Jess Colwill, January 6, 2017

PEA Counter-Strike Players Choose ESL Pro League

The controversy surrounding Counter-Strike: GO players’ rights to choose which tournaments to compete at has come to a head today. Players from six of the seven Professional Esports Association (PEA) teams have voted unanimously to forego the PEA League in favor of the ESL Pro League (EPL).

In a statement from the players’ chosen representative, Scott “SirScoots” Smith, it was announced that members of Cloud9, Counter Logic Gaming, Immortals, NRG Esports, Team Liquid and Team SoloMid believe their future is better served participating in the EPL.

“They [the players] would have made more money, more quickly and easily, with less challenging competition, had they chose the PEA,” the statement reads. “This was one of the PEA’s primary pitch points, but to most of the players, it was actually a cause for concern.

“As a professional gamer, so much of your livelihood depends on how you connect with your community. This happens in a variety of ways, including social media, live streaming, and other content, and of course playing in top-tier competitions with many fans watching.

“The players mostly felt that going with the PEA’s proposal would be a step in the wrong direction in these regards.

“The PEA’s structure as it was proposed to the players would give its member teams an unprecedented amount of power and market control. EPL’s structure as it was presented is more open, balanced, and in line with the philosophy that esports should be treated as its own industry and not forced into traditional sports models.

“Ultimately, this was a major factor in the players choosing EPL. Don’t get me wrong: EPL is not perfect (and certainly neither is WESA), but at this point, it was the far less concerning of the two options.”

Andy 'Reginald' Dinh dismisses Sean Gares regarding Players Rights

The statement also makes mention of the team owners attempt to circumvent SirScoots as a representative, using their familiarity and position to pressure players into privately standing down - Andy “Reginald” Dinh’s dismissal of Sean Gares being the prime example.

“Some team owners did not initially respect the players’ requests to have dialogue go through me. Some team owners approached their players one-on-one in a way that made the players uncomfortable. Most notably, one player [Sean Gares] was outright removed from his team due to his participation in the open letter.”

As a result of losing what amounts to most of their CS:GO players to an unnecessary ultimatum they put in place, the PEA is expected to withdraw from the Counter-Strike theater “indefinitely.” In the end, SirScoots put it best: “Being able to ‘choose’ between two options that are not mutually exclusive is an illusion, not actual freedom of choice.”

We’ll keep you posted as more develops.

Jess Colwill

Jess is a writer and dog-lover from the eastern coast of Australia, who loves playing games (particularly anything by BioWare), listening to metal, baking, and fostering rescue dogs while they wait for new homes. You can find her on Twitter at @notsocryptic.