Making it in Esports: mCon esports CEO, Ruben Been
This article is part of Gamer One’s new Making it in Esports series which interviews top industry team owners to learn more about their journey and to share the lessons they’ve learned along the way.
The following is a recent interview we had with Ruben Been, CEO of mCon esports.
1. What was your journey like that eventually led to owning your own team?
2007: Start FragnatiX era
The foundation of Mouse-Control was built on July 25th, 2007. On that exact date Ruben Been put together the Counter-Strike Source team FragnatiX, with which he started to compete in tournaments all around the country. Strong competitors back then were Don’t Hate and Team-Motivated; these were the teams to beat in order to win. Although the potential of FragnatiX was not fully recognized at the time, this team would eventually form the base of the current mCon esports.
2008: Start DOK Gaming era
In 2008 – on April 5th to be exact – FragnatiX was renamed to DOK Gaming. They became the first official team of the gaming initiative of the library DOK Delft, which was led by Ruben himself. Soon, DOK Gaming expanded with a Call of Duty 4 team and later a FIFA 08 team was added as well. The DOK Gaming teams performed well: the CoD 4 team placed second in the ESL Pro Series, the FIFA 08 team filled the entire podium of the ESL Pro Series, and on top of that the upcoming Warcraft III/Starcraft II talent Kevin “Harstem” de Koning was discovered and ended up playing for Fnatic.
2009: The year of Counter-Strike 1.6
The success of DOK Gaming continued in 2009. They took everyone by surprise by landing the top-notch Counter-Strike 1.6 team with Skire, roachz, dDd, muh, and ferrid. In addition to being the ESL Pro Series champions, they also placed first at both DOK LAN 1 and The Party 7 this year.
2010: The year of Trackmania
In 2010 yet another team was added to DOK Gaming. With players like Spam (ESWC 2012 champion), Tamarillo (Dutch champion 2009 and 2010), Zoeff (fivefold The Reality champion), klaas, Nielos, schriek and Arrayan to name a few, DOK Gaming had taken a world class Trackmania Nations Forever team under its wing.
2011: The merge between DOK Gaming and Mouse-Control
At the end of 2010 libraries were affected tremendously by the financial crisis. Employees had to be fired and some projects needed to be shut down. Unfortunately, DOK Gaming was one of these projects. In order to continue their activities, DOK Gaming merged with Mouse-Control as of February 1st, 2011. Mouse-Control had been founded by Martin “0wnz0r” Ekel in 2009 and up until the merge they had not been able to compete at the top yet. The merge with former DOK Gaming was about to change that. Mouse-Control was launched to the top of the Dutch esports scene and dominated the Counter-Strike Source field in 2011. Larry, revO2K, xRope, mikeS and Breakah.fV<3 won tournament after tournament after tournament. At the same time new Trackmania asset Koen “Koenz” Schobbers won virtually every Trackmania tournament, leading to even more success. In addition, Kevin “Harstem” de Koning claimed second place at the Dutch championship.
2012: Mouse-Control 2.0
2012 was an exciting year for Mouse-Control; while they had been a firm at first, they went in another direction and by the summer of 2012 they were arranged like a sports club. This meant that for the first time Mouse-Control was run by a board. By taking this step the foundation was reinforced for future operations.
Like 2011, 2012 was a successful year in terms of achievements in the esports scene. Mouse-Control finished second at the Dutch championship of 2012. Furthermore, just two weeks after that Kevin “Harstem” de Koning put all doubts about his talent to bed by defeating the DreamHack Stockholm champion and many other top players during DreamHack Summer. It was this very achievement that eventually led to his transfer from Mouse-Control to Fnatic. A big loss for Mouse-Control, but they filled the gap Kevin left behind by reeling in the Dutch champion of 2012: Tom “PoYo” Brekelmans. To conclude the year, Mouse-Control occupied places one to five at The Reality XIII, sending a clear signal.
2013: Mouse-Control’s clubhouse
In collaboration with and within the walls of Bonami Spelcomputer Museum, Mouse-Control was able to open the doors to a clubhouse in 2013. Azerty (winner of the best ICT webshop 2013 award) joined forces as well and ten high-end PC’s were installed at the clubhouse. At first, the place mainly served as the Mouse-Control clubhouse, but the visitors of the museum were allowed to play games in there too and soon there would be held monthly tournaments, workshops, and lectures.
In 2013, Mouse-Control won The Party 11, became champion in two different games at the Dutch championship and placed second at The Reality XIV.
2015: Professionalizing mCon esports
In 2015 it was time to rebrand one more time: Mouse-Control changed its name to mCon esports. Under this name the biggest achievements were earned. Dutch and Benelux champions in multiple games (Rocket League, Hearthstone and CS:GO) and even participation in a world championship. It were these achievements that made mCon esports decide to go fully professional in 2017. Ever since we – mCon esports- are paving the way for our aim: being a large esports organization within the Benelux, with players and teams that are acknowledged and respected in both the national and international scene.
2. What‘s an average workday look like for you?
RB: At the moment, I work part-time for mCon esports and I work for Heroes Dutch Comic Con as Gaming and Esports Coordinator. I also work at Breda University, where I helped creating the very first esports minor of the country. Naturally, my average workday is not from nine to five. While the business meetings are often during the day, the contact with staff and players takes place in the evening. Furthermore, it is not rare if you find me working during the weekend as well. mCon esports attends gaming events such as DreamHack Rotterdam, Firstlook Festival, GameForce, and Heroes Dutch Comic Con. Here, we aim to raise the mCon esports brand awareness and offer fun activities to our community.
3. What‘s the most challenging part about owning your own team?
RB: Within the Netherlands, the esports scene is still in an early stage. Nevertheless, over the last couple of months there has been vast development. The financial resources are one of the biggest bottlenecks, but more and more A-brands show interest to start collaborating with mCon esports.
4. What advice would you have for aspiring professional gamers?
RB: Keep being critical towards yourself and don’t automatically blame it on external factors if something doesn’t go as planned. Always ask yourself the question “What did I contribute to the performance of the team?” and evaluate if you could have done it differently.
5. What excites you most about the future of the esports industry?
RB: Already, stadiums are filled with esports enthusiasts. The atmosphere is immensely positive and the community is close. Esports is a way of uniting and including people rather than excluding them. One day, esports will be more popular than the average traditional sport and I am very excited to be part of it.