Alex Jebailey: 6 Years in Orlando and towards the future in…DAYTONA!
Last, but certainly not least, for Part 3 of my CEO 2017 interviews I have the director and founder of CEO, Alex Jebailey. This interview took place at the very end of the event after Street Fighter V Top 8 as everything was being packed up. I hope you enjoyed these interviews and peek into the Fighting Game Community!
OG: I am here with the Man, the Myth, the Legend, Alex Jebailey. Alex how are you doing?
Jebailey: Exhausted and my voice is gone, but I feel good.
OG: I can imagine. So we are at the end of CEO, another amazing event has come by, what were you most proud of with this year’s event?
Jebailey: Just the size of the team we had and everyone coming together. No event is perfect, we had a lot of fires to put out and the team put them out, and everyone had a great time. This is our last year at this venue before we move to a really, really big one, and I think we did a proper send off. Outside of the tournaments, everyone had a great time partying together and hanging out and just reminiscing over 6 years in this place and now it’s over and we move on.
OG: That leads me perfectly into my next question. Next year CEO is moving to Daytona Beach. What do you think about Daytona makes it the best place for the next level of CEO?
Jebailey: I think it’s another getaway and vacation spot like Orlando is, but we’re gonna take it over and have this entire area to ourselves. Everyone is going to have a good time and look out for each other. All the local businesses are going to support the event, it’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be new, and people like a new feeling. Even though they look forward to CEO, now they can look forward to growing with me and experience this completely new event. It’s exciting because people don’t know what to expect, but I am going to be there to show them the way and what they can expect.
OG: Is there anything you can tell us that people can look forward to in 2018?
Jebailey: Besides the arena, it’s a little scary, if we have empty seats we don’t know how it’s going to look. But I have a lot of configurations for the seating so it’s going to be successful either way and look amazing. Just expect a great CEO event. It’s going to be bigger, we will get more artists, vendors, and arcade machines in there. Just bigger and better in every way, but while keeping that community feeling that makes CEO feel so special.
OG: Jebailey Land 2.0 confirmed?
Jebailey: Oh yeah.
OG: *laughs*So in your six years in Orlando what is your proudest accomplishment that you have been able to achieve?
Jebailey: Creating a lot of opportunities for others. There are so many people that started out helping for CEO and now they’re working for big E-Sports companies, and travelling the world getting paid to do stuff they love. The fact that I have been able to have great success for myself and accomplish everything I wanted to and created something that I can do every year for a full time job, and seeing other people get opportunities now means a lot to me. I like to scout and help people grow and have a great time. So it has been pretty amazing.
OG: The Father figure of the FGC. So, E-Sports. What do you think the FGC’s role is in E-Sports now and in the future?
Jebailey: I think regardless of if the E-Sports bubble bursts or the money goes away and the companies pull out, I think that we are going to be fine because we have that community feeling. I think (companies like) Capcom and NetherRealm Studios are here for the long term so we’re going to be great. They sponsor the event but they let us run it the way that we want to, and the community loves the way we run it.
OG: That’s good to hear.
Jebailey: So it’s going to be fine. I have talked to a lot of big companies on the outside and we just love the growth we have been seeing, and the tight knit community, and we feel like even if the money starts to go away, we are still going to be there and keep growing with or without the help.
OG: We were here before E-Sports and we will be here after.
OG: Now here’s a question I have been asking a lot of pros and others that we don’t get to hear very often, what has been your favorite game so far this year? Fighting or otherwise.
Jebailey: You know what, this is the first year that I haven’t been able to touch much. I play a lot of single player games. I love fighting games, the Street Fighter 4 series is one of my favorites, and Capcom vs. SNK 2, but in the last year I have been having a lot of fun with single player games again just to zone out and enjoy myself. Nier: Automata is incredible.
OG: That’s a fantastic game.
Jebailey: Horizon Zero Dawn has been incredible, so I am getting a chance to play single player games. I have a lot going on in the next couple of months, especially with Dreamhack (the largest digital festival in the world, with major E-Sports tournaments) events so I don’t get to enjoy myself, but on the (Nintendo) Switch I am glad games are starting to pick up.
OG: ARMS is awesome!
Jebailey: I haven’t picked it up yet, but I saw people in the venue playing 4 player ARMS with each other on a little screen. It is awesome that Nintendo is back, I think that special feeling of a console that is dedicated to games is back so you can disappear with it without trophies and just have a good time. So yeah, those are the games I am playing, I am still working on Nier: Automata.
OG: Thank you so much for your time. Before we go is there anything that you want to shill, any plugs, anything you want to throw out there?
Jebailey: No, but can you help us pack up?
OG: *nervous laughter*
Big thanks and shout outs to Ryan LV, NY Chris G, and Alex Jebailey for taking time out of their busy weekends to speak with me, and a big thanks to the team at Outright Geekery for helping me with this amazing opportunity!