There have been some seriously interesting musings within the video gaming community over the past week or so, particularly with regards to the formation of the World eSports Association. The press release announcing this formation occurred on Friday and was met with mixed views. WESA came out and stated that debates had been ongoing for over a year leading up to the final formation. WESA (World Esports Association) is made up of senior members of the ESL group and its umbrella coorporation and also some managers from all of the top CSGO teams. They have essentially branded WESA as an attempt to professionalize eSports and effectively oversee all tournament regulations – and more crucially revenue too!
This last point is what has raised eyebrows across the world, why has ESL designated themselves at the centre of eSports when there are a large number of event organisers today that would be equally deserving of a spot in the agency. WESA has also said that they will be bringing together all stakeholders within esports to enable a fair and well regulated discussion. Well, if we have learnt one thing in the past it is that a monopoly in anything is never a good idea – particularly when large sums of money are involved… Think FIFA for a recent example, but there are many, many from the past. Players, teams, broadcasters and the event organisers will be able to come together through WESA, however this begs the question – did this not occur in the past anyway?
Why is there a need to put a label on everything these days… Anyway, enough ranting. The following teams are involved in the foundation of WESA – and there are a few notable exceptions – Fnatic, Ninjas in Pyjamas, Natus Vincere, EnvyUs, Faze, Mousesports, Virtus Pro and G2 Esports too. This assembly is missing teams like Astralis and Liquid – and a handful more too. However, likely more significant is the exclusion of CEVO, Gfinity and a large number of other event organisers. ESL has simply gone out there and placed a 40% majority holding over WESA, essentially meaning they will be ruling the game from now on and taking control of the cash flow into and out of the game. Think the Premier League and Sky for another example of this.
Various professional gamers belonging to the teams involved have stood up to defend the public onslaught that has been going on, on reddit this afternoon. But this still doesn’t cover up the grotesquely fishy smell that is coming out from the ESL camp today. Get Right, from the team Ninjas in Pyjamas, stated the following: “It’s an incredibly exciting time to be a part of the esports industry, and its rapid growth in just a few years has made it very clear: there’s growing and more pressing need to structurize it, both on the tournament organizer’s side as well as on the players’ side. WESA will offer us a platform to do just that – organize our work and careers, build a network of safety, and offer a solution to business and legal disputes.”