Woodrow Levin loves playing video games, a fact that was made clear when I spoke with him via phone. However, as much as he loves playing games on his own, one of his greatest joys come from engaging in video-game based competitions with his peers.
“Me and my friends would always play for anything, whether it was pizza, beer or 10 bucks,” Levin said.
“At the time, I was really into the Dreamcast and NBA 2K, which was my favorite game. I also enjoyed Goldeneye, the first four-player split-screen first-person shooter that you can play.”
That desire to engage in video game-based competition remained with Levin, who knew that after college, it would be difficult to engage friends to play video games for money or pride again.
“There was no system that could act as an intermediary to make sure that I got paid. Everyone knows how difficult it can be to collect money from your friends after a competition, even if you are with them,” he said.
Levin desired to create such a system, and Bringit was the result of his efforts.
“I wanted to be able to enjoy the games that I played against my friends and be able to notch up that competition, while also having something monetary on the line,” he said.
This allure of competition for cash and prestige forms the core of Bringit, a website that will allow gamers to test themselves against one another for honors that go far beyond mere bragging rights.
Now the CEO of Bringit, Levin hopes that his site will effectively recall the spirit of competition that takes place between friends for money and prestige. Joining requires players to be over 18 and own a console that can access the internet.
Along with these requirements, interested individuals must also not live in Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Montana, Tennessee, and Vermont, as these states are not allowed to participate in Bringit.com’s competitions.
“In 2006, the U.S. government made games of chance illegal, but they specifically carved out ‘skill-based’ gaming, which is what Bringit offers,” said Levin.
Levin pointed out that this brand of “skill-based” gaming is considered legal throughout the U.S., with the exception of those aforementioned states, which prohibit skill-based competition of any kind.
“This is true of any type of skill-based gaming opportunity, not just Bringit,” he added.
Accessing Bringit merely requires players to register, fund their accounts and submit or accept a challenge. The only charges incurred by the player are entry fees; no monthly subscription payments exist. The process of setting up an account between consoles is remarkably uniform, considering their vastly different online infrastructures.
Levin pointed out that using Bringit merely adds an additional step to the online gaming process. In describing how his service compares to what is offered on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Levin said that instead of looking for games in lobbies, which is often the case, Bringit allows players to challenge one another directly for cash and status. For this to happen, players will only need to remember their opponents' means of online identification, whether that comes in the form of PlayStation Network IDs or Xbox LIVE Gamertags.
The process is similar on the Nintendo Wii, though Levin admitted that Nintendo’s console is not “community-friendly” due to its complex online infrastructure.
“The Wii makes it difficult to connect online due to its 12 to 15-digit friend code system,” he said.
Despite this hindrance, he noted that players are using Bringit as a means to locate other players and exchange friend codes for competition.
The presentation of Bringit to the masses has generated positive reception thus far, with Levin being asked to explain his unique system to various media networks, including the Fox Business Channel. The media has expressed excitement over this idea, he noted, and pointed to the increasing popularity of competitive gaming, along with an increased willingness to place players on television, as contributing factors in increasing Bringit’s appeal.
The games played in Bringit represent the current interests of the community at large; though there is a distinct interest in the fighting, sports and first-person-shooter genres, evidenced by titles such as Call of Duty: World at War, Street Fighter IV and Fight Night Round 4. This has not prevented other genres from making an appearance, such as the rhythm-based Guitar Hero games.
Though Bringit is in its infancy, Levin already has big plans for its growth, believing that it can “continue to become the leader in competitive online skill-based gaming.” He also mentioned the prospect of adding clan, or team-based, functionality to competitive matches.
While these plans, along with countless others, will be helpful in Bringit’s plans to move forward, Levin hopes that the central appeal of his project will remain.
“I want this to be a safe and secure environment where gamers can test themselves against the competition. Even if you do not want to play for money, we have free tournaments on the site where you can win various prizes", he said. “The community aspect to Bringit is paramount, and it is something that you are hard-pressed to find in other places, or online on the computer. If you try us for $5, it really raises that level of competition and makes it a lot more exciting than just playing a regular game of Halo or Forza against someone.”