15 March 2018

Competitive gamers seek to form players associations

Michael A. Rueda
Partner | Head of US Sports and Entertainment | US

Competitive gaming has certainly come a long way from the days of privately hosted local area network (LAN) sessions. In one of the latest developments related to the explosion of eSports across the globe, recent reports indicate that competitive gamers are seeking to create players associations for professional eSports competitors. Such players associations would be akin to unions like the National Football League Players Association, National Hockey League Players Association, and others.

With a variety of gaming platforms, publishers, game titles, professional leagues, and organizers across the world, it's not clear if the fledgling players associations will be distinct, at least initially, across these categories. As these organisation efforts continue, we'll be keeping an eye on traditional labor law issues such as collectively bargained working conditions for union members; collective bargaining agreements between the players associations and their respective leagues, tournament organizers, publishers, games, etc.; standardized competitor contracts; and arbitration grievances.

Additionally, given that many popular eSports games (e.g., League of Legends, Counterstrike, and Overwatch) involve competition on a global scale, we expect that the local law of various jurisdictions will be implicated with respect to union organization, collective bargaining, and related matters.

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Michael A. Rueda Partner | Head of US Sports and Entertainment | New York

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