The Counter-Strike world — and esports as a whole — was shook by the formal announcement Friday of the World Esports Association (WESA).
The announcement came with little surprise after a poster was leaked two days ago with eight European teams — Fnatic, Natus Vincere, EnVyUs, Virtus.Pro, G2, Faze, mousesports and Ninjas in Pyjamas — and the ESL’s logo under the WESA banner. Still, some wondered what, exactly, WESA would be. According to a news release, the organization would be an inclusive joint venture to help teams and players further professionalize esports.
“The foundation of the World Esports Association (WESA) has been announced today, as the result of joint efforts between industry-leading professional esports teams and ESL, the world’s largest esports company,” the release said. “Based on similar traditional sports associations, WESA is an open and inclusive organization that will further professionalize esports by introducing elements of player representation, standardized regulations, and revenue sharing for teams.”
What appeared to be a heavy influence from the ESL irked some in the community. In an interview with Richard Lewis, ESL’s James Lampkin said more organizations were consulted:
“We as organizers tried and were not successful at making it work with more than one organizer at the table,” Lampkin told Lewis. “It became a case of too many cooks in the kitchen and an inability amongst the organizers to align to really make things happened, and it was established that we would be building something ineffective. To be clear, these were direct negotiations between organizers without the teams involved.”
But who, exactly, those organizers might be remain unclear. A spokesperson from MLG released the following statement:
“Major League Gaming was never approached or involved in any discussions regarding the formation of WESA.”
Gfinity’s Martin Wyatt said in a tweet that Gfinity wasn’t involved, either.
— Michael Valentine (@Meekel) May 13, 2016
CEVO president Charlie Plitt told Slingshot that CEVO had not been consulted, either.
“We were never contacted,” Plitt said. “We were never brought into the mix or the conversation about how to shape Counter-Strike.”
Requests for comment from DreamHack and representative at ELeague, which also run Counter-Strike events, were not immediately returned.
More details about WESA will like emerge in the coming weeks (they did an AMA on Reddit on Friday that answered some questions), but for now, there remain far more questions than answers.
Cover photo credit: James Cao (flickr)