IM羺-Inplay Matrix Definitive source for everything esports business Wed, 24 Nov 2021 15:53:51 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 IM羺-Inplay Matrix 32 32 Metafy announces acquisition of GamersRdy /2021/11/metafy-announces-gamersrdy-acquisition/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=metafy-announces-gamersrdy-acquisition Wed, 24 Nov 2021 15:53:51 +0000 /?p=75639 Esports and gaming coaching platform Metafy has announced the acquisition of its former competitor GamersRdy

According to the release, the purchase is aligned with both company’s mission to ‘help players improve at the games they love through coaching, training and development’. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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(IM羺 Illustration) Image credit: Metafy / GamersRdy

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As a result of the purchase, GamersRdy Owner and Head of Experience Alex Gilmore will transition to the role of Product Manager. In his new role, Gilmore will be responsible for helping build ‘the future and growth of asynchronous learning and coaching’. 

Josh Fabian, Metafy Co-Founder and CEO, spoke on the announcement: “I’m so impressed with the coaching team and community Alex has curated at GamersRdy. Metafy has a lock on the best Super Smash Bros coaching in the world, and we’ll be able to say the same for Rocket League by bringing GamersRdy’s talent into the fold. 

“Just like our students, we’re constantly asking ourselves how we can be better, and we’re all excited to move forward together and continue growing.”

Metafy will also welcome GamersRdy’s roster of more than 100 coaches, allowing the company to expand its live-learning content offerings.

Launched in 2018, GamersRdy offers coaching for multiple titles, including Rocket League, Fortnite, Valorant and CS:GO. The company’s revenues reportedly skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing by over 120 percent in six months.

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Gilmore commented: “The decision to join Metafy was an important one. I was keen on using the experience I had built up with GamersRdy, but I wanted to make sure that Metafy had the same aspirations and care towards our coaches and community as I had.

“It was through my conversations with Josh that I realised how ultimately, this would genuinely benefit our coaches, creators and students, enabling them to join a community with bigger growth aspirations while retaining the closeness we’ve already built amongst each other.”

IM羺-Inplay Matrix says: Given both platforms’ increasing popularity, it only makes sense for the companies to join forces, resulting in wider coverage of esports coaching. With both companies’ missions being aligned, the entities are likely to be more successful as partners rather than competition. 

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IM羺-Inplay Matrix debuts four esports business-focused content newsletters /2021/11/esi-new-newsletters/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=esi-new-newsletters Wed, 24 Nov 2021 12:55:00 +0000 /?p=75627 Unveiled live to the 350+ attendees of November’s IM羺 London conference, IM羺-Inplay Matrix has revealed four new content identities and opened signups for its accompanying newsletters.

Each newsletter will focus on specific areas within IM羺’s global esports business and industry coverage.

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RELATED: The best lines & lessons from IM羺 London’s panel tracks

The new newsletters join the long-standing IM羺 Dispatch, the twice-weekly newsletter spotlighting top stories, and all the latest business news, and updates from around the esports industry worldwide.

The new identities are:

  • Angels & Unicorns — The latest esports investment, mergers & acquisitions news and related features.
  • In Play — Key stories and analysis solely focused on the intersection of esports and gambling.
  • Heat Map — Big picture perspectives on trending topics in esports business, showcasing voices from around the industry.
  • The Dotted Line — Coverage of the latest brand activations, commercial partnerships, and sponsorships in the esports space.

Angels & Unicorns, In Play, and The Dotted Line brands subtly debuted as branded panel tracks at IM羺 London. Check out the key take aways the best lines & lessons from the conference for more.

The new content brands and newsletters represent a new chapter for the organisation as IM羺-Inplay Matrix looks to bolster its  content offerings in 2022. Following the announcement of IM羺’s Major event schedule, the company is poised to further increase its lead as the go-to platform for esports business. Not only as an invaluable resource of happenings in the industry, but also as facilitator of business opportunities across the globe, both physically and digitally.

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IM羺-Inplay Matrix Co-Founder & MD, Sam Cooke commented: “The four new newsletters have been a long term realisation of team-wide considerations and debate. As such, we’re all excited to see them come to be! The topics, and indeed the names, are the product of ample discussion so we hope people like them and that they help to serve, better educate and inform those in and around the industry.”

The first batch of the newsletters will be dispatched over the December holidays, offering year-in-review thoughts, forward-looking perspectives, and insights from some of the top voices in the industry. 

Subscribe to the new newsletters on the brand new sign up page.

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BLAST Rising unveils LATAM expansion /2021/11/blast-rising-latam-expansion/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=blast-rising-latam-expansion Wed, 24 Nov 2021 12:00:13 +0000 /?p=75617 BLAST Rising, an online CS:GO series hosted by tournament organiser BLAST, has expanded into the Latin American (LATAM) region.

As a result, the third BLAST Rising tournament will feature 16 invited teams from the region competing for $15,000 (~£11,224) in prize money.

Image credit: BLAST Rising

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The tournament will be organised by gaming agency Fantasyexpo, a licensee for the Polish broadcasting rights of BLAST Premier. The tournament will officially commence on November 30th, with the teams competing expected to be revealed soon. 

Andrew Haworth, Commissioner for BLAST Premier and Director of Operations & Production at BLAST, spoke on the expansion in a release: “After the success of the first two European-based BLAST Rising tournaments, we’re delighted to be able to expand into the LATAM region and give teams in South America a platform to compete and impress.

“We’ve seen in the past that when teams succeed in this event the opportunities in BLAST Premier and other tier one tournaments will follow. We witnessed this with a number of teams over the last 12 months including Copenhagen Flames and Endpoint. The LATAM region has some of the most talented and passionate players in the world and we’re excited at the prospect of increasing opportunities for teams to compete and develop.”

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In addition to highlighting LATAM-based teams, the organisers will collaborate with local commentators to broadcast the tournament in multiple languages to support up-and-coming talent from across the world.

Adrian Blaszczyk, Gaming Project Manager at Fantasyexpo, added: “BLAST Rising by Fantasyexpo is the result of our many years of cooperation with BLAST. The main goal of the tournament is to build a space for teams outside the top teams to show off. I’m excited to discover more regions – in this case, the LATAM region, which currently has the largest community!”

IM羺-Inplay Matrix says: After the first two BLAST Rising tournaments focused on European talent, the third edition will act as a great platform for those in the LATAM region to showcase their skills to a wider audience.

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Pokimane and American Video Game League launch $100,000 scholarship /2021/11/pokimane-avgl-scholarship/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=pokimane-avgl-scholarship Wed, 24 Nov 2021 10:31:05 +0000 /?p=75612 Collegiate production company the American Video Game League (AVGL) has partnered with content creator Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys to launch a $100,000 (~£74,768) scholarship for students involved in gaming and esports. 

The partnership will see both parties donate $50,000 (~£37,389), with the amount divided among 10 winners who will receive $10,000 (~£7,477) each in scholarship money.  

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Pictured: Imane ‘Pokimane’ Anys

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Moreover, AVGL will donate an additional $50,000 for the winners of the scholarship, which is meant to help students pay their college tuition. 

Anys spoke on the announcement: “With both of my parents being teachers, I’m especially proud to be launching another scholarship to help students with a gaming passion. 

“I know firsthand that it’s not easy to balance schoolwork and a gaming career. I hope that this scholarship will alleviate that stress for aspiring gaming content creators and players.” 

Applications for the scholarship are open until December 31st. Winners will be revealed in early February 2022.  

According to the release, this marks the third scholarship Anys has created. Last year, she donated $50,000 to UCI Esports to fund an annual scholarship for students involved in gaming and esports. Furthermore, she’s supposedly funding scholarships for STEM students through the STEM Advantage Program. 

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RELATED: University of Kentucky launches Erin Ashley Simon Esports Internship Fund

Anys also recently co-founded talent management and brand consulting company RTS, where she serves as its Chief Creative Officer. RTS’s goal is to ‘fix what is broken’ when it comes to talent management and brand partnerships in the gaming and esports industry.

IM羺-Inplay Matrix says: It’s great to see big streamers such as Pokimane give back to their community and contribute to the growth of the industry while also helping aspiring talent. 

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Enthusiast Gaming acquires U.GG for $45m /2021/11/enthusiast-gaming-acquires-ugg/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=enthusiast-gaming-acquires-ugg Wed, 24 Nov 2021 10:00:23 +0000 /?p=75598 Toronto-based media and content platform Enthusiast Gaming has announced the acquisition of Outplayed, the parent company of League of Legends statistics and data visualisation service U.GG.

The total consideration is approximately $45m (~£33.6m) in cash and stock, which will be paid at closing and through a schedule of deferred payments. The acquisition also includes earnouts of potentially up to $12m (~£8.6m), subject to certain performance milestones being achieved within a two-year period.

Enthusiast Gaming
Image credit: Enthusiast Gaming

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Adrian Montgomery, CEO of Enthusiast Gaming, stated: “League of Legends is one of the biggest games in the world, and U.GG is one of the game’s largest fan communities and stats sites. 

“Financially, the Acquisition is accretive and integrates very well within our existing business model, adding new media availability and opportunities for our direct sales team, proprietary content, and subscription offerings. Shinggo, Alan, and the U.GG team have built something special, and we are excited to welcome them to the Enthusiast Gaming family.”

According to the release, the purchase price is comprised of:

i) $7.5m (~£5.6m) in cash paid on closing

ii) the issuance of 5.2m common shares of Enthusiast Gaming with an approximate value of $20.6m (~£15.3m), and 

iii) two deferred payments of $8.5m (~£6.4m) each, payable on the first and second anniversaries of the closing date, which may be settled in cash or common shares at the option of Enthusiast Gaming

IM羺 Digital Winter 2021RELATED: Enthusiast Gaming unveils Coldplay collaboration

The earnouts are comprised of two payments of $6m (~£4.5m) each which may be settled in cash or common shares at the option of Enthusiast Gaming.

Shinggo Lu, Founder & CEO of U.GG, added: “We are excited to join Enthusiast Gaming as we continue building a go-to destination for League of Legends fans. Alan and I would like to thank the Sixers Innovation Lab for being an integral part of our success to date.

“We are ready for the next part of our entrepreneurial journey alongside some of the brightest players in gaming and esports.”

IM羺-Inplay Matrix says: Enthusiast Gaming is pushing its brand across a range of platforms and the acquisition of Outplayed is another beneficial addition to its growing portfolio. It will be interesting to see how the company will take advantage of the LoL franchise through U.GG, which is now also expanding to mainstream media.

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G2 Esports names New Era as exclusive headwear partner /2021/11/g2-esports-new-era/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=g2-esports-new-era Wed, 24 Nov 2021 09:20:44 +0000 /?p=75593 European esports organisation G2 Esports has named North American headwear company New Era as its exclusive headwear partner.

As a result of the deal, the two parties have joined forces to release a cap and beanie collection.

Image credit: G2 Esports, New Era

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New Era becomes the third fashion brand to join G2 Esports’ commercial portfolio, joining the likes of Adidas and Ralph Lauren. The deal also marks the company’s third foray into esports, having produced apparel for Mercedes-AMG Petronas Esports and Bombers, owned by Essendon Football Club.

Carlos ‘ocelote’ Rodriguez, CEO of G2 Esports, spoke on the partnership in a release: “New Era is number one in headwear. G2 is number one in gaming. If that’s not a match made in heaven, I don’t know what is. Let’s have some fun.”

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With New Era on its roster, G2 Esports houses a total of 20 partners on its roster, ranging from energy drink brand Red Bull to NFT solutions provider Bondly, which signed a multi-year deal with the organisation to produce a range of NFT.

Laurence Joslin, Brand Director EMEA of New Era, added: “New Era has been synonymous with sports for over a century, so a partnership with G2 is a natural as a leader in their field, as we navigate new platforms and audiences.”

IM羺-Inplay Matrix says: Esports and fashion industries have been collaborating for some time, so it’s no surprise to see New Era look to get its foot in the door by joining forces with G2 Esports, arguably one of the largest organisations in the world.

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Jesse Lingard discusses JLINGZ esports and Boost Gaming partnership /2021/11/jesse-lingard-discusses-jlingz-esports-and-boost-gaming-partnership/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=jesse-lingard-discusses-jlingz-esports-and-boost-gaming-partnership Wed, 24 Nov 2021 08:00:50 +0000 /?p=75601 Online digital gaming shop Boost Gaming has announced a partnership with JLINGZ esports, the UK-based esports organisation owned by professional footballer Jesse Lingard. 

As a result of the partnership, both entities will collaborate on a range of initiatives over the next 12 months. This includes interviews, videos, giveaways, and social media content.

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Image credit: JLINGZ esports

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In addition, Boost Gaming’s logo will be featured on JLINGZ esports’ team jerseys throughout the duration of the deal. JLINGZ esports joins North American organisation Pittsburgh Knights as a partner of the digital gaming shop.

IM羺-Inplay Matrix spoke with Lingard to discuss JLINGZ esports’ recent partnership, the organisation’s commercial ambitions and its esports goals.

“For me, it was kind of a no brainer to partner with Boost Gaming,” said the Manchester United footballer. “Our overall goal is to get the biggest and the best. The conversations were ongoing, but we finally came to an agreement and I think it’ll be a perfect match for us.”

Given that JLINGZ esports only entered the scene in August this year, Lingard went on to state that the partnership with Boost Gaming provided the organisation with more confidence from a commercial standpoint.

He said: “Esports is a big sector and now I can get in there and I can turn it into a business. Teaming up with Boost Gaming one of the biggest game brands in the world can only prolong me to do better in the future. We’ve got so many things already in the pipeline.”

Lingard also hinted that more sponsorship opportunities for the esports organisation could be coming sooner rather than later, with future plans yet to be revealed. Alongside discussing the partnership, the footballer also highlighted his ambitions to take the esports organisation to the ‘top tier’.

“Of course, you want to go out internationally and you want to be top tier, but you have got to start somewhere,” said Lingard. “As I have said, it’s my first time doing something like this but we’re sort of getting used to it. I trust my players to push on and in the future really get top tier. I’m competitive anyway, I’ve got to win.”

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RELATED: Manchester United’s Jesse Lingard debuts JLINGZ esports

As of this writing, JLINGZ esports currently competes in Rainbow Six Siege and FIFA 22. 

According to the press release, the partnership between Boost Gaming and JLINGZ esports is also expected to help bring the digital gaming shop ‘closer to the world of esports’. Alongside sponsoring esports entities, Boost Gaming currently operates a partner referral model with content streamers, creators and esports athletes.

Dean Douglas, Director of Boost Gaming, added: “We’re hugely passionate about serving the gaming and esports community with a secure and reliable destination for digital gift cards, in-game credits and subscriptions, and partnering with JLINGZ esports will help us to drive that message to the consumer.”

Earlier this month, JLINGZ esports secured a partnership with Australian esports organisation The Chiefs Esports Club. As well as working together to expand both brands, the entities will also develop an esports academy for aspiring players.

IM羺-Inplay Matrix says: This is quite a significant first commercial partnership by JLINGZ esports. The deal immediately highlights the value of having a well-known name at the forefront of an organisation. It’ll be interesting to see how the brand activations are integrated into JLINGZ esports and whether there will be more partnerships announced in the near future.

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Envy Gaming appoints two new Sales Directors /2021/11/envy-gaming-new-sales-directors/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=envy-gaming-new-sales-directors Tue, 23 Nov 2021 16:58:16 +0000 /?p=75590 North American esports organisation Envy Gaming has appointed two new Directors of Sales.

Katie Kristiansen and Kenneth Trader are set to join Envy immediately and will work to drive new revenue opportunities and develop brand partnerships nationally and locally.

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Image credit: Kenneth Trader and Katie Kristiansen / Envy Gaming (IM羺 Illustration)

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Both team members will report to Erin Schendle, Senior Vice President of Sales, who joined Envy earlier this year alongside Eric Duncan.

Most recently, Kenneth Trader worked at payroll services company TriNet. Meanwhile, Katie Kristiansen was previously at Hashtag Sports and has worked with brands such as Canva and Budweiser.

Erin Schendle, Senior Vice President of Sales, commented: “Katie and Ken are bringing experience and valuable leadership to our team as we diversify what we have to offer to partners and brands with OpTic, Envy, the Dallas Fuel, a live events business, a growing creator network that spans lifestyle content and gaming, and more all under one roof.”

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RELATED: Envy Gaming recruits Eric Duncan and Erin Schendle to marketing team

Earlier this month, the Texas-based esports organisation announced that it had merged with OpTic Gaming. Envy and OpTic Gaming current;y field teams in a number of esports titles, including Call of Duty, Overwatch, Rocket League, VALORANT, and Halo. The two merged parties also field a range of influencers and content creators.

Envy Gaming’s currently commercial portfolio includes the likes of GameStop, Elgato, SCUG and Predator, among others. 

IM羺-Inplay Matrix says: Hot on the heels of the recent merger with OpTic, Envy is making big steps in strengthening its sales team. The organisation is sure to hire even more team members as it looks to establish itself further within North America.

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Greater Copenhagen partners with Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas /2021/11/greater-copenhagen-astralis-nip-partnership/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=greater-copenhagen-astralis-nip-partnership Tue, 23 Nov 2021 16:07:48 +0000 /?p=75579 Growth and development collaborative organisation Greater Copenhagen has announced a partnership with esports organisations Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas.

As a part of the deal, Greater Copenhagen’s official investment promotion agencies, Copenhagen Capacity and Invest in Skåne, have launched a campaign that aims to showcase games development career opportunities in the region. 

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Image credit: Greater Copenhagen

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According to the release, the deal seeks to help drive game development talent to the region. 

Steen Laursen, Director of Communications of Astralis, commented: “Greater Copenhagen is home to some of the most passionate esports fans and phenomenal CS:GO players so we are proud to support Greater Copenhagen and promote our homeland to ensure we attract the best talent for our colleagues in the gaming- and tech companies.” 

As per the agreement, Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas will collaborate on the campaign and represent Greater Copenhagen in its comprising areas — Eastern Denmark and Southern Sweden. Moreover, both organisations will support the campaign by driving awareness to Greater Copenhagen’s career portal through its social media channels.

Asbjørn Overgaard, CEO of Copenhagen Capacity, spoke on the announcement: “We have a number of fantastic game companies based in Greater Copenhagen which means ample career opportunities in the sector, but our talent pool is limited. Denmark has no official game development education and without the infrastructure, local companies are not sourcing the experienced candidates they need. 

“Therefore, we need to bring in new experienced game developers to the region, in order to help them grow. By partnering with two internationally recognised esports teams, Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas, who have a global esports network and fanbase, we’re hoping to showcase the opportunities on offer for talent around the world to see.” 

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RELATED: Ninjas in Pyjamas secures GamerPay partnership

The campaign kicked off one day ahead of the Blast Premier Fall Final CS:GO tournament, Denmark’s biggest esports event and BLAST’s first LAN event in over 20 months. Greater Copenhagen is among the official partners of the tournament. 

Michael Tidebäck, Director of Strategic Projects of Ninjas in Pyjamas, stated: “We might be competitors with Astralis on stage but off stage, we are happy to join forces to put Greater Copenhagen on the map for gaming. We want to see our countries thrive and ensure local gaming companies have the resources to grow.” 

IM羺-Inplay Matrix says: Despite being rivals on stage, it’s good to see Astralis and Ninjas in Pyjamas, some of the most prominent esports organisations in Europe, join forces in support of a good cause. Given that both organisations are from the region, it only makes sense for Greater Copenhagen to sign both of them to showcase career opportunities in the Nordic region. 

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Hitmarker MD Richard Huggan discusses banning unpaid work /2021/11/hitmarker-bans-unpaid-work/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=hitmarker-bans-unpaid-work Tue, 23 Nov 2021 15:51:05 +0000 /?p=75552 On 22nd November, esports and gaming jobs board Hitmarker moved to ban unpaid work on its platform.

Starting immediately, unpaid and commission-only roles will no longer be allowed on the site. The move aims to stamp out unfair and illegal employment practices and crack down on companies looking to exploit free or low-paid labour in the industry.

Hitmarker Esports Jobs in 2019
Image credit: Hitmarker

Speaking to IM羺-Inplay Matrix, Hitmarker’s Managing Director, Richard Huggan, explained the rationale behind the company’s decision: “When we first launched, there was just an acceptance that volunteer work was a massive part of the industry. 

“If we didn’t have volunteer jobs, we would have had handfuls of opportunities there wouldn’t have been much on the platform. People expected to see volunteer opportunities because that was the way people tended to get into the space.

“But after four years, what I’ve found is that and I’m not exaggerating 99 percent of volunteer roles that are posted don’t really have any value to the people applying to them. It tends to be bedroom organisations typically based out of the US where it’s illegal to hire volunteers for a for-profit company. So we were already skirting legal issues by allowing them on the platform.”

Huggan added: “To me, the net positive of removing them is much greater than the net negative. The negative is you are cutting off some opportunities for people, but if 99 percent of the opportunities aren’t great anyway and aren’t worth people’s time, then there’s no great loss there.”

The esports industry is seen to have a notorious reliance on low and unpaid work, with the industry’s young age and size cited as common reasons for tolerating the controversial practice. 

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“We aren’t powerful enough to have [unpaid work] eliminated completely from the industry,” Huggan said. “But I think we’ve grown to a size where removing it does have a significant positive impact, so that’s why I think now’s the right time to do it.”

He continued: “Just because we’re removing it from our platform, doesn’t mean that it disappears because unfortunately there’s just no money in the lower end of the scene. But it’s a simple fact of, we do not or will not advocate for this on our platform anymore.

“If you need to rely on volunteers to run your business, you do not have a viable business model and you should not be in business.”

Hitmarker additionally dropped support for email and internal applications in a bid to improve the job application process for candidates. According to the company’s blog post, this is because individuals often experience little or no communication from hiring companies via email.

The move was met with an outpouring of support on social media. Esports personality Jake Lucky, G2’s Head of Content Karina Ziminaite, and nonprofit Women In Games International were amongst those to publicly praise the decision on Twitter.

Huggan concluded: “In 2021 with the world the way it is, I think the least we can strive for is that if people are doing a job or task or project for a private for-profit company, they should be entitled to share some of that profit and revenue.”


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