ESL have announced the formation of the World Esports Association (WESA), an organisation which aims to “oversee standardized tournament regulations, player representation as well as revenue sharing for teams.” If you’re aware of the mishmash of acronyms that forms the world of esports tournaments, this might not seem of much interest, but WESA is different in that it’s not a new league but a regulatory body hoping to work with all the existing players, teams and leagues.
Essentially, it’s trying to do what FIFA does with world football – except hopefully without the decades of institutional corruption.
“WESA will offer the chance to bring all esports stakeholders – players, teams, organizers and broadcasters – to the discussion table in order to bring much needed structure, predictable schedules and transparency to the scene,” says the announcement.
The organisation is being formed as a partnership between ESL and eight founding esports teams: Fnatic, Natus Vincere, EnVyUs, Virtus.pro, G2 Esports, FaZe, Mousesports and Ninjas in Pyjamas. Those are some of the biggest teams around, with “the Association aiming to add more members and negotiations continu[ing] with various organizations.”
WESA will also involve a player council, “which will represent, strengthen and advocate on behalf of pro gamers on a number of important topics, such as league policies, rulesets, player transfers and more.” The ESL Pro League for CS:GO will be the first tournament to adopt WESA regulations.
If other organisations get on board, WESA could be a big deal for esports, which currently suffers from a lack of regulation. “”It’s a bit of like the wild west how a player moves to another team, or when a player has a dispute with a team because he hasn’t been paid or whatever, there’s no organisation he can turn to,” Ralf Reichert, CEO of the Electronic Sports League told Newsbeat, from which I get all my news.
This was demonstrated recently when Riot banned members of three teams from competing in North America, one of them Team Impulse who “repeatedly failed to pay their players on time and to provide valid contracts for their players.” Consider that not every game or esports league has a Riot tightly controlling it, and there are a lot of opportunities for abuses.
What’s not clear so far is how likely other organisations are to sign up with WESA, or where WESA’s money will come from to enforce the regulations they’re proposing, but it could be a good thing for the long-term future of esports if it works.