Was Valve’s decision regarding CSGO exclusivity correct?

by September 23, 2019 0 comments

A few weeks ago, ESL and Dreamhack announced their partnership to form the ESL One Pro Tour. The ESL One Pro tour will combine all the ESL and Dreamhack tournaments throughout the world. This pro tour will have a circuit ranking system and all of this will ultimately lead to two Masters Championships, ESL One Cologne and IEM Katowice. But there is a caveat; according to a report by Jarek “DeKay” Lewis, ESL Pro League, which is a part of the pro tour, has an exclusivity clause in their terms. Which means that teams agreeing to play in the tournament will not be able to play in other tournaments. Which leaves ECS, organized by FACEIT, out of the questions for teams participating in the Pro League. 

This is where Valve comes in. In a statement they made on their blog, they said that they would not provide licenses for tournaments that restrict teams from participating in other tournaments. This does put a dent in ESL’s plans CSGO exclusivity and the rumors about franchised leagues, like the Overwatch League (OWL). 

What does this decision regarding CSGO exclusivity mean for the future of the game? And was it the best one? 

Well, there is no definitive answer. Exclusivity would possibly have paved way for franchised leagues. Which meant revenue sharing between the teams, little to no possibility for relegation and would have provided stability. Which means more sponsors for teams and better sponsorship deals, since they love stability. This stability would have provided the players with a regular income and security. Losing a tournament wouldn’t put them, possibly, out of work. Then there is also the added benefit of lower pressure and burnout. Currently, the CSGO scene is seeing a lot of competitions throughout the year. Which means the teams have intense schedules, and due to this they have to miss out on certain events. This does take a toll on players, and the same thing seems to be happening in Dota 2 as well. 

But there are a ton of cons. For one, it will become tough for newer teams and players to break into the scene. Current CSGO structure offers many possibilities for new teams that are starting out. With the exclusivity and possible franchising, there would possibly have been high buy in fee. This means new teams would have to miss out due to lack of funds. The same thing has happened in Call of Duty, where 100Thieves, a very promising startup esports organization, decided to drop out of their franchising structure because they couldn’t afford to invest an exorbitant amount of money into it.

And then as Valve points out “this form of team exclusivity is an experiment that could cause long-term damage. In addition to preventing other operators from competing, exclusivity prevents other events from keeping the CSGO ecosystem functioning if an individual event fails.” 

In my opinion, Valve’s decision regarding CSGO is well thought out. It provides new avenues for new teams. It’s not as if the established teams and organization have a lack of money, and sponsorship in CSGO, though not exceptional, is still doing good. This might have stagnated the scene a bit, but with so many tournaments that teams have started to skip them, organisers should maybe start conducting semi-pro tournaments, which may put new life back into CSGO. 

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