XSET co-founder, Greg Selkoe: “We wanted to create a new org that had diversity and inclusion”
XSET’s Co-founder Greg Selkoe spoke with esports.gg about their merchandise strategy and esports plans.
XSET won the award for the best Licensing And Merchandise for 2021 at the Tempest Awards in Las Vegas. The organization unveiled its ‘Built for Play’ merch collection earlier this year in partnership with Ozuna and it has been a huge hit with the community. It is not a big surprise for esports fans to see XSET walk away with the merchandise prize this year.
Besides having a heavy focus on merchandise, XSET also fields rosters in several esports titles. Their VALORANT roster barely missed out on qualifying for the Masters Berlin after finishing fourth in the NA Stage 3 Challengers. XSET is involved in ten esports titles including Rainbow Six Siege, Rocket League, Warzone and even iRacing.
The Tempest Awards featured a panel of industry judges voting on some of the most impactful categories in esports. As the forerunner in merchandise, XSET has worked with a different strategy when it comes to merchandise. With industry veterans as co-founders, XSET has come a long way in just its first year of operations.
Esports.gg caught up with XSET co-founder and CEO, Greg Selkoe at the Tempest Awards. He speaks about their merchandize strategy, the vision behind XSET and gives some unique perspectives on esports and entertainment.
Dustin Steiner: Tell me a little bit about your merchandise strategy. A lot of brands have their own unique identity and everything thinks you guys are killing it right now.
Greg Selkoe: Our merchandise strategy is really merging two worlds. The gaming community, which is a culture, is more than just esports, it's slowly becoming the center of pop culture in a lot of ways. Ten years ago, gamers would be excited to meet Hip Hop artists and now the artists are excited to play with the gamers and to play with the best. Culturally these two worlds are coming together.
We have a background, first being in FaZe Clan for 2.5 years and then starting XSET and prior to that, being in Street Wear Fashion. And we understand how to take the essence of gaming with what's cool and interesting and put it into the clothing instead of doing traditional merchandise which is just a logo. We are trying to elevate the game and try to do stuff such that even if you are not a gamer, you still think it’s pretty cool.
"We wanted to create a new org that had diversity and inclusion" - Greg Selkoe
Steiner: You mentioned that you used to be with FaZe Clan. What drove you to leave FaZe and start XSET?
Greg Selkoe : I had a great experience at FaZe Clan, I was with them for almost 3 years. But It wasn't my brand, it wasn't something I started myself. I saw that in the general industry, there was not enough inclusion and diversity. My partners and I had a similar view.
We wanted to create a new org that had diversity and inclusion but not in a way that was pedantic. We wanted to do it naturally by having different groups of people with similar ideas, values but from different backgrounds. It creates something fun and new. When you have your own brand, it's yours, it's a different experience.
You guys have a decent VALORANT team. Are there are any other games on XSET's radar that you want to get into?
Selkoe: We are in ten games. Valorant is one of the hottest games. Our team has just so much heart to them, they have ground their way to the top. They have an amazing coach and there's a lot of interesting stories in there. They live together in Austin (except Zekken). Maybe they are number 4, but we think they are going to be number 1 very soon. That team is just merging together as a group and they are going to do some amazing things.
We are also in Rainbow6, our team lives here in Las Vegas. We also have a Rocket League team. SuperEvan is an incredible Warzone player. We are in iRacing, which is not typical of a lot of gaming orgs, that's like virtual NASCARs.
Steiner: Asides from Valorant, what esport do you think is the most interesting to watch?
Greg Selkoe: I think Rocket League to me is pretty cool. Whoever picks that game at first is excited to play soccer with cars. But there's something about Valorant that's really fun. It's so different than other FPS games. There's Halo coming soon and it's going to be really exciting and we want to be there as well.
Steiner: Is there a particular scene that you aren't in right now that you would like to get into?
Selkoe: I think Fighting games, we have some plans around that. Obviously, Halo when it comes back. Culturally we are doing a lot more music. We recently white-labeled a bunch of music (StreamJ) that streamers and content creators can use freely without getting tagged by Twitch or YouTube. We want to be the Andy Warhols of Gaming. A number of orgs have a lifestyle focus, but we also take esports seriously.
Steiner: The Valorant Last Chance Qualifiers. What do you think about what went on and how Riot handled all that?
Selkoe: I know that things are challenging with COVID and sometimes Internet connections are not good. People are disappointed, people had come out to play in the first LAN event. I think there's going to be so much more. The scene is growing, Valorant is going to be such a big game, I think Riot did the best they could.