Even Esports Is Suffering From the Wealth Gap

Last Thursday, Matt “nadeshot” Haag, uploaded an emotional video to Twitter announcing that 100 Theives, the esports team he leads and co-founded with investors like Dan Gilbert, Drake, and Scooter Braun, would not be participating in the Call of Duty League (CDL), a forthcoming tournament being run by game publishing titan Activision-Blizzard. If you’re not up on the ins-and-outs of esports brands, this is a big deal, akin to Andrew Luck’s sudden resignation from the NFL. Unlike Luck, though, 100 Thieves wasn’t so much opting out of a game that kills its players as they were unwilling to opt in.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/j5ypz7/even-esports-is-suffering-from-the-wealth-gap

“There’s aways a bigger fish”

Yeah, esports teams always were big fish in a small pond. They got myopic, they failed to create protection mechanisms. Now the honeymoon phase with capitalism is over and it will get increasingly harder for workers in the industry to get their fair share of revenues and the control over their own work.

Some will argue that this is good for the players, they will get paid. Maybe. It’s no guarantee it will be proportional to the larger revenue they will generate though. Amazon CEO is one of the richest people in the world and he doesn’t pay enough, making workers depend on food stamps.

Esport players in OWL have already been under burn out, overwork (more than 10h work day was the norm for some teams) and players are being discarded left and right. Just how an average NFL career is a couple of years, that might be the future of esports.

Players will need to discover associations and unions, just like the NBA and NFL had to do. And those still are not enough to safeguard what players deserve. Esports also have stigma of easy to replace talent. In sports you have outliers, not every one is as tall, as fast or as strong as those players. In esports, something these owners might not understand as much, there’s more of a belief you can always find more talent off the street. For every pro, there’s a 13 year old who can be groomed to replace him.

Teams failed to come together organically, they reproduced the in-game competition as capital’s market competition. Now the real world market competition is coming and team owners found themselves lacking. Instead of being player owned collectives, which cannot be pushed out of the market by money, only by a larger talent (ie a higher quality “product”) we get contract disputes like TFUE’s between owners and players. Now the honeymoon phase of owners with capitalism is over, the dream of becoming the NE patriots of esports is gone because the actual NE patriots are competing with you. Some previous owners are now outside looking in, from honeymoon to disgruntled exes. Just as with art, some gamers and team fans, should learn that sports are also compromised under capitalism. It’s not always that the best talent rises to the top of the game, it’s not a free market of talent, ask Kaepernick.