The Esports Awards 2019 were held last weekend at the Esports Stadium in Arlington, United States and it was a double celebration on the cards for Riot Games, who were not only named as the Esports Publisher of the Year, but also saw their most popular title League of Legends named as the Esports Game of the Year.
Indeed, when it came to the top honours, League of Legends was especially prominent with the League of Legends World Championship 2019 also being named the Esports Live Event of the Year, while the Esports Team of the Year were named as G2 Esports League of Legends team.
— Esports Awards (@esportsawards) November 17, 2019
The Esports Organisation of the Year however went to Netherlands-based Team Liquid.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was also the title that won the Esports Breakthrough Game of the Year.
Winners Speech Controversy
However, the evening will also be remembered for the winner of Esports Journalist of the Year, Richard Lewis, acceptance speech heavily criticising a number of high-profile news sites that have expanded to cover esports in the last few years.
The likes of Polygon, Kotaku and Waypoint were all name-checked in his speech in which he claimed:
“Their approach to writing about esports is two-fold: they’ve consistently embarrassed themselves writing pieces that expose their complete ignorance about our scene, lack of sources and unoriginal opinions on topics we have talked to death about for 20 years.”
“The second thing has been to write hit-pieces and smears, most propagated on half-truths or out-and-out lies.”
“They write about it because they think if they can get one, two or 12 of you out of the way, they can get their friends and cronies in and gatekeep our industry.”
A number of people present gave Lewis a standing ovation for his speech. With many who followed the ceremony quick to take to Twitter to support Mr Lewis assertions and criticise those that feel portray esports in an unduly and unnecessary negative way.
Lewis is a somewhat polarising figure within the esports industry, having been involved in a number of controversial incidents himself, namely when he was involved in a verbal and then physical altercation with Dota 2 professional Jonathan ‘Loda’ Berg at the DreamHack Winter 2015 event a few years back.
In addition, his association with the far-right news service Breitbart has also led to many within the esports community to disassociate themselves from his views. Considering that Breitbart are somewhat notorious for hit pieces and smear news, others feel Lewis’ comments are a little hypocritical.
As one poster, Damn Silly, on the ResetEra forums stated about the speech:
“imagine complaining about “hit pieces, smears and half-truths” when you worked for Breitbart, my dude.
“a half-truth would be an aspiration for most of those folks.”
However, many also recognise that Lewis is one of the journalists to have done the most to help protect players rights, especially with regards to big corporations and that his work over the years has helped create a better environment for esports players in general.
As one poster, May, in the same ResetEra form stated.
“He’s a good investigative journalist and exposed a ton of shady sh*t in the sports scene, but, man do I dislike the dude.”
Other Notable Winners
Away from the controversy, other notable winners on the night included Matthew ‘Nadeshot’ Haag winning the Esports Personality of the Year, Craig “Mini Lad” Thompson winning the Content Creator of the Year, while Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf landed both the Esports PC Player of the Year and Esports PC Rookie of the Year awards.
Image courtesy of Esports Awards / Turner Sports