Absolute Legends CEO Accused of Keeping Prize Winnings from Teams
The world of eSports is growing rapidly, and so are its payouts. The amount of money involved in some single League of Legends tournaments is more than most of the people working at them earn annually, so it only makes sense that players and teams, like Absolute Legends, are kept extremely interested in these money events.
Unfortunately, where there is money, there are people trying to take from those who earned it.
Absolute Legends took part in the November 2012 IEM Singapore tournament and did well, with one team winning $3,000 and another earning the second prize of $8,500. One of the players from Absolute Legends, Daniel "Spellsy" Biery, has now complained that neither he nor any of the other players who were involved in the games in question have actually been paid.
The prize money from the tournament was supposedly sent directly from the ESL to the CEO of of Absolute Legends, Tim Buysse. This information came from ESL itself in an email to Biery after his sponsor responded to his own inquiries on the matter by saying they had not received the money yet. These email conversations took place approximately one year ago.
According to Biery, the players on the teams responsible for winning that money have waited all this time for their payout. Biery has invested a considerable amount of time in documented email conversations with Buysse to try and resolve the situation, but after a year and the CEO's continued difficulty in cooperating, he decided to make the entire mess public to warn prospective new teams about predatory companies.
Ultimately this all might still be questionable. I do not personally know the players or company, and it would not be the first case in history of a person fishing for sympathy with a false sob story. One fact makes it hard to discount this Reddit tell-all, though.
This same story is being mirrored by players on every team Absolute Legends has.
The Singaporean team has previously posted on Reddit about not having received any money for travel expenses, something contractually and explicitly promised to them, and therefore entirely unable to attend major international tournaments. There are even reports of Starcraft 2 players suffering the same issues with travel expenses and prize money.
As a side note, Buysse is better known in the gaming community by his former Starcraft 2 handle, Wetdream, and is notorious as a repeat-offending hacker in the game.
How the situation will be resolved is unknown. The players involved have all moved on to other things, though some wasted a very great deal of time trying to remain loyal to Absolute Legends. This is both low-brow gossip and cautionary tale to us all. League of Legends is a game, and a glorious opportunity for those with the talent and drive. We just need to remember not all of those people are driven to be fair, nice, or even legal in their dealings with others.