As stated in the subtitle, toxic management practices will come with a cost. This is an article referring to a piece that was written by one who was mistreated, unpaid and dismissed out of hand after being employed by SEA’s eSports companies. Though this may be an article that may incite some negativity on our eSports industry – the truth is ugly and it serves as a warning to those who’d like to dip their hands into the industry.
Anthony Hodgson or known as “scantzor” was a coach in Entity Gaming Dota 2 and Mineski Dota 2, and a consultant in GESC. Like most companies, they all started out with the knowledge of what the community wants and they exploit the idea to make profits. The eSports industry is growing in the SEA region and we are getting recognized globally. However, the saying “Money makes the world go round” is as real as it is today.
Companies, or people, all want to make profits out of anything. They are willing to make changes and sacrifices to cut their losses rather than facing the repercussions of their bad decisions; and that’s just what Anthony Hodgson had experienced after a couple of years working in the Dota 2 scene of the SEA region.
Entity Gaming is an Indian eSports organization that fields CS: GO and Dota 2 teams. However, in the recent events about 2 weeks ago, the Dota 2 team was “let go” along with the coach without any severance. Do note that Anthony was not given any notice at all beforehand as companies should based on the contracts signed which is generally between 30 to 90 days. If you’ve read his article, he was initially not given severance at all in the beginning; but after some discussion the company eventually gave him a 15 day severance out of their “generosity”.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce the release of all the players who played under the Entity dota 2 roster.
The players themselves were stellar, both in terms of work ethic and in their ability to… https://t.co/DiHajVhGxZ
— Entity Gaming (@EntityGamingIND) October 16, 2018
That’s not all – as he was a foreigner (a South African) working in India, he was not given any work visa by his employers. He was working in India with a tourist visa. That just goes to show how responsible the employers are. They were lucky enough that they weren’t found out because they’d need to pay more money for the penalty. But of course, people in high places always gets their way in their own country and will probably resort to any form of corruption to resolve any issues. Of course, these are just assumptions with no concrete evidences but to those who are experienced in the real world would definitely be able to relate.
Now aside from that, his experience as a coach with Mineski Dota 2 is also not a pleasant one. Mineski is a well-known eSports organization that is actively seen in the Dota 2 competitive scene. They are one of the teams from the SEA region to make it big and continued to tell tales of their achievements globally today. However, as Anthony pursues his career in Mineski, he wasn’t prepared to be mistreated later on. Though he brought the team back on its tracks when it was on the verge of disbanding back then, after taking a short break, he was faced with a sudden change in their treatment.
When he got back, Mineski had gotten a new coach for the Dota 2 team without the courtesy of informing or discussing with Anthony. Anthony was then pushed to be the coach of their second team called Happyfeet which we all knew was not performing so well already. The team which Anthony described was not cooperative to begin with due to the language barrier (they can’t speak fluent English – despite English is a second language in the Philippines). Thus, the team was already bound to fail in the first place which Anthony could not help even if he wanted to.
Unfortunately, that’s not the end of Mineski’s mistreatment. The team was going through a restructure and some players were being “let go” while Anthony was sent to a new accommodation. That was when his true nightmare begun. The place which Mineski had moved him to was primarily an office for Mineski’s accounting department. Granted there were rooms up stairs for staying, but there were no flushing toilets, no basic kitchen equipment and no drinkable water at all. The place was not the cleanest which was infested with roaches and mosquitoes. That’s not really a place one would want to stay is it?
In spite of his efforts to complain to Mineski’s HR, they were turned a deaf ear and was even told directly that he was being a “demanding foreigner”. Well that’s no way to treat your employee is it? However, that’s also one hand that Mineski can play because there was no contract which can attest to Anthony Hodgson’s employment under Mineski. This was due to the failed renewal of Anthony’s contract. It wasn’t because Mineski did not provide Anthony any contract at all, but a contract was not signed because an incorrect contract was presented to him every single time he asked for a renewal.
Do you read your contract before signing it? If you do, then it’s only logical for Anthony to not sign the contract when he found something amiss. He had spent half a year trying to get a contract renewal but he was not given the right one, ever. This is purely based on my own speculation from what he had described but, it seems that Mineski is pulling off all these cheap tricks to keep their hands free from any contracts that would result them in loss than profit. With the final push on having him stay in an un-homely house, Anthony finally called it quits and left the toxic organization. There is more to his personal experience in Mineski.
Because he was a coach, a position of mentorship and a teacher, he has the responsibility of taking care of his team. However, Mineski isn’t doing so well in taking care of their employees. Even though Mineski is such a well known and huge organization with plenty of sponsors and investors, the players were only paid a minuscule wage of 8000 PHP (150 USD) per month. Anthony tried to raise their pay to at least 300 USD (16000 PHP), which they did for a while until Anthony’s dismissal and they reversed it.
Now with GESC, also known as Global Electronic Sports Championship, was also an experience which Anthony has expressed regret in having his time spent there but was not compensated with any repayment up till to date. GESC is an eSports organization that organizes eSports events which went successfully well for their latest one held in May 2018, the Dota 2 Pro Circuit minor in Thailand. However, after that event, there was no news on their official page, official Facebook page nor their Twitter. It seems that investors had pulled out during the very last minute after all the events were planned. That means, GESC is now owing tons of money towards their employees and other organizations that helped made their event a success. Anthony was one of the victims even though he was hired as a consultant in GESC.
Anthony knew the CEO, Oskar Feng, personally and trusted his vision and motive leading GESC the right direction. However as cruel as the business world can be, the company’s downfall now was not entirely Oskar’s fault. He was getting sealing the deals with investors and trying to maintain the relationship, but unfortunately some investors did not trust Oskar as how Anthony trusted him which resulted in last minute pull outs and GESC owing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Oskar was also the victim of the instability of the SEA eSports industry.
Anthony made a point that despite having a contract with a reliable person or working in a well known organization, the instability of the SEA esports industry does not provide one with security. Albeit it is growing bigger by the moment, it’s still not stable enough unlike the West. All these experiences addressed isn’t giving our SEA eSports industry a name which I hope the people in power, who holds a position in their organization, to make a change.
We have seen a Singaporean eSports organization called Resurgence who’s not afraid to break that culture. Within 2 years, the team has made progress and winning titles in the global eSports scene. They have built a safe haven for their employees and they even pay their players because they understand that the players are young and being an eSports athlete is a job like any other sports athlete.
So here’s a shout out to Resurgence’s CEO, Jayf Soh, for setting a great example in the SEA eSports region.
For whatever action, decision or mistreatment made, please always remind yourself that these are human beings as well and they have a voice. The organization’s achievements is made possible due to the collective efforts of the employees. Without their contributions, CEO or not, the whole organization can and will fall if one does not do things the right way.
So think about the repercussions of your actions, decisions or mistreatment on your employees. What does it cost? Is it worth it?