Esports Thieves


Alright, so the title may be a bit of an overly contentious way to kick things off but hey, if you can forgive my less than extensive vocabulary for a moment, the topic is still one worth thinking about.

I wonder what the first thing someone thought of when they see these two words together because no matter who I’ve spoken to, it feels like at some point they would have been taken advantage of in some way or felt violated. It seems intellectual violation seems to be something that often hurts esports folk the most. You can replace a stolen iPhone but we’re all encouraged to believe that our ideas and thoughts are the things that are so truly valuable in the world we so voraciously lease today.

Esports, like any other growing industry, is ripe for intellectual thievery. That as a combo word does sound pretty intense. Intellectual thievery. I’m imagining it’s something Ron Burgundy would say after swigging a glass of scotch in prep for a live broadcast. ANYHOW..

This happens a lot in esports and we often take it so personally. He/She stole my idea, they robbed me of my knowledge, how could the product of my neurons now be travelling across the synapses of another? OK, so it’s unlikely you take this to Shakespearean lengths but you get my drift.

The thing is, I sense many of us need to adjust our thinking and realise that our ideas aren’t valuable.  It’s what we do with those ideas in real life that makes them something worth stealing. Instead of being so decimated that someone stole an idea you mentioned to him/her, save your tears for the moment when someone steals what you created and imitates it. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.. it really is. In fact, if someone can do something better than you can, they haven’t just flattered you, they’ve made you realise that you can do better.

I won’t cite examples of things I’ve been told recently by others because I don’t want people I trust to think that telling me something means it will end up being written down in my digital diary. I’ll leave it up to others to share  experiences of when they’ve felt intellectually taken advantage of.  It’s happened to me a tonne (and still does).

Here are some real examples (I’ll not name you but you know who you are):

1- Another esports agency based in the USA calling us up and asking us about how we work, what clients we work with and asking for a rough deck from us of our work in order to ‘partner together’ then just absorbing the information and not coming back to us
2- Someone emailing me to ask about how we could help them out, promising a great working relationship, then only to disappear after they get the information they needed
3- A group of people eager to drive sales for their business asking for sales materials that they then use to try to win over your clients

These are just a couple of recent examples but I’m listing them because over the last couple of years in esports, I’ve just found that it pays to do something incredibly well and if someone else believes you do that, they will want to take what they can from you to be better themselves. Instead of taking the theft personally, I’ve just found that it helps me to wish them well and focus on keep doing what you did that made someone want to take from you.

In esports it has and will happen a lot. We’re talking about an industry so uncertain in how things should be done, lacking any ‘best practices’ and mostly run by young people who put the same energy into being the best at a game into their businesses. If you’re used to emulating what someone does well in a server and making it better, why wouldn’t you do the same with business? The best competitive gamers would make incredible business people. 

There must be a study somewhere out there about that.

Eitherways, although this isn’t a marketing or sales write-up, I thought it worth sharing as behind the scenes there’s a lot of talk around blacklisting certain people or businesses because of practices like this. I’m still of the opinion that we need thieves like this.. who else will so blatantly flatter your ego by wanting what’s in your head?