Online gaming, like life, has community at its core. Playing multiplayer games in a community setting leads to excitement and fulfillment—but with more and more communities emerging, there come issues of managing those communities to ensure the spaces are safe for everyone involved. There is also much potential for brands and other partners who care about the interests of gamers to become involved in those spaces. It takes a true gamer to understand the wants and needs of these gaming communities, which is why Payton Keathley decided to build an organized gaming community where people can form clans with similar interests. His Keyhorse-backed company, Xiled, builds and nurtures gaming communities in its unique way. We asked Payton, the company’s co-founder and CEO, a few questions about his journey as a founder and predictions for the future of gaming.
How did you become interested in gaming and the gaming community?
PK: I’ve been gaming since the age of five, and I’ve played a role in the gaming community scene since 2008. After joining my first community, I found myself helping at an operations level at a very young age. I founded Xiled Gaming Network under Xiled Inc. in 2010, and since, the Xiled brand(s) have become beloved and recognized across the globe; fostering a safe, educating, and thrilling environment for 200,000+ gamers since our inception. Retention has long been an issue with clans and communities, and clanhub is a long-awaited solution that it's our dream to provide.
What inspired you to co-found a company?
Since the birth of the internet, gamers have been gathering in organized groups referred to as Clans. This is for many reasons, but most importantly, comradery. Gaming is better with friends in general, and organizations like Xiled help assist aspiring clans to reach more potential members, partnerships, brand deals, and opportunities. Coming from Pikeville, Kentucky, there was little to no opportunity to follow my passion for gaming locally, and zero tools available for establishing an organized gaming group. Xiled Inc, our team, and I strive to deliver opportunities to all players in the gaming community through cutting-edge technology, exciting platforms, and the creation of virtual environments such as Clanhub.gg that make Clan Management a breeze.
Streamers, content creators, fans, and viewers are all integral parts of gaming now, and giving them a place to congregate on more than just a social level is long overdue.
Tell us about your team: Who’s on it, and how did you meet?
The Xiled Inc team is made up of some of the gaming community's brightest minds and visionaries. Each individual on my team is a key player with various skills and professions that allow us to have a diverse, capable group with the ability to adapt and overcome the challenges we face daily. We’ve been working together for the last decade on a variety of projects, but since 2021 we’ve been focused on introducing Xiled Inc’s Clanhub.gg platform to the gaming community. Alongside myself as Chief Executive Officer, we have Matt Grubb as Chief Operations Officer, leading up our development team; Will Vesey as Chief Marketing Officer, leading our marketing and outreach initiative; Briana Tierney as Chief Education Officer, leading up our educational programs and knowledge base; and Jake Culpepper as Chief Partnership Officer, working to align Xiled Inc and our platforms with key clans, brands, and companies. Together we’re forming the ultimate toolkit environment for Clan Management success, using our skills in sales, programming, management, team building, and education. All of these team members have at one point been a part of the Xiled Organization dating back to 2010, most as children into adulthood, and have all volunteered countless hours as well as finances to take our collective dream to the next level.
Where do you see online gaming headed in the near future?
Online gaming has become more and more social over the years. The games we play and the people we meet have more freedom than ever to talk and play with whoever they desire, and capitalizing on these features is exactly what we aim to do. Streamers, content creators, fans, and viewers are all integral parts of gaming now and giving them a place to congregate on more than just a social level is long overdue.
We are an organization that understands our place. We focus on gaming, social networking, and everything in between. Communities are not a new idea, but with our structure and guidance, we are revolutionizing the way they’re seen and interacted with for years to come. At the end of the day, everyone that games with a friend is part of some community. We want to hyper-focus on that idea and expand—making our service and goal the first of its kind.
What does success look like to Xiled Inc in the short-term and long-term?
Short-term success, to us, is focusing on the little guy. Having small communities that can build and thrive on a platform like clanhub is the baseline for its short-term revenue and success. Allowing them to steer us in the right direction based on wants, needs, and growth is exactly what we strive for in the near future.
Our long-term success is a byproduct of our smaller communities as well. This will let us know what the average member thinks and wants, so we can better serve and transition content creators/sponsors onto our platform. The goal in mind is to allow these content creators to have free reign over their fan base, allowing them to join their community via clanhub. This will, in turn give the individual an opportunity to build their communities as well by becoming familiar with the platform that allows it.
What makes us special, unlike other subscription-based websites, is that our content is available for everyone that wants it—and for an extremely low cost. The sheer quantity of users will eventually be too valuable for larger organizations and sponsors to look past. Our success depends on no single community, but a conglomerate of people and ideas that are quickly coming to fruition. Having sponsors come on board with the ability to create their own organizations on our platform is what will allow us to monetize and brand our platform with the names that people have come to know and love over the years; whether that be E-sports, casual streamers, or their favorite clothing brand or energy drink.