eSports must be growing up

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On 10 May 2013, eSports grew up – Greg ‘Idra’ Fields was ‘released’ (fired?) from his StarCraft 2 team, Evil Geniuses… for going above and beyond his usual level of rude.

It all stemmed from a weird, incoherent discussion on the team forum with numerous users asking what was the point of the initial post.  It boiled down to a discussion about why Evil Geniuses (EG) was successful , and it got out of control rather quickly. Idra went beyond his usual rude behavior, and proved that he was an a$$hole (and yes, the dollar signs are actually appropriate). (WARNING, the link contains foul language.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you)

It’s important to know that Idra was always seen as a jerk in the community – wouldn’t write gg after a match, was known to rage quit and was just generally rude to other players.  However, this was part of what made Evil Geniuses a team to watch; whether you loved him or hated him, he was a unique character.  Until he crossed the line.

In his statement, Alexander Garfield (CEO of Evil Geniuses) stated

As most of you are already aware, we let our players be themselves. We believe that our industry’s diverse assortment of vibrant personalities plays a huge part in helping make eSports so much fun – for ourselves, and for the viewers. No great novel is without great characters, and we like to let our players find their own roles within the eSports storyline by showcasing the personalities they were born with. We have strict guidelines that regulate certain kinds of more extreme speech, and we take disciplinary action when those guidelines aren’t followed, but for the most part, we stay out of the way.

This is why it was never really an issue for us that Greg can be rude to his opponents in games, or that he usually speaks his mind very bluntly and directly. But, to us, there’s a very big difference between a player being disrespectful to an opponent in a ladder match, and a player being disrespectful to the entire community of people who, via their own enthusiasm and passion for the entertainment product he creates, actually make his profession possible.

The eSports industry, and companies like Evil Geniuses, would not be possible without the passion and support of our community. We, as a company, cannot and will not be supportive of anyone who does not show due respect and appreciation for the community that makes everything we do possible.

So, there is finally something of a morals clause in eSports, like there has been in athletic competitive teams.  I wonder if they’ll now start testing for doping.  But really, it is generally a good thing for a team to fire someone who insults the fans.  Without fans, EG would be nothing – I’m glad that they realized this.  It’s hard enough to garner eSports fans, harder still when players are alienating people.

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Last Updated: May 13, 2013

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Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. You can read more of my words over at www.borngeek.co.za, or just follow me on all the social networks to get the true range of my sarcasm and wit.

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