Counter Strike Players’ Association Forms With Broad Player Support
At the end of June, 90 top CS:GO competitors came together to form the Counter-Strike Professional Players’ Association (CSPPA). This marks the first truly independent players association in all of esports, as League of Legends’ LCS Players Association was launched by Riot and is only slowly moving towards full independence.
The association was set up by CS:GO thought leader/community organizer Scott “SirScoots” Smith in collaboration with the ‘Danish Elite Athletes Association’ and features a group of top players as it’s governing board: Astralis’ “Xyp9x”, Team Liquid’s “Taco” and “Elige”, Cloud9’s “Tarik”, Mousesports’ “ChrisJ”, G2’s “NBK” and “n0thing”, formerly of Cloud9. The board will need to be confirmed by the remaining members of the association within the first year of operation.
Well done, fellas. This is an important step for pro gamers, who should aim to unify in order to create a more equal balance of power between all stakeholders. Specifically, this is a watershed moment for CS:GO competitors, who have previously clashed publically with team owners.
In 2016, when a slew of PEA teams decided that their Counter Strike squads had to give up competing in one of their favorite legacy leagues, “SirScoots” published an open letter on the players behalf arguing that the team owners had deceived them and treated them unfairly.
While it’s safe to assume that the owners had legal grounds to dictate where their teams play, Scoots argued that the players had been told otherwise, which led to a miscommunication of epic proportions, launched the now famous #PlayersRights movement on Twitter, and forced an embarrassing come-to-jesus-moment for team owners.
My hope is that through the newly formed PA, a situation like that never happens again while also ensuring that players understand — ahead of time — their contractual obligations. This industry can only win long-term if there’s accountability on both sides.
The CSPPA’s main objective, according to the HLTV announcement, is to “help players with legal advice and assist them in signing contracts with teams and organizations, as well as become the collective voice of the players in CS:GO and an important stakeholder in the industry”. Professional associations are necessary to help the players have a unified voice, create standard working conditions, and implement structures that ensure labor is not taken advantage of — all issues that have been problematic at one point or another in esports over the past few years.
While most of the important minutiae about the PA has not yet been revealed, the professionalization of labor in esports — especially within a game ecosystem lacking significant publisher involvement — should ultimately lead to tangible benefits for the players. Equally interesting, though, is how those changes affect teams, leagues, and the competitive CS:GO community at large.
Without the players, esports would be nothing – watching bots play just doesn’t quite seem as interesting as seeing CSGod S1mple guide NaVi to tournament championships. Ultimately, my biggest hope is that the CS:GO PA will create better working relationships between teams and players so that both sides can prosper together for the foreseeable future, and that we, the fans, can continue to be entertained.
Twitch and the Livestreaming War
As the race for influencers and mindshare heats up for livestreaming platforms, Twitch’s market dominance is coming under increasing pressure from rivals and some say even its own top-tier streamers.
Can Twitch Creators Leave The Platform to Create The Next Twitch?
- Rich-get-richer stream discovery ranked by popularity
- Oversaturation of the platform by creators
- Community guidelines/moderation (this is the best point of attack for blockchain-powered rivals, IMO, though personally I think sensible moderation is a good thing)