There’s apparently some confusion as to what I mean by an ‘association’ in relation to gaming. Very well, what it is not:

  • the ‘AGP’ or Association of Gaming Professionals. This really boiled down to a Quake-focused league with no backing to speak of, that featured nominally important votes held for members on minor operational details. It was apparently a registered LLC - an important distinction, since you can’t ‘vote’ the owner of a privately owned corporation off the island.
  • ‘ESEA’ or the Esports Entertainment Association. The only member control exhibited here are the ridiculous popularity contests that sometimes decide divisional promotions. Here, Torbull runs the show with lpkane as his right-hand-man, and that’s that.
  • the ‘G7 Teams.’ I’m not sure there’s a need to expound on that.

Those are (or were, as the case may be) associations in name alone.

What I’m looking for is an unincorporated association governed by a set of bylaws, with a scope limited to a specific series of games. Such a member-driven organization would be able to, for once, effectively operate along the following vectors:

  • advocate for individual gamers in cases of wrongdoing or missing prizes.
  • unify rulesets and styles of play across leagues.
  • provide a means of linking disparate prize circuits together in a cohesive way (see PGA, ATP…).
  • select and maintain control over true community representatives to lead a game’s community and be its public face.
  • advocate for the interests of the game’s competitive community with the game’s developer.
  • spearhead the organization of more localized sub-scenes with the purpose of spreading the game and making the scene larger rather than grabbing more prize money
  • establish criteria for ‘licensed professional’ status

Why would such an entity be able to do all that? Because a player association would literally pile up the collective weight of an entire scene and bring it to bear on any given area that needs improvement, in a way that the gamers’ last resort of choice, the online petition, can never do. Unification would give a scene teeth.

In the past, all of the above has been attempted in an ad-hoc method that is generally ineffective as well as generally frustrating for those that attempt to pick a given community up on its shoulder and carry it forward. A player-based association for a game has generally one unbrella purpose: to give the player population of a particular game a concrete means of having their interests taken seriously and met.

That’s what I’m talking about, and I don’t see why there’s any reason not to get one in place for any game widely played today. If the players of a defunct card game can get their fucking act together, we can.