Want to know what it’s like to be in one of the most successful eSports teams on the planet? Chief Operating Officer, Ryan “OpTic J” Musselman, talks to STACK about life in OpTic, playing competitive Call of Duty on the world stage, and working with headset designer Turtle Beach. 

How much time do you put into recreational gaming?
It depends on what is happening in the competitive season. We try to find a good balance between work and play, but given that work/play go hand in hand, it somewhat gets blended together.

What does an average year look like for you?
Depending on the season, there can be a ton of travel and practice time, coupled with staying focused on producing content. Time moves very fast in the gaming world.

How do you spend your downtime?
We do our best to stay healthy, work out and still enjoy life with friends and family. We have all grown pretty close at the house and it’s exciting to be in a profession where others share the same passion.

Do you get the chance to have a look at CoD titles before they’re released?
In most cases, yes. Activision has been great about teaming with us on that front. Our pro players and content-focused members get some good time with the title prior to release.

Do developers ever come to you for consultation or advice – especially in regards to the multiplayer component?
Yes, they have in the past. Although not widespread, we are seeing more focused communication between developers, pro-players, and YouTubers alike.

How do you see eSports and the scene developing?
[According to] an article from NewZoo, there are currently 131 million global enthusiasts who enjoy eSports and the industry is anticipated to be a $1BN market by 2019, so we’re optimistic that more brands, new players, new teams, and updated game types will continue to fuel this amazing profession.

Why choose to partner with Turtle Beach?
They have the best headset on the market and have been an absolute pleasure to work with. They get eSports. They get OpTic. As the scene advances the way it is, TB serves as a benchmark organisation to get behind. We won’t just wear any headset – it truly has to be something we believe in and TB has made it happen with the Elite Pro [exclusive to JB Hi-Fi]. Plus, they look so good!

What is it like working with them?
They are very responsive and very open to our suggestions when it comes to bringing the product to the audience. They get it and support our approach. It’s not always easy to find such a great fit, so to have a top of the line product with top of the line representatives from TB, it’s a partnership we really appreciate.

What advice would you give people trying to break into the industry?
Focus on your craft and your respective gaming title. Eat, drink and breathe it. Master it. Watch other teams and other players. The more qualitative information you have, the more informed your decision making will be. Leave frustration, arguments, and anger at the door. You only have time to find out what works best and to hyper-focus on using it to your competitive advantage.

What are your ambitions?
To continue our focus on improving our craft across multiple eSport titles and produce highly engaged, entertainment-gaming content.