An announcement by the Esports Certification Institute (ECI) of the new $400 ‘esports certification’ for those aspiring to work in esports, has drawn a mixed reaction, to say the least.
As esports continues to muscle its way into the limelight, people all over the world are hoping to score a career in one of the world’s biggest growth industries.
Even the Olympics embraced esports in the form of their new ‘Virtual Series,’ something that has also divided fans.
In the midst of esports’ exponential trajectory, an organization called the ECI are offering aspiring esports professionals an ‘esports certification’.
ECI’s “esports certification”
As announced via the company’s official Twitter, ECI have created a three-part exam that, once completed, will earn you their ‘esports certification’.
We are excited to announce the launch of Esports Certification Institute, a Public Benefit Corporation created to foster professionalism, promote meritocracy, and increase diversity and inclusion in esports. ECI was created to give another path into esports for industry hopefuls pic.twitter.com/NQyxjiWOBc
— EsportsCI (@EsportsCi) April 27, 2021
With the aim of “foster professionalism, promote meritocracy, and increase diversity and inclusion in esports,” the cost of taking the exam is $400, which they argue “is an investment into your career.”
Esports professionals react
Despite using one of their FAQs to address “why do people even need this thing,” the announcement has criticized by many esports professionals, so much so that it started trending on Twitter.
Prominent League of Legends caster Isaac ‘Azael’ Cummings Bentley slammed the announcement, writing that neither a university degree or esports certification aided his esports career.
My esports qualifications:
Literal World Champion ✅
— Isaac CB (@RiotAzael) April 28, 2021
This was mirrored by Valorant sensation turned Team Liquid streaming partner Jonas ‘AverageJonaes’ Navarsete, who comments that “you don’t need a certificate, you need passion.”
I got a career in gaming/esports with a job background that predates the internet by about 400 years (Opera). You don't need a certificate, you need passion.
— Liquid Jonas (@Average_Jonas) April 28, 2021
Finally, Product Manager for TSM, Allie Hahe, also noted that her parent organization already provides all of the support that the ECI claim to be offering, but do so “all for free.”
I highly recommend to anyone considering a $400 "esports certificate" to instead check out the resources we offer at @TSMUniversity. We have industry professionals offering advice, mentorships, and more to help you learn about the industry, all for free.https://t.co/E1QQYtffw3
— Allie Hahe (@alliehahe) April 27, 2021
One of the concerns raised was over some of the specific questions in the exam, which read more like a maths test tied to gaming examples.
These are real questions from the ECI's practice exam…. LOL what pic.twitter.com/8aVrWJk5yn
— Joe Pokrzywa (@JoePokrzywa) April 27, 2021
However, not all were so dismissive of the ECI. The head of Competitive for OneTeam asks “would it kill you to try and look at the potential positive impacts?”
Anytime anyone tries to create something to advance our industry you see the vile come out really quickly
Would it kill you to try and look at the potential positive impacts?
Will it work? IDK but that's how you build startups – doing something we aren't sure will work
— Marty (@Lazerchickenzzz) April 27, 2021
One of ECI’s founding members, Ryan Friedman, also clarified that the certification is aimed at those who want to enter the “traditional business” side of esports, not for “talent positions” such as casting and journalism.
This is a great clarification – we did not create this exam for casters/writers/similar talent positions! It's designed for trad business jobs.
If you bought the exam because you want to be a caster/writer/other talent position, please reach out and we'll give you a refund! https://t.co/odfju7Ybpy
— Ryan Friedman (方仁宇) (@RyanWFriedman) April 27, 2021
Many people in hiring positions of esports have also said that the ECI certification will not be something they actively look for in candidates, including Dexerto. According to some of the scene’s biggest names, it’s passion and hard work that are more important.
This doesn’t mean that the Esports Certification will have no merit in the future, but it won’t be for everyone.