Sean Plott full interview for our Subscribathon!

Uploaded by geekandsundry on Apr 27, 2012


FELICIA: Hi, guys.
SEAN: Hello.
FELICIA: This is Sean Plott.
He is also known as Day[9].
He has a show.
Oh, wow.
I hope we can clear that.
SEAN: I brought in the branded shirt.
You can probably buy those, huh?
SEAN: You actually can't.
That's, I guess, why no copyright's being
violated right now.
This was a one of a time thing.
And because I'm a nerd, I just sort of collect clothes from
nerd escapades, and then I just wear them.
This is a completely random chance thing.
FELICIA: Did somebody make this for you
for free, or what?
SEAN: We have a designer.
His name is Bernard.
He's amazing.
FELICIA: Bernard?
SEAN: Bernard.
He's really good.
FELICIA: Where'd you find him?
Just on the street?
SEAN: Well, OK, so here's an important lesson.
No, I think that would be really awesome if my web
business sunk to that, where I was, like, on a street corner
in the middle of LA, like, we need web designers who do cool
StarCraft things.
So here's the thing, if you're ever looking to get into the
web space, or into any space that you don't know how to get
into that doesn't have, like, a job application, you just
You just, out of thin air, make a thing.
So I was checking just some random mailbox
on a StarCraft website.
And this guy said, hey, I like your show.
Here is a full graphical design plate that I just
thought you might like.
FELICIA: That's amazing.
SEAN: And I loved it.
And then I was just like, can you just design
everything for me?
And he did.
FELICIA: So he continues to design your stuff?
SEAN: Yeah.
Every time we have a thing, like, if you go to,
you'll see--
FELICIA: Go there.
SEAN: --an unbelievably sexy website.
That was all Bernard.
If you've ever heard of the color Day[9]
yellow, FFA71A in hex.
FELICIA: Oh, the man has his own hashtag.
SEAN: Bernard invented that color.
It didn't exist until he touched upon it.
FELICIA: It existed, because it has a hexadecimal code.
But you branded it.
Kind of like, there is a special color yellow in
Vienna, Habsburg yellow.
SEAN: Habsburg yellow.
FELICIA: So it's like the--
SEAN: That's my second-favorite yellow now.
FELICIA: --Plottsburg yellow.
SEAN: Plottsburg yellow, excellent.
Can I do one of these and, like, tilt it a little bit?
FELICIA: Yeah, you can do what you need.
I don't know.
Ah, that looks better.
Sean actually broadcasts, what, an hour a day?
SEAN: An hour a day.
Yeah, so because StarCraft is a great game, I don't actually
have to be that interesting.
All I have to do is open up a game of StarCraft, and it's
And my voice is soothing.
And together it forms a show.
FELICIA: Dulcet tones of Plottdom--
Plottsburg, Plottsburg.
FELICIA: I mean, that is a phenomenon.
Because I've been here since 9:00.
And I am tired.
I don't know how you do this every day.
I mean, I'm cool.
SEAN: No, I mean, you're like holding down like a hero, man.
I've had you tuned in on monitor three on
the right at home.
FELICIA: Yeah, oh, thank you.
I mean, I've been talking.
SEAN: No lull.
FELICIA: Well, there was a lull when--
there were a couple lulls.
But I think we've done pretty well.
Whenever there's a lull, I just bring in the pandas.
SEAN: Dude, they're incredible.
Did you see, I actually retweeted a photo of the two
pandas on their iPhones.
FELICIA: I did not see that picture.
I will have to look that up.
I've seen some crazy pictures.
SEAN: I'm opening it right now.
Hopefully I have enough battery.
Let me open this sucker up.
FELICIA: And then we should show people who you are.
Because some people might not know.
Although, let me just tell you, Day[9]
army, fans, participants--
I said army one time, and somebody got--
you guys, literally, I mean, you probably provided half our
subscribers so far.
SEAN: Yeah!
FELICIA: Other guy, Guildies, come on.
Step it up.
Because Day9, I mean, if you look at any of our videos,
it's, like, Day[9] sent me, Day[9] sent me, Day[9]
sent me.
I would say at least 20% of our subscribers, before
launching, are because of you.
So thank you.
Yeah, you're amazing.
And you obviously inspire a lot of loyalty.
SEAN: Dude, I will just say, the StarCraft community is the
amazing people, man.
Those guys get it.
Any time there is anything related to StarCraft, it gets
tweeted, uploaded, re-linked, shot everywhere.
There's a couple Forbes articles that
have been about StarCraft.
And they immediately are like--
FELICIA: That's how I first saw about you.
OK, so my friend Omer--
SEAN: He's a link bomber, man.
He, like, loads a minigun clip of internet memes and just
blasts them at your phone.
It's great.
FELICIA: He was the DP for the "Date my Avatar" video.
And I'd met him on another commercial
that I did years before.
So we've worked together, and he's one of
my very good friends.
And he's a huge StarCraft fan.
SEAN: Good for him.
FELICIA: Omer, I'm talking about you.
I don't know if you're watching, but hi.
And he is a huge fan of yours.
And he linked me your story about how you got to
where you are now.
And I was like, oh my God.
That's a great story.
And you have a background in math.
SEAN: Yes, which is the best subject to major in.
Seriously, go major in math.
Oh, it's so great.
FELICIA: Are you being sarcastic?
SEAN: No, I love math.
I didn't just major in math and be like, well, this
fucking sucks.
Am I allowed to curse on this?
Is that OK?
FELICIA: I mean, you did.
SEAN: Well, this frickin' stinks.
FELICIA: OK, good.
That's better.
So for people who might not know how you became literally
the voice of StarCraft in a way, or the voice of an aspect
of Starcraft.
I mean, you go around basically annotating, And
you're a sports announcer.
So what do they call those people?
Because I don't watch sports either.
SEAN: Commentator or shoutcaster.
FELICIA: You're a shoutcaster.
So how did you get into shoutcasting?
I mean, you can't have been in college and been like, I want
to grow up to be a shoutcaster, right?
You know, when I was in college, I didn't really have
any ambitions.
I was like, well, I'm just going to
graduate with this major.
And then I planned on stepping away from graduation and being
like, I guess I have to get money now so I
don't starve to death.
I sort of had that short term in sight.
Well, it's kind of weird.
Because especially in the web space and in the gaming space,
there's not a lot of infrastructure.
I mean, if you envision the game space 20 years ago, 20
years is not actually that long a time.
FELICIA: No, but it's literally the span from 1
pixel to where we are now.
We're just basically virtually living in a game.
SEAN: So I mean, no one actually will
tell you what to do.
There's no position, in a sense, in a lot of these
So that's why we're seeing people spring up with their
iPhone, iPod applications doing these freemium online
models, blah, blah, blah, with their game stuff.
With the whole StarCraft thing, there's no person who
hires all the commentators, or something like that.
You just kind of create something neat.
So that's really what happened is I loved playing StarCraft
and played competitively for, like, 10 years.
FELICIA: You played competitively?
I didn't know that.
SEAN: Oh, yeah.
Are you kidding?
FELICIA: I mean, I did kind of.
SEAN: I'm not a computer nerd.
I'm a computer jock, Felicia.
SEAN: Because I mean, I'd played so long.
And I started running out of time, because
I was in grad school.
And they totally don't let you slack off, which stinks.
FELICIA: No, I almost actually failed my senior year.
Well, that wasn't my senior year.
It was, like, sophomore.
It was a semester of college because of Diablo II.
SEAN: Oh, my God!
I love Diablo II.
Hammerdin all day.
God, that build is so broken.
FELICIA: It's so good.
It's so good.
So basically, that's why I'm excited.
Personally, I'm literally going to be in Europe when
Diablo III comes out.
And I'm like, well, could I come back earlier?
I'm literally like, I want to be home immediately.
SEAN: Well, you can download the American client and log on
to the American server from Europe.
You just will have a really slow connection.
FELICIA: That would be crazy, guys.
I can do that?
OK, let's do that.
SEAN: But you don't need, like, super low
ping to admire loot.
Because it's all about the loot.
FELICIA: It's all about the loot.
It's all about the matching set armor.
SEAN: Oh, I know.
When someone had, like, that full set of green, you'd be
like, [GASPS], he's so cool.
I want to be him.
FELICIA: It's hotter than a guy driving a Ferrari.
I'll just say that, as a lady.
OK, so you were a competitive StarCraft player, which I
don't even know.
I want you to talk about pro gaming and gaming as a sport.
Because I think the long term of it is
it's going to be huge.
And I think it's huge.
But it's not really known about.
And I feel like you're a voice that can kind of cross that
and make it more acceptable and mainstream and accessible.
SEAN: I hope so.
It is, like, my life dream to have just competitive nerds in
every house.
You know, where there's a mom with a baby in high school--
I guess a child in high school.
FELICIA: You're talking about a woman, a
teenager having a baby?
SEAN: Listen, I'll get there.
I want a kid in high school to choose between the football
team, the chess club, or the StarCraft team or some other
e-sports team.
FELICIA: Oh, that's cool.
SEAN: That would be so great.
Because in my eyes, there's nothing better or worse about
gaming than any other of these activities.
There's no reason it should be--
FELICIA: I mean, it definitely requires a skill set.
And then, when somebody's like, oh,
that's not a real gamer.
The only person who can say that is somebody who's
actually competing.
Like, that's a real gamer.
SEAN: Oh, yeah.
We lord that over people.
All the memes about League of Legends, which, by the way,
almost all StarCraft players play and really enjoy.
FELICIA: What about DotA, too?
SEAN: Oh, yeah.
The whole MOBA genre.
FELICIA: Yeah, that's the whole genre, yeah.
SEAN: Yeah, like, every StarCraft player dabbles in
MOBA at least some.
FELICIA: Do they not admit to it?
You're saying it like it's dirty.
SEAN: Yeah, most of them do.
Well, I mean, it's this sort of weird thing that a lot of
the pros don't have any sort of disrespect for a lot of
other games.
But there's a lot of people who are into StarCraft.
And it's just become their identity.
Because honestly, there's so much StarCraft content that
you can watch it all day, every day, just like you could
be into football or baseball.
And so rather than just say, I like this, they look down on
other things.
FELICIA: I mean, I think that happens sometimes.
SEAN: That's standard.
FELICIA: It's not great.
SEAN: It's like our whole generation.
It's like, ugh, you like 24?
Ugh, that show sucks.
Jack just kills people.
And I'm like, yes.
I've watched every season twice.
I think you watch Supernatural, too, right?
You like Supernatural?
SEAN: I love Supernatural.
FELICIA: Guess who was on the show last month.
SEAN: Do I get three guesses?
FELICIA: It's me!
SEAN: Holy shit, Felicia!
Am I going to freak?
Can I ask if you're a villain?
FELICIA: I'm not going to spoil anything.
I have been brought up on the Whedonverse.
I do not say diddly poop.
I am not a spoiler.
SEAN: Because if you, like, pop out of the shadows, and I
shriek my usual shrill tone.
FELICIA: Oh, I actually did see you playing Amnesia.
Omer linked me that.
He sent me the Forbes article, and then
he linked you screaming.
I was like, that guy's got to be on my shows.
Incidentally, Sean is on the first Tabletop show--
yay, high five-- with Grant Imahara and Jenna Busch.
That'll be out tomorrow at 5:00 AM.
So pretty amazing.
I don't want to give any spoilers.
But you're pretty ruling.
SEAN: European folk are lucky.
Because that's, like, mid-afternoon for them.
FELICIA: Is it really?
Yeah, they are, actually.
And then later in the year, you're going to be on my show,
The Flog, which is actually the first thing I met you on.
And then I found out you liked board games.
And it was like a total coincidence.
And I was like, hey, do you want to be on this other show?
And I thought I was being rude to ask you on two shows.
But you showed up.
SEAN: It was awesome.
Oh, god.
Any excuse to play board games anyways.
This is sort of the increasing problem I'm having.
As you and I both know, the way that you make things work
in this space is by working your ass off.
There's no trick.
FELICIA: It's not easy.
Nobody's feeding us bon-bons.
We're not rolling around in money like Scrooge McDuck.
We are literally-- we're doing what we love.
But it's all day, every day.
SEAN: Yeah, like 100-hour weeks, at least,
for, like, two years.
And that's how you do it.
That's the trick.
And when you have that schedule, when you want to do
something like play a board game, you make
a show out of it.
So that way, you get to play the board game.
And you can still actually be working.
It's a tax write-off board game.
FELICIA: I tax write-off everything, thank god.
I can do every game.
I can tax write-off every game thing.
I'm just like, yes.
SEAN: Research.
And it was the rehearsal days for Tabletop, where I got to
sit there and just do tech run through.
And I actually played a game.
It was the most gaming I've done in years.
SEAN: It's so great.
FELICIA: Because I work so hard now, I don't get my time
to play games as much as I would like.
So for people who don't know anything about Star Tre--
SEAN: That was close.
You were inches from saying Star Trek.
FELICIA: StarCraft, I know.
I have been to Blizzard like four years in a row.
My brother play StarCraft.
SEAN: Good for him.
FELICIA: I don't know anything about StarCraft.
I've seen the competitive gamers.
In fact, in season three, Kwan, who wears the track
suit, he's totally based on those bad-ass Korean StarCraft
players who walk through BlizzCon like they literally
own the world.
SEAN: Who apparently have very loose shoulders.
FELICIA: They do.
They go like this.
And they wear the track suit.
And they just look like they're superstars.
And I based him on--
SEAN: They are.
FELICIA: I mean, they are.
But people, mainstream don't--
so how does somebody like me, who doesn't play the game,
understand how cool it is to watch StarCraft?
Have you made a training manual for newbs,
StarCraft for newbs?
FELICIA: You should do that.
I'm serious.
SEAN: I should.
I need to do that.
Well, so for StarCraft, let's assume that you know nothing,
that you're Amish.
You've never played.
You've just learned about computers recently.
StarCraft is a real-time strategy game.
So it's a lot like chess.
Except in chess, instead of taking turns like in that
game, you just go when the game begins.
Well, instead of a knight moves in an L pattern, it's
this unit moves fast.
This one moves slow.
This shoots far or not.
And also there is money in the game.
You collect resources to build the army.
So in the game, as you're trying to go to new resource
areas and gather those
resources, you have to balance.
Do I want to build an army?
Or do I want to invest in getting more money?
And that balance is where the strategy lies.
FELICIA: I really do think if you did a primer, because to
me, from what I've heard, I think that watching it would
be just as enjoyable as playing it, in a way.
Because you're watching people.
Like, I love watching the Olympics.
There's no frickin' way I'll ever get on a ski slope.
It's too dangerous.
SEAN: You should, though.
That should be on The Flog.
I've been trying to do snowboarding.
My ankles will snap.
I just feel like I might have no feet left.
SEAN: Oh, you have weak ankles.
Oh, man, the new insult for gamers for the next
FELICIA: Weak-ankled.
So to me, I feel like if there was a way in.
And how do you think that is going to be accomplished?
Because people obviously don't need to play football to
appreciate football.
So what are the steps to become, that pro gaming can be
the sports for a wider swath of the audience?
SEAN: Yeah, I mean, right now there's, guess I would say,
three obstacles.
The largest one is just cultural.
For instance, with football--
American football, not soccer, that is-- with football, with
American handegg, no one has ever looked at the rule book
for that to learn it for the first time.
It's like, your family watches it on Sunday.
My grandparents always watched it.
And if you think about the rules of football, they're
pretty non-intuitive.
I mean, the idea of trying to get a ball 10 yards, and you
have four tries to do it.
And you can kind of kick it sometimes and kind of not.
I'm sort of hazy on the rules, to be honest.
But they overall get these big grunting men
tackling each other.
And that's sweet.
FELICIA: And you root for one team over another.
That's what you're doing.
Where it's like a tribe--
SEAN: I like those colors.
Fuck yeah, those guys, right?
This is my judgment logic in the sport.
So honestly, there's a lot of cultural shift going on.
Because now, geek is sort of in.
But that's more of the surface area, sort of look is now in.
But now some of those hobbies, like board gaming and like
computer gaming, are starting to become
really, really popular.
FELICIA: Well, that's why I think it's good.
A lot of people are like, oh, they're just poser geeks.
I'm like, I don't know what that means, first of all.
Second of all, sometimes maybe people need to adopt that.
And then they actually absorb it.
And it becomes part of their lifestyle.
And then that actually raises us all up.
Like for tabletop gaming, I mean, I had
played in the past.
But it wasn't something part of what I did every day.
And now I feel like it's more ingrained.
And I found a love for it in the social
environment as well as the--
so it's just like being exposed to it might actually
be good for everybody, because people will be celebrating and
more independent people will support it.
So it's that kind of thing that I feel like is a little
bit destructive.
But go on.
SEAN: Following right on that, the second big thing is
honestly just having the first base surface knowledge of,
like, what is enough to know how this game works?
FELICIA: Well, that's what I'm asking you.
Even, I think, what you told me and we had some
illustration about it, you know, like, the
newbs' guide to it.
You'd have an in, in a sense.
And then you could be like, oh, OK.
I can follow along.
And I can learn as I go along.
But it's the leap that is hard to take.
SEAN: Yeah, and there's a really gross gap.
I mean, I've been trying to do some of that.
Because, like, every Tuesday I do what's called Newbie
Tuesday, which is just, OK, let's not get high level.
Let's just sit down and try to do the basics.
And creating all those different things, like in
World Poker Tour.
The fact that they have the percentage there, that makes
it more accessible.
The fact that they have the hole cam, so you can see the
players' cards.
These are all ways to help make the
story of the game clear.
Not the actual nitty-gritties of the game, but what's the
story going on?
And obviously, that's a lot of the obligation of the
But the third thing that I think just needs to happen
more is ways for the game to be sort of casually played,
not seriously.
Because I love the competition thing.
I remember when games were fun.
But now it's about winning, Felicia, right?
I love that act of sitting down and being
like, I have to--
FELICIA: I'm going to own your face, yes.
SEAN: Well, it's less like the mauling of
some poor son's soul.
But it's more the there's no rules.
The only way I'm going to be able to come out on top is if
I play better.
He's not going to go easy.
He doesn't know me.
He's not caring about me.
I want to try to succeed in this game.
That's, like, a great thing.
But in football, you don't go out in full body armor in
grade school.
You throw a football around, you know, flag football.
Or you just get the experience of passing
the football around.
FELICIA: It's almost like there needs to be an
entry-level, like casual StarCraft.
I mean I to say that.
People are like, what are you talking about?
SEAN: No, this is a huge exploration right now.
FELICIA: Like a really dumbed-down version, in a way.
Because you know, Plants vs. Zombies is--
SEAN: Is perfect?
FELICIA: --an opening for--
I know, it's a perfect game.
SEAN: It's unbelievable.
FELICIA: As far as tower defense, now I was much more
likely to play a more advanced tower defense.
And I've played them all.
Believe me, because I'm obsessed with them.
But that was my first entree into the world.
We have a couple questions in the couple
minutes we have for you.
R. Morgan Slade asks, "if you could create a new additional
win condition for StarCraft matches, what would you
choose?" What is that?

SEAN: OK, now that's an interesting question.
FELICIA: Is it a good question?
SEAN: Well, it's an interesting one.
It's only good if I can come up with an answer.
SEAN: Well, what's interesting is that the actual win
condition is "kill all the other person's buildings." But
most of the time, you surrender before then.
Because you're like, I'm totally screwed.
FELICIA: Oh, you just know you're going to lose, yeah.
SEAN: I wonder.
Because honestly, I think that rather than having another win
condition layered on top, like having this sort of variety.
Because Halo will do things like 4v4.
Or there's capture the flag.
Or there's king of the hill.
Some of these I think would be some interesting game types to
be introduced.
The idea of, like, controlling a region.
Because so often, it's easy to fall into
just some direct plan.
You just do it.
And you keep winning.
And then you're just doing it.
And then the game actually becomes dry, because no one's
beating you.
FELICIA: Yeah, that's interesting.
Oh, we have some people joining us.
Natasha, we're just going to ask Sean one more question.
SEAN: Hi, Natasha.
this, the hours thing.
I forget what exactly is the question.
But we will get to that in one minute.
I want to be able to ask you one more.
Oh, this is an Interesting one. "How do you you see
companies leveraging e-sports, or marketing as it evolves?"
So these big companies, we have sports leagues that are
owned by these big companies.
How do you prevent it from being just marketing and
become a sport on its own?
Because you know what I'm saying?
It needs to transcend the idea of being just branded with one
company in order to become a sport that everybody can
participate in.
And is that a delicate balance, because it is a lot
of marketing involved to get the game out there?
SEAN: It's an interesting position for the developers
Because they almost have to let the
community do free rein.
I mean, a lot of people say things like, why hasn't
Blizzard made their own tournament circuit?
And this sort of thing.
But if they just let the community do their own thing
and kind of have just a nice infrastructure for them.
Now we have commentators.
We have community-run tournaments.
We have BarCraft, where people take over bars and play
StarCraft in them
FELICIA: I have been invited to many of those at
conventions, yeah.
SEAN: Yeah, like these sorts of things I think are critical
for companies to just get the mass audience appeal to where
the numbers are so huge that people are just like, oh,
that's a very clearly a sport.
I don't know.
I always struggle with the definition of sport.
But I will say, what makes the advertising end so great is
that it's all digital.
So with a TV, there's these big sort of swath numbers,
where it's like, 2.2 million in this demographic.
But you can actually get down to the city.
You can be like, there's 40,000 people from San
Francisco that tuned into this for exactly this many minutes
or exactly this many hours
FELICIA: That's very interesting.
Yeah, you can measure it a lot better.
SEAN: It seems more valuable, yeah.
FELICIA: It seems like Blizzard really is the
champion, in a sense, of e-sports.
Because World of Warcraft is getting more popular as far as
tournament playing.
Now obviously, StarCraft is the king.
Do you see other companies looking at e-sports as a way
to like, hey, we need to build a game that's tailored to
appealing to this emerging thing?
Or do you think it's just a byproduct?
Like, more and more Halo tournaments
and all that stuff?
SEAN: I actually think that companies are still trying to
experiment with how to do that.
Because companies definitely have been like, oh, how do we
make it more e-sports like?
How do we make it good for that?
But it's always a big struggle.
But does the casual competitor fall off if
we make it too good?
There's a lot of people who watch StarCraft II but not as
many who play.
FELICIA: Who play, yeah.
SEAN: Who actually play compared to who watch.
How do you mix that balance up?
I know Capcom is pretty involved with the Street
Fighter IV community, making sure that their titles are
appropriately made for that sort of competitive balance.
FELICIA: Well, I mean, to me, those are the hardest games,
the fighting games.
Those are the worst.
SEAN: Are you kidding me?
You can button spam, and you look so cool.
I mean, you look cool.
But I always die.
I don't know why.
Well, cool.
Well, thank you for being here.
SEAN: Thank you so much.
Easiest 20 minutes.
FELICIA: It is @day9tv on Twitter.
And if you're interested in his show, you can find it at--
FELICIA: And every single night you stream an hour.
SEAN: Yeah, actually, I'm going home.
And at 8:00, I'm playing for two hours.
And tonight, I'm just playing with viewers.
FELICIA: Oh, that's fantastic.
You really do epitomize the idea of somebody really doing
things for his fans.
And I just think it's really cool what you've done.
And you have amazing fans, too.
SEAN: Dude, the cyber community is great.
And you also have the bomb-ass fans.
Man, they're great.
FELICIA: Yeah, I love them too.
SEAN: The only reason we're here is because you allow it.
So we thank you so much for being so kind.