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Bollocks.

in down is the new up, glhf

A problem that’s identified wrongly or incompletely is one that can’t be solved. It’s why I don’t much understand the head-nodding going on about this article.

In traditional sports, contracts are public knowledge with regard to salary, duration, bonuses and restrictive clauses. What prevents the publication of eSports contracts is the lack of collective bargaining between players unions, ownership and the leagues in which players play.

Um, no. Not really.

The sporting press learns of the details of player contracts by working insider contacts for said details. Please find me where a repository of actual player contracts can be found for any major sport, or where it says in a collective bargaining agreement that player contracts are to be made public, and I’ll eat this post. The press pieces together the picture from drips, drabs, and drops – sometimes information is deliberately leaked or disclosed to fuel coverage about a trade or acquisition – and they report on that.

The most baffling twist of the entire writeup is in this quote as well, where it appears we’re headed straight to the core of the issue – zero player body cohesion and the complete lack of governing bodies – but instead we make a sharp left into a tragically limp argument about how transformative it would be if only we knew what everyone made.

If that were somehow the case, then other magical things could happen like free agency periods, the piece continues, that the teams would just shrug their shoulders and go along with, written in as a supposedly obvious side effect of public compensation data. Oh, and it would also bring a sense of parity to games that adopted it too, somehow. This is literally the path this piece carves, actual supporting arguments be damned.

The biggest benefit of publically accessible contracts would be a universal free agency period. If StarCraft II had a free agency period between December and January when contracts were set to expire and there were not many tournaments, it would be a great opportunity for new teams to form super teams and become power players in the scene. Currently, major paradigm shifts are not possible as teams have to wait throughout the year for numerous player contracts to expire and sign players one at a time. Conversely, this will also make it so that teams have a harder time holding onto players who have outperformed their contracts during the year.

Why that phenomenon would occur is left to the imagination of the reader.

It may not be possible for a team to assemble a super team once players realize their implicit value, but that won’t necessarily be a bad thing. There will still be elite competition spread throughout several teams who are willing to pay top dollar for top talent. This distribution of talent makes for more equal teams, but also means the teams that try to create super teams will eventually suffer financially and wither away.

Right, what?

Sure, the point about being able to gauge your own ‘market value’ as a player becomes easier if you know what others are pulling down. But, as it is, teams don’t give a shiny shit about that; and why should they? Why would team managers volunteer those details? Inside knowledge has always been power in this scene, it will continue to be, and teams aren’t going to hop on board with such a thing unless they’re left with no other choice.

The gamers’ collective inability to band together for mutual advancement is the actual problem. Solve that bit and the whole deal with figuring out your relative worth as a player becomes far easier once you’ve established some core principles and ground rules for contracts as a collective of players dealing with teams. Until then, both the notions of compensation transparency and the painfully contrived free agency period as they’re described in this piece are complete fantasies.

If it’s legitimacy you seek, then form a proper player organization and seize it. All conversations about scene transformations are moot unless that’s addressed.

It’s a shame really, because this piece is well crafted by someone who does have an actual grasp on the English language, and it’s published on IGN; the core premise of it doesn’t pass any test at all, really.

So, back to the head nodding, shall we? This piece had been bandied about twitter all afternoon, by some of whom were seen earlier this week dancing around the scorched remains of OrangeMilkis after making claims that Korean-style esports associations can and should be established globally. How is that magical thinking and this isn’t?