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What is WESA and what it means for eSports: Counter-Strike got its own version of FIFA

Christopher Minasians | May 18, 2016
The World Esports Assocation (WESA) has been raising a few eyebrows in the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive scene, as it has a lot of fans concerned about the implications a governing body will have on the growth of eSports.

The gaming scene is growing at a rapid pace and in Counter-Strike a new association has been formed, the World Esports Association (WESA). In this article we explore what WESA is, the implications and benefits it brings to all stakeholders and the outlook of eSports.

WESA in eSports: what is WESA?

WESA stands for the World Esports Association and was announced to the world on 13 May 2016 and currently only covers teams who play professionally in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The association aims to help professional players have more of a stance in their respective teams and ensure there's a better revenue split among teams - at least that's the aim.

The WESA brings together some of the biggest teams in Europe:

Natus Vincere
G2 Esports
Ninjas in Pyjamas

However, some big teams have been omitted from the initial announcement, such as Astralis from Denmark and all the other major teams which reside outside of Europe, such as Luminosity Gaming, Tempo Storm, Liquid to name just three out of the many non-European teams.

The omission of key teams has a lot of people baffled and somewhat angry at the way the WESA has been setup.

According to a few people online, WESA is owned and was created by ESL, one of the biggest organisers in the eSports scene. The problem this brings is favouritism and a potential problem for other game organisers who also host tournaments, such as FACEIT, DreamHack and Major League Gaming (MLG) among many others.

From what has been officially announced, WESA doesn't conflict or create any exclusivity towards certain tournaments. This means players and teams can still enter and compete in other leagues, without having to exclusively play in the WESA-approved leagues.

WESA in eSports: how does this impact the eSports scene?

There has been a big backlash from the community in what this brings to the CS:GO scene and eSports generally, as many see it as a FIFA-type association that has been hit with corruption and led to many problems within the football community.

Mike Rufail, Managing Director at Team EnVyUs wrote a detailed blog post, which emphasises the logic and reasons behind the creation of WESA. In his pretty long blog post, he talks about exclusivity and says that it would in fact benefit sponsorship deals and media rights, but given the way the CS:GO scene has been expanding, it's 'just not right for the ecosystem right now'. This does suggests to us that there will at some point mean a different nature of watching and experiencing tournaments.

For the players, it should only effectively impact them in a positive way, as the association was designed with the players in-mind and could have been created by them in the first place. The reason it was created by organisers and teams, rather than the players themselves is the costs, legal implications and more so, the time it takes to do all of this. If this was bad for the players, they would have never stood behind it, nor wanted an association like WESA to exist. Realistically, if the players refuse, the teams can't force their hands as it's the players who are in the driving seat.


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