eSports, the world of competitive online electronic gaming, are gaining traction across the globe in participation, viewership and profitability as its appeal widens to include large numbers of spectators. To serve the emerging eSports industry, a new global governing body was formed in mid-May: the World eSports Association, or WESA. The goal of the organization is promote standardization and represent players.
Video gaming interests have deep pockets, and they are beginning to shell out sponsorships to back competitive eSports. WESA is the result of a joint effort between industry-leading professional eSports teams and ESL, the world’s largest eSports company. The association says it will be an open and inclusive organization that will further “professionalize” eSports by introducing elements of player representation, standardized regulations, and revenue shares for teams. It will also attempt to create predictable schedules for fans, players, organizers and broadcasters, and for the first time bring all stakeholders to the discussion table, according to Ben Rains writing for the Web site Sport Techie.
Fairness is one of the goals of WESA, as rules have been applied unevenly over the world of eSports.
“As eSports have grown over the past few years more issues regarding standardization have come up,” wrote Rains. “The rules, competitions and most of all money, have been historically inconsistent. Therefore WESA was founded as a governing body to help curb these issues. They will help to fight for representation for the players, revenue-sharing and tournament standardization.”
Founding teams of WESA include some of the world’s most well-known multi-gaming brands: Fnatic, Natus Vincere, EnVyUs, Virtus.Pro, Gamers2, Faze, mousesports and Ninjas in Pyjamas. WESA aims to add more members and is continuing talks with a number of organizations in Europe and North America.
“We’ve established Fnatic across numerous games over the past twelve years, and we welcome an organization like WESA to help speak to the interests of teams and players,” said Wouter Sleijffers, CEO of Team Fnatic.
Mike Rufail, Managing Director of Team EnVyUs continued, “Our team has worked hard with organizers, like ESL, in the past to provide feedback and ensure a positive evolution for the events specifically and the industry. Team EnVyUs players welcome both the challenge and responsibility that WESA brings with it.”
WESA will be the first institution to feature an operative player council that will be elected by players. The council will advocate on behalf of professional gamers on the issues of league policies, rulesets, player transfers and more, empowering players when it comes to decision-making in regards to tournaments operated under WESA regulations. By bringing players to the discussion table, the council will give them important insight into the balances of league decision making as well as the formation and adjustment of rules which directly affect player careers, according to WESA.
“I’m incredibly honored and excited to join the World Esports Association today, and am looking forward to bringing my years of experience from traditional sports into the world of electronic sports” said Pietro Fringuelli, Interim WESA League Commissioner. “The formation of WESA, and the growth of the Association in the coming years, will be the critical performance indicators for the entire eSports industry – and a real game changer for its every stakeholder.”
Esports is poised for explosion, both in numbers and in economic impact. In fact, a coaching app for League of Legends has raised $4.5 million. The app, which helps players improve their skills, comes at the right time: League of Legends is the most popular game in the world, with 67 million people playing every month. The game features 120 different champions, and over 200 items.