Following a dispute and mediation with Paradigm eSports and the players on their SMITE team, Hi-Rez Studios, creator of SMITE, has banned the eSports company from taking part in any future eSports with SMITE or Paladins.
Hi-Rez Studios released a statement regarding their decision recently stating that they “kindly request that Paradigm abstain from involvement in any future eSports events or competitions hosted by or related to us, including those for SMITE and Paladins.” This follows a mediation effort that SMITE had made over a dispute between Paradigm eSports and the players from their SMITE team. Hi-Rez first learned of the dispute on the 28th of August and elected to stay out of it because they believe disputes are best handled when both parties involved are free to come to a resolution that best suits everyone involved. However, on the 2nd of September they received information that had let them know that the negotiations were failing between the two parties. Hi-Rez decided they would mediate the situation and speak privately with both parties to share their insight as to what they thought was the resolution to their dispute.
The dispute was regarding payment in their contracts. Paradigm gave the players on their SMITE team an ultimatum: sign or forefit all the games, to which the players were refusing. The contract was offering the players a salary of $1 a month (yes, you read that correctly, $1 a month per player). In addition to that they were telling the players they could split 75% of any tournament winnings less whatever Paradigm eSports spent on travel for them. I don’t think anyone would see that as a viable way to make a living. I can’t think of a single professional athlete that would agree to those terms in their contract. Needless to say, the players were definitely in the right for refusing to sign a contract based on those terms.
The 5th of September was when Hi-Rez studio learned of contracts with the grossly unfavorable terms. Paradigm was saying the players needed to sign all the contracts or they’d forfeit the rest of the games for the season. Hi-Rez continued to try to work with the parties through their mediation to find a solution that would be in the best interests of Paradigm, their players, the SMITE Pro League, and the community. On the 7th Paradigm sent Hi-Rez Studios an email which, according to Hi-Rez, “alleged contractual and tort claims against” them. The following day, on the 8th, Paradigm publicly stated that it would be withdrawing from SMITE no matter what the outcome was. In light of those events Hi-Rez Studios came to a ruling that they feel was best for everyone involved.
Paradigm hereby forfeits its position in the SPL to Lawbster, who is elected Team Captain (as that term is defined in the Rules) among the Players. This ruling shall be effective immediately, and is final and binding on all parties. In addition, we are amending the Rules to add procedures for future disputes between players and teams, including a mandatory seven (7) day mediation before we will issue a final ruling, and during which time the relevant parties may settle their dispute without interference by us, unless exceptional circumstances dictate otherwise.
I personally feel that Hi-Rez handled this very well given the circumstances. They were looking out for the people playing their game trying to make a living off of it and didn’t let Paradigm try to bully them in to the misleading contracts to try to get as much money as they could out of it. It will be interesting to see the players, Lawbster, Funballer, Trixtank, QvoFred, and Xaliea on their next team and continuing to play in the SPL and hopefully making more than $1 a month.Source: SMITE