Team Dignitas' manager looks back on the UKESA: "I was very naïve at the time"

‘They asked us to buy Call of Duty because they didn’t have a disc’ – the doomed UK eSports governing body that time forgot

We look back on the doomed eSports (pro gaming) governing body that was set up in late 2008: the United Kingdom eSports Association.

The UKESA was formed, bringing together the likes of Future Publishing, the BBC, Team Dignitas, EA, Fnatic and many more, before arranging tournaments with cash prizes.

However, one year later it signed for bankruptcy.

Pro eSports organisation Team Dignitas’ manager Michael "ODEE" O’Dell, told PCR that a governing body is needed in eSports, but it must be truly independent, like video games trade association UKIE.

Today, there is the International eSports Federation (IESF) which claims to want to promote eSports, however it doesn’t as of yet have the UK as a member nation.

O’Dell looks back on the UKESA.

“It just went from bad to worse from day one,” he recalls.

"At the start of it I wanted something like that to appear – a governing body – but I was very naïve at the time. Then I learnt if you’ve got people making money and are trying to make more money, it’s not independent. So that was the day one problem that just didn’t click with me until it all went horribly wrong.

"Then the finals in London were just awful. We turned up with our Call of Duty team and they asked us to go over the road to Tesco and buy Call of Duty because they didn’t have the disc. I knew it was going to be a bad day when that happened. They still owe us £11,000 but they fell apart and disappeared off the face of the Earth. 

"We’ve seen things come and go like that for the 15 years I’ve been doing this, but now the big games like League of Legends are bringing new people into eSports. But they haven’t seen what’s happened in the last 15 years, so some of them are starting to make the same mistakes, and they’re not listening to the old fogies like me.

"So we do everything very sustainably. The foundations are there – now we have to build the house."

Read the full interview with ODEE here

Image source: Shutterstock

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