Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Korean "Pro Gamers"

If you have read the articles and news reports about "pro" Starcraft start to to realize that these gamers are rewarded for their skill and dedication with...spartan rooms, no time to enjoy the fruits of their labor, and really frigging low salaries. Their corporate sponsors control what they do, who they are with, and where they live. Only like 0.1% have anywhere near a comparable reward for the amount of time and talent invested. And they can't agitate for change because there are so many who would want to take their place. They sign these contracts without full awareness of the fact they also not just sign any equitable working condition away but that they are also signing away the RIGHTS TO THEIR OWN LIKENESSES! They do not recieve royalty or fees on the usage of their likenesses. Sure they may recieve a one time fee but no royalties from the corporate overlord who will continually bank on the marketability of their likeness.

They are being exploited and all the power resides in the management. This reminds me of professional sports in the US before players unionized. Time for a player's association to represent the players in contract talks here in Korea. Or just bring player agents into this to represent their best interests and counter conditions like this.

I think Fatality is a good model for how pro-gamers should be able to control their own brand. I think the Korean system is a nightmare to emulate abroad and am glad that many of the gaming leagues elsewhere don't. Maybe its time that foreign sponsors with completely different ways of treating their players, more open conditions and more lucrative contracts should come in and lure players away.

It just depresses me that essentially these kids have become machines who essentially have the love of the game stripped away from them. Watch them when they play. There. is. no. joy.

Watch Garnett when he plays basketball, watch TO when he scores a touchdown, watch Tiger Woods when he hits the hole in one. Games can be compelling. can be fun. But there needs to be joy somewhere. Hell just watch the AVA or the CS clone game leagues ( let me roll my eyes at Sudden Attack and Special Forces...nice to see that blatant lack of even improving on teh source is rewarded)...there is joy there and a spririt of fun not present in the Starleagues.

These pro game leagues are in ways marketing tools. But when your marketing tool is ONLY about competition and not about the joy of playing the game. Well. Something's wrong.

1 comment:

Emily said...

thanks for sharing this one :)