Esports Pros have ‘Dream’ jobs – but game publishers have all the power


In 2008, James “Klester” Eubanks, then 16, decided what he had to be number one. Call of duty Players in the world. Growing up in Virginia, Eubank has all the latest consoles and spec-out gaming PCs; He had DSL for the first time in his house. Now, they put all that practice to use, which they grinded Call of duty The school ranks every single day, balancing its competitive ambitions against part-time jobs, girls. Playing the game professionally was not yet an established career path, but eventually became a loose circuit of the tournament. “It was really busy,” Eubanks says. “But it has become more and more sophisticated as the years have passed.” Every year, the tournament prizes got a little bigger. The competition became tough. He became more famous.

Then, as the industry’s widespread popularity, the balloon industry took off League of Legends And Starcraft ii Escorts suffered a setback due to waves of big sponsors and international stadium events. Publisher Activism Looks Competitive Call of duty Through a new lens. In 2020, Activision launched Call of duty League: 12 teams with five players each, representing 12 different cities around the world. As a top contender playing on the Dallas Empire, Eubank helped his team take off for the first time Call of duty League Championship in July. He was thrilled. Then everything changed.

In August, Activision decided that professionals Call of duty Games should be five-by-five, not four-versus-four. Twenty percent of the league’s players had to go. A few days after their big win, the Dallas Empire dropped Eubank, which was placed fifth in the roster. Eubank wrote on Twitter, “I got 24 hours of happiness before coming back to Blender, but this is the story of my career.”

CDL Commissioner Johanna Ferris says the Activision decision was “the result of a very extensive process” that included feedback sessions with teams, players and “all key stakeholders.” Although Eubank believes the new format is better for the game, he says that he has never been consulted about a move that directly affects him and does not know how.

As Exports expands — liberal valuations have put the global export market at $ 1 billion — it resembles other professional sports such as football: international leagues, clever branded teams, investors seeking vanity projects Are 18-year-old wunderkinds. However, there is still a major difference: no one owns football. Beautiful games are not the intellectual property of anyone. Esport are sports.

This simple fact encourages the creation of these leagues in the first place, for sports publishers, as a way to advertise their products. For professional gamers, it helps stabilize a specific line of work: a regular salary, and benefits as well. Balanciaga sneakers. Hair and Makeup. The Twitch stream and vlog from a clean pool behind the Los Angeles team’s home were well attended. But at the same time, franchised esports are a modern experiment that occurs when a marketing initiative becomes its own industry. While players accept the opportunities given to literal play for work, they are wary of how much power publishers hold.

“If they really care about competitors Call of duty, And being a competitive esport, a lot of things will be done differently, ”says Eubank. “Call of duty Actport and Forever Esports will become a marketing tool forever Call of duty. ”

The publishers created a game. They sell sports. They own IP. Anything to do with sports has to go through them. And now they own the league: In 2013, Riot Games launched their own League of Legends League, League of Legends Championship series. Active Blizzard Overwatch And Call of duty After years. These game publishers sell spots in their franchised esports leagues for anything from $ 10 million to $ 60 million. Activision Blizzard charged $ 20 million as entry fee for the report Overwatch The league’s original 12 franchise teams, which attracted investors such as Robert Kraft and Jeff Wilpone. (Tom Martell, director of operations for Global Esports, told WIRED that they deliberately charge under market value to boost long-term value.) Of course, there is just one top-tier league for each game; And for at least Call of duty, Fan-favorite teams like the 100 Thieves have been unable to participate due to heavy purchases.

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