Working in Call of Duty eSports – Why it Hurts


I love eSports, particularly Call of Duty eSports. Call of Duty 4 ignited my love for the series, and despite the mixed opinions of each game released, it continues to be a wonderful source of entertainment. I never once imagined writing inside of the eSports industry. Writing was a self-motivated endeavor for me, and I’ve written for years with the intent of working my way into the video game industry. So of course when I first started writing specifically for Call of Duty eSports, I fell in love.

I fell out of love very quickly.

Why? In my nearly five years of writing about games, I can’t call it a career. I want it to be a career so desperately that I’ve continued writing with organizations that only promised exposure. I officially fucking hate the word exposure. There’s no more worth in it, and that’s a horrible feeling for someone who passionately loves writing and this community. There’s no motivation anymore. A company wants you to be in contact 24/7 to get work done, but there’s nothing in return. No promise of security, no money, not even proper exposure.

I always believed that perhaps the eSports industry was just too young right now. Maybe it just wasn’t a viable source of income. Perhaps it wasn’t worth building a resume just to push into more voluntary work. But there is this undying passion that’s… a bit undying. Writers in this industry have to be masochists. Or maybe we’re just insane. The main problem, however, isn’t us. There are some fantastic creators (writers, editors, photographers, designers) who should be earning a living here! We put in 100 percent of ourselves in our work, but when our work suffers… so do we.

This industry is simply used to obtaining things for free. It’s something I see every day. eSports competitors hitting up graphic designers for more and more streaming layouts, organizations “hiring” writers with no promises of profit, photographers shielding themselves from backlash when they decide to sale their photos instead of tossing them around as handouts.

Lewis Farley, a freelance eSports and documentary filmmaker, wrote about the photography controversy in the Call of Duty community. I think this could be applied to any creative aspect surrounding the scene.

Goodbye Current Photographers: 
The photographers that were trying to make a living, will be driven out of Call of Duty eSports as the vast majority of the community will now be expecting free photos and those who were considering paying, will now no longer.

No New Photographers:
No new photographers will be interested in getting involved with Call of Duty eSports as there will be no market for them to make money.

Other Creatives Will Forever Be Working For Free:
Payment for the creatives will be near none existent (designers, filmmakers, photographers) as everything will be expected for free and twitter followers wont pay the bill when you reach your 20’s.

And trust me, I would love to work my ass off and pay bills through my writing. There seems to be a bit of a social status, or a ladder, in this community. You’re either the owner of an organization, the primary figures in an organization, or you’re a vital member that serves as the backbone of an organization. Writers, photographers, etc. apparently fall beneath those particular rungs in the ladder. It’s a shame.

But I guess I’ll stick around…


One thought on “Working in Call of Duty eSports – Why it Hurts

  1. I can see what you mean in how careers are essentially non-existant because of the lack of a market for creatives/creators. It downright sucks to be on the back-end of a highly popular, high grossing game or coverage and that there is nothing to be gained by writing about it. I was considering writing for and about games for money as well, but how you so eloquently put it, there just isn’t enough value in exposure itself. If you aren’t getting paid decently, if at all, it’s something only someone extremely passionate can endure.

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