns, leading to exponential growth.
With an increasing number of giveaways comes scrutiny. So why are people sometimes suspicious? “I think that people can be suspicious until they win, and it’s impossible to make sure every person is a winner,” said Christensen. “That said there is one winner who really stood out to us at the end of last year.”
The tale of TheRadicalGamePlaya
The winner in question was called TheRadicalGamePlaya, and his prize was a choice between A Playstation 5 and an XBOX Series X.
“It was huge for us in terms of sentiment because he made a video talking about the giveaway and it was pretty cool to see his review about how he was originally sceptical but now has a next gen console to enjoy.”
“It’s nice to be able to have these moments when you can see people ecstatic, even with just small things. Sometimes we might do small cash giveaways on Twitter, and you’ll see someone win $100 across the world, and that’s a lot of money for them. It might even change their circumstances in some way temporarily.”
“It’s crazy to think how even a $500 giveaway could change someone’s life for the better. Giveaways give people hope because sometimes when they win, they feel the world is on their side, the energy is in their favour, and it’s such a satisfying thing to hear about through DMs or comments,” said Christensen.
The VastGG team now consists of a tight group of six staff, all of which follow every minute details of the campaigns they launch. “We’re looking at all the metrics, sometimes literally in the same Discord call, it’s a thrill every time,” said Christensen.
“With each brand we work with, their success is our success. If any of our clients gets a big win, that’s amazing, and we’re delighted for them. It just brings more legitimacy to us and to them. That’s the magic of VastGG. Everybody wins.”
If you want to enter a VastGG giveaway there are three major ones currently running. The first for a $5,000 OTK Gaming PC Giveaway, the second for a Allstar $4,500 Gaming PC and the third a $1,000 M9 Elemax Gaming Chair.