The past 36 hours have seen a lot of debate about players' rights and the future of Counter-Strike as an esport. Since we have only had limited opportunity to speak face-to-face with people in the community - players, casters, commentators, analysts, observers, fans, organizers - we thought it would make sense to address this from our perspective.
Firstly, I want to point to our mission statement at RFRSH, which navigates how we individually and collectively make decisions in RFRSH every day:
"Our mission is to deliver the greatest moments in esports - for the fans, the players and the brands. Together we will advance esports from a sub-culture phenomena to the recognition of a mass audience."
Secondly, let's put a nail in the coffin: As Frederik Byskov of Astralis points out, RFRSH doesn't have any authority to limit the teams affiliated from participating in any leagues or tournaments. Indeed, since our founding this summer, we have contractually built wording into our agreements so that neither we nor anyone else can:
Note1: Yes, we laugh a bit at our wording, but we believe staunchly in human-readable agreements, thus the use of words like 'stuff'
Note2: We are not targeting WESA or PEA specifically as we have no idea what their agreements include.
However, we firmly believe in choice for everyone - players, fans, teams and sponsors.
The more subtle, but equally important, long-term issue raised by people like Richard Lewis, is creating better entertainment for the fans and spectators. Let's face it, if we're not able to do so, we will not be able to continue to grow CS:GO healthily and fulfil its promises of rivaling other entertainment sports.
As per our mission statement, our objective is to build the best possible product for the fans, the players and the brands. Tournaments, leagues and how they are played are a core product, which only makes it natural that its core to anyone involved in the scene, ourselves included. At the Majors qualifier in Atlanta earlier this month, we started speaking with players and talent (casters, commentators and analysts) about the issues at hand, and how they can be addressed. We are not venturing into this business for the sake of a land-grab, but only if we believe that we can create a more enjoyable product for everyone involved while addressing some of the systematic issues like oversaturation.
Esports - not just Counter-Strike - is unique in that it is founded, not as an invention of mass media, but growing organically from a culture of internet sharing where no one was limited by platforms or formats but could broadcast to the world with a computer and an internet connection. Let's not believe that we can lock each other down through artificial structures, but address the real issues at hand for the fans, for the players and for the brands.
GG and Happy Holidays.
- Nikolaj and the RFRSH Entertainment team
Ps. Please feel free to reach out to us with questions and comments and we'll do our best to answer. My Twitter @nikolaj is open for DMs, but considering that we just kicked off xmas with the family, please have patience with response times over the next days.