Less than twelve months after it launched, GAMURS jettisoned its Esportswiki staff. Now a number of former contributors have fallen into public dispute over their lack of contract renewals, while a larger question looms: why is money becoming so hard to find when providing encyclopedic coverage of esports games? What explains GAMURS Job Losses.
“I was concerned that some decisions GAMURS made seemed not to be based on a full understanding of the wikis’ content and value.”
On June 14, GAMURS CEO Riad Chikhani published a lengthy announcement detailing the founding of EsportsWikis, as well as its strained financial difficulties and GAMURS job losses. According to Riad, GAMURS invested $270,000 across wages, architecture, and server expenses over the last 12 months, but while traffic was high, revenues totalled just over $5000. The latter part of the statement revealed that Esportswiki would re-launch as “Esports Database”, and be integrated into Dot Esports – an esports news site which GAMURS acquired in 2016 from The Daily Dot.
Megan “RheingoldRiver” Cutrofello, who lead the Esportswiki team, told The Esports Observer that her termination in GAMURS job losses came in the form of a brief Skype message and email. She was still permitted to contribute to the databases if desired, but opted not to do so given the circumstances of her firing.
As alleged in Riad’s statement, River and her staff continuously rebuffed proposed solutions to the company’s revenue woes. The statement further elaborates that, In May, an ultimatum was delivered: if staff did not commit to the resurgent plan, the company would be moving in a different direction. “That direction was Esports Database,” said River. “I was concerned that some decisions GAMURS made seemed not to be based on a full understanding of the wikis’ content and value.”
Several Epsortswiki contributors refute that they were pre-warned of staff-downsizing.
Several contributors across Epsortswiki’s database have refuted the notion that they were pre-warned of staff-downsizing. NirnaethVale, a former staff member for the League of Legends Wiki, said publicly: “In one of the messages that she (River) sent to us soon after she heard that she was being fired, she told us that she had “no notice that this was going to be the case”.
Some contributors are also skeptical that their sections will find a place in the new database. The manager of the Rocket League wiki noted that GAMURS currently publishes little coverage of the title, and having not been contacted about continuing, believes it will be dropped entirely. These sentiments were later agreed upon and echoed by the manager of the SMITE wiki.
As far as River is aware, GAMURS has not spoken to former staff members, beyond the required notice that contracts would not be renewed. However, new additions to GAMUR’s data team have reached out to some voluntary contributors via Twitter.
When contacted for comment, Riad Chikhani says he stands by his public statement, and has nothing further to add in response to the public statements from former Esportswiki staff.
Esports games databases are a vital resource for countless professionals in the industry.
Esports games databases are a vital resource for countless professionals in the industry, including players, analysts, coaches and the media. But the urgent need for updated statistics has generated a batch of fierce competitors, many of whom initially struggled to monetize the platforms. GAMURS themselves formed Esportswiki in July 2016 with the help of former Esportspedia contributors, who departed the site over disputes with then-parent company Azubu. Part of the explination of GAMURS job losses.
Matthew Gunnin founded Esportspedia whilst working for Azubu in 2014, later re-acquiring it in June 2016. He had previously sold another database, Leaguepedia, saying the amount of money lost to server costs, and shortage of incoming revenue, heavily influenced his reasons to do so.
“I fought to reacquire Esportspedia because I wanted to do things differently,” Matt told The Esports Observer. “I didn’t want Esportspedia’s future to be dictated by a third party that wouldn’t put the wiki first, and most importantly I wanted the community to feel personally invested in the growth and success of Esportspedia.”
Esportspedia is currently speaking with several former Esportswiki staff members. Though it was inactive for a while under Azubu’s arm, its League of Legends site was a trusted resource for the MOBA’s community, and the company is currently developing a Collegiate Esports wiki to track the growing varsity scene.
“The esports industry has so much more to learn about itself,” said Matt. “It was a gamble for GAMURS to take a shot with EsportsWikis, and you have to commend the effort. I truly wish all of the staff members at Esportswiki the best of luck.”