League of Legends

How I think a League of Legends player union could work

Overnight, Snoopeh, jungler for Evil Geniuses and all-round top bloke, has come out saying that he thinks a player union would be a good idea. This has brought on a range of comments from people within the eSports community. Most comments seem to revolve around whether players waging war against team owners/Riot would be a good/feasible thing, and given that unions in the rest of life seem to hell-bent on a combination of rent seeking, class warfare and (at least in Australia) maintaining their monopoly on their patch of union turf, it seems pretty reasonable to be skeptical.

However, it doesn’t need to be this way in my view. I think there is a way of having player unions that don’t revolve around what traditional unions do in the US/Australia. If I were to run a player union, and it is something I would love to do, I would run it more along the lines of a friendly society. Friendly societies, from what I understand, were a mainstay of working life prior to the formation of massive government welfare programs. Essentially, people would pool their money to provide for insurance of various sorts, as well as banking and a whole range of other services. There was some times a social aspect to it too, with regular meetings for members where they could provide support to each other. Friendly societies enabled cooperation and mutual assistance for working people.



The future of esports

The big question for those us in eSports right now is, “how big can this get?” Video games is THE burgeoning form of entertainment at the moment. While the movie industry is struggling to find the next series of blockbuster movies to prop up their ailing fortunes, GTA V and Call of Duty: Ghosts are pulling in billions of dollars of revenue. Where the TV is in the midst of a recent renaissance, video games have been enjoying constant new heights as a business and as an art form for close to 15 years. Where as newspapers are desperately trying to find a source of revenue to replace the advertising rivers of gold that have fled to the internet, online gaming and distribution has reached critical mass, with eager consumers on every continent hungrily gobbling up gaming content.

Esports however, is a whole new ball game so to speak. While single and multiplayer gaming is a tried and true business, video games as a spectator sport is still at its very early stages and we are yet to see if eSports has a viable, long term future. I would contend it does and I think a look at the history of regular sports can help us chart what sort of future that eSports might have.