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Published: April 28, 2021

Written by: web developer

  • The Esports Certification Institute launched an exam that evaluates people’s knowledge of esports
  • Its goal is to surmount the hiring issues in esports and make those who pass it more likely to be hired by companies
  • The exam has been widely accused of a hefty price tag and a way to introduce elitism in the esports industry

The Esports Certification Institute’s exam became a subject of controversy. Some saw it as a good way to make esports more organized, while others considered it to take away what makes esports unique. 

The Certificate and What May Be Its Issues

The Esports Certification Institute introduced a certification exam that evaluates people’s knowledge of the field. The goal is to establish a system that makes it easier for people to get hired as the certificate would prove their qualities and skills. 

However, many took the idea with a grain of salt. One of the main reasons behind that was the $400 price tag of the exam. While it’s just $300 for people who sign earlier, and the price is overall lower compared to other certificates from other fields, people still saw it as an unlikeable paywall. 

Scott Robertson from Dotesport even gave an analog with the “pay-to-win” mechanics some games have, meaning people can pay to have an advantage over others. 

Currently, getting hired in the esports industry seems more of a matter of connections. While some manage to get in with their own knowledge and skills, favoritism still plays a huge role in the selection process. The Esports Certification Institute is indeed looking to change that by introducing a system that will supposedly equalize people by adding a universal qualification that separates the knowledgeable from the less knowledgeable. 

Dignitas’ Senior Vice-President Pete Szilagyi rationalized this line of thought:

“Some of our past industry hires haven’t worked out due to a lack of industry experience. An ECI certification lets us know that you know your stuff.” 

Dignitas’ Senior Vice-President Pete Szilagyi

However, other industry fields besides esports have had such qualification meters for ages, and nepotism has never ceased to be a part of them. Universities and degrees have meant little for people with strong connections in their respective fields.

If else, Robertson argued that ECI’s exam will introduce further separation and may block some hard-working people out of the esports industry. Robertson explained that ECI’s certification would not elevate the certification but belittle the uncertified. He fears that many talented people’s applications may be overlooked by companies just because the applicant lacks a certificate.

People Fear Certificates Would Restrict Those Without It

In a way, people fear that a universal certificate may introduce a form of a caste system and further inequality. Esports enthusiasts shudder to imagine it turning into a gatekeeping rig that takes away some of the unique freedoms that the esports industry currently provides compared to other industries. And to top it, there is no guarantee that with time people would not find a way to cheat on the test or even illegally pay to pass it, which would bring a whole new set of issues to the field. 

Furthermore, as the esports industry is still finding its way, many people are underpaid. With this in mind, introducing a paid certificate doesn’t seem to make sense. Robertson considers that a much better choice is offered by the esports hiring platform Hitmarker. Hitmarker’s solution is providing people with an opportunity to acquire skills and learn how to better fill applications. 

On a more positive note, the Esports Certification Institute’s study guide costs just a single dollar and offers some much more useful information. Robertson hopes that their networking opportunities will be good as well but advises against raising our hopes yet.

To conclude, there doesn’t seem to be a universal solution to the hiring issues present in esports. Supporters of the more classical approach think that degrees and certificates are the way to go. However, their opponents think that those will introduce a whole new set of problems and will take away from what makes esports different. The latter argue that favoritism isn’t disappearing from our society anytime soon, so it would be best if the esports industry retains at least some of its meritocratic aspects. 

Both camps have the same intention of making the esports industry a better place for newcomers. It will be interesting to see how the industry develops and whether it retains its unique aspects or eventually adopts the universal format. 

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