The esports scene in India has been growing manifold over the past few years. While the industry is witnessing greater heights, it is also becoming a lucrative arena for business operations. Investments, takeovers, acquisitions, new organisations, partnerships, sponsorships, player contracts are now part and parcel of this budding industry.
With more significant business opportunities come greater risks and vulnerabilities to the stakeholders of the industry. One such group of stakeholders that stand at greater vulnerabilities are the esports players. Esports players can safely be called the soul of the industry. However, the young players are often exposed to unfair practices for several reasons, lack of awareness and the unregulated nature of the industry. The need for a standalone body that could protect the players’ interests was indeed the need of the hour. That’s precisely why EPWA stepped in.
The recently launched Esports Players Welfare Association (EPWA), is a non-profit organisation whose sole objective lies in protecting and sustaining the rights of esports players in the country. The organisation provides services like career advice, creation of community, contracts, legal advice, and dispute resolution to the country’s young talent. We connected with Ritesh Nath, Founder and CEO of EPWA, to understand more about the organisation. Here’s what Nath had to share about the novel organisation and its objectives.
What was the idea behind starting EPWA?
The idea behind starting EPWA was solely to protect and safeguard every player in the esports arena, whether amateur or seasoned. Every industry has unions or communities/associations that very well put the interests and safeguard of their respective members at the forefront. On the other hand, the esports industry of India and its players who are exposed to all kinds of nuisance from time to time have no such union that would think and look after the interests of these talented players.
Is player exploitation actively happening currently in the esports industry in India?
Yes, to a large extent, this is a widespread occurrence in the esports industry. A lot of it comes down to a lack of access to credible guidance and general unawareness. Most often, players tend to be unaware of rules and regulations associated with them, which leads to them being misled and exploited.
How does EPWA plan to protect player rights and interests?
EPWA aims to be the authority when it comes to shielding the interests of esports athletes across India. We will be ensuring that the professional, legal and contractual rights of esports players in India are safeguarded thoroughly.
Can you elaborate on the need and scope of professional governance among esports players?
The future of esports in India is bright, especially due to the penetration of 4G and the subsequent surge in mobile gaming. Professional governance and structures are vital to the success of any sport; the absence of either in the esports industry in India is one of the key drivers that led to the formation of the EPWA.
As one of your major focuses is providing legal advice. Can you elaborate on that? Why is it needed and how does EPWA plan to do it?
Strong, fair and legally sound contracts are an integral part of any esports players’ career in the world, and India is no different. Professional and amateur esports players alike are bound by contracts with their teams, sponsors or in some cases tournaments as well. EPWA will offer legal services to its members to ensure these contracts are sound and fair.
Nath shared more insights about the structure of EPWA, its specialised areas, its future plans and more. Read the full interview in Gutshot’s September 2021 e-magazine. Enjoy free unlimited access to all our magazines with a simple one-time sign-up. So sign-up now if you haven’t yet and enjoy more such exclusive interviews and stories.
Amarylisa Gonsalves is a Content Writer at Gutshot Magazine. Advancing from a marketing background, she found her calling in writing. She takes delight in exploring genres and is a curious learner. Patient and ambivert, she believes in letting her work speak for itself. Apart from content writing, she finds solace in writing poetry by manifesting herself through words. Additionally, she adores indulging in drawing and DIY crafts.
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