A partnership between the esports organization WESA (World Esports Association) and the video game studio Hi-Rez is bringing a new league to life. The Paladins: Champions of the Realm Premier League is slated to launch this fall and would be the second esports league overseen by WESA.
A role model league
A presentational video for the new Paladins league has revealed its egalitarian business model, as revenue will be shared among all its teams. The league will also have minimum player salaries.
“Paladins has emerged as an innovative first-person shooter title, and Hi-Rez has a track record of supporting endemic esports organisations and players, said WESA Commissioner Ken Hershman. “For WESA, this is an important milestone as it marks our second esports title.”
The league’s launch could not come at a better time, especially with the recent uncertainty surrounding Blizzard’s forthcoming Overwatch League. Several WESA members, including big organizations like Mousesports, Fnatic, and SK Gaming, have already joined for the inaugural season.
Hi-Rez Studios CEO Todd Harris had the following to say:
“Hi-Rez is very excited that the world’s most popular and experienced esports teams have chosen to partner with us in launching Paladins Premier League under the leadership of WESA. We see an incredible community appetite for competitive Paladins and the Paladins Premier League will showcase the highest tier of Paladins esports within North America and Europe. In addition, we applaud WESA’s initiative to professionalize esports and will be working closely with them toward this goal.”
More details, like media rights and the league’s structure (including conditions for qualification), should be announced in the coming months.
Paladins: a rising esports title?
The objective- and team-based FPS game has skyrocketed in popularity after entering open beta last September. Since then, more than 15 million players have taken up Paladins. It was the most-played new Steam game of last year.
The developer’s approach to creating a healthy esports environment was recently outlined by Harris in a post to /r/Paladins:
“Almost every new multiplayer game wants to be an esport. And some existing multiplayer games want to become the NFL overnight. My perspective is that esports will continue to grow but it can’t be forced. The Community decides what is an esport. Every publisher and league has a different model and perspective on the ‘right way’ to do esports.
But the reality is that everyone is experimenting because this is such a new area. That is part of what makes it exciting. And hopefully, multiple models and publishers will continue to find success. A thriving and growing esports industry means more opportunities for game developers and professional players alike.”
WESA becoming a major esports player
The Switzerland-based association has been steadily expanding its presence in the competitive gaming industry. The organization’s main mission is to professionalize esports by addressing issues like player representation, standardized regulations, and revenue shares for teams.
Collaborating with other organizations from the scene to create leagues and tournaments will set a higher standard for international esports events.