The World eSports Association (WESA) created an Ask-Me-Anything topic (AMA) earlier on the /r/globaloffensive sub-reddit. An interesting move by the eSports giant, something altruistic in nature however at the time of publication, sadly just another opaque press-release that looks like another attempt to convert those critics into supporters.
The AMA unlike many, has shed no new light and has merely used this opportunity to gather attention. A golden opportunity for WESA’s Player Council to give the industry what it really wanted, truthful and honest answers that has been requested since its eerie and secretive inception. The very association that promised it was going to be transparent about its operations has done the exact opposite. With the Professional eSports Association (PEA) readying themselves to launch a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive league early next year the World eSports Association has a run for its literal money.
During the AMA WESA’s Player Council members were apparently in control. However answers mainly came from the Player Council Chairman Viktor “Vuggo” Jendeby. You scroll down the AMA to see his tag prefix the responses, in which they share the same bleak response. Things that the community already knew, responses that felt more like a press response or something written by someone with a degree in social media.
Besides the emphatically dull and nuance response, some statements issued colored me curious.
At first you think, generic, boring.. but something stood out that made the journalistic hairs on my hands stand up. Interestingly no “Vuggo:” prefix, maybe it was someone else who wrote this one, however the meat of the statement lies right under our eyes. It wasn’t just a blah blah regulations and future post, it had something within that made your mind run wild with thoughts.
The writer then shifts over to the Player Council, to avoid confusion stating that they as the Player Council make no additional money from being on the board, this statement makes no sense. Did WESA not pay the founding teams? Did they not pay FaZe or the other teams? Or are they no longer going to pay teams who join? More questions than answers, thank you AMA..
After initial WESA announcement backlash, one founding team (FaZe) pulled back from the association stating: “It doesn’t lack big metaphors of what it could be, but it lacks transparency on how to get there and that is the main reason for why we are leaving WESA.”
When asked about the rumored $150,000 sign-on bonus, FaZe had confirmed that it was true, however additionally stating: “that the team never collected it.”, who is telling the truth, WESA or the one team who had decided their (WESA) lack of transparency was worth ending their relationship with the association?
Even the rehearsed statements hurt my head. Vuggo said things like universal scheduling, when their own Player Council members complain about scheduling conflicts in ESEA, when they are the sole reason for it. They knew ESEA has certain dates, they knew their broadcast won’t stop because a player can’t commit, and they would be losing money and essentially wasting their time. ESEA ESL Pro League isn’t a small online season anymore, there’s a lot in stake now a days and players are expected to adhere to strict schedules.
Recently, Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas attended ESL New York and won second place in a tough series against Na’Vi. After the tournament ended, they were scheduled to play in the ESL Pro League in collaboration with ESL’s subsidiary, ESEA. Monday – one day after the ESL NY event ended. They knew it, but complained regardless. This is what he said via Twitter, lashing out on ESL. Again, makes you wonder. Who is really in charge? Do they really have any say?
Apparently they do, after the tweet was posted to /r/globaloffensive, VP of Pro Gaming, Ulrich “theflyingdj” Schulze rebutted during his statement citing:
Lots of players lash out on leagues and the witch hunt begins just to find out organizations and leagues made justly decisions after all. This is one of many cases. How is one of the Player Council members going to publicly bash ESL and pretend to show uniformity after that?
When I say its a fair statement to make that WESA isn’t particularly liked, I mean it.. Their operations, their foundation, their partners.. all so emphatically connected it just makes you wonder if there’s unseen motive for WESA? Regardless there’s a seemingly lack of decisions being made by players or the aforementioned wouldn’t be in the position to complain about their own playing schedule. So much for working out universal scheduling, Player Council.
Who is pulling the strings?
[Note: The segment puts readers into a perspective found in similar cases which have presented themselves in eSports. Cronyism is a thing, but is it WESA’s thing? You decide.]
ESL has some of their senior executives in WESA. Their WESA.GG domain is registered under Turtle Entertainment (ESL), some of their founding members have had or currently have ownership stakes in some teams in the circuit and the association, and lastly the tournaments they “sanction” are ESL hosted or partnered.
Majority ESL, but they expect the world to forget the possibilities of collusion and gross attempt at monopolizing their League. It’s like the Riot-ran League Championship Series (LCS) except instead of keeping it in-house like a game publisher did, they’re pushing the little guys out and minimizing their impact so ESL reaps the rewards from indirectly owning the teams, who are part of an owned association, playing in owned leagues.
At the end of the day there’s too much of a shadow of a doubt for us to treat WESA as a transparent and neutral association when their own AMA’s can’t show us otherwise.