Esports Scotland responds to community criticism around unpaid invoices, separate announcement sees Scottish government back national games strategy

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Update (February 7th 2024): Epic.LAN founder and MD Jon Winkle has published a list of people who have come forward saying they are owed money by Esports Scotland from the last few years.

Jon is also owed more than £3,000 for his work on the 2022 Scottish Esports League event. The total owed in his list currently stands at just under £27,000. The overall figure could be higher given the below is what’s currently been verified.

We, like Jon, understand that some people have been paid, but many have not.

Esports Scotland is expected to make another statement in response to this soon.

Original article (February 2nd 2024):

Scottish games body Esports Scotland has responded to criticism, after several members of the community made public comments towards the organisation.

Epic.LAN founder and MD Jon Winkle posted tweets saying he has reported Esports Scotland to Companies House ‘for failure to update their statutory records within 14 days of changing address’.

He attempted to serve Esports Scotland court papers on the debt Epic.LAN is owed from late 2022 (or 404 days ago to be precise), but the papers were returned due to the Scottish body not having the correct business address to receive legal paperwork listed on Companies House.

Esports Scotland’s currently registered address on the Companies House database displays Dundee & Angus College‘s address – a college that Esports Scotland previously had a partnership with.

Esports News UK understands the college has asked Esports Scotland to update their Companies House details with a different address, so Esports Scotland has been attempting to find a new one.

The development comes three months after we reported that the Scottish Esports League 6 was delayed, with overdue payments from Esports Scotland still due.

Now Jon and others have posted public comments, as they look to to band together against Esports Scotland to get what they are owed.

Esports Scotland responded, saying: “We have not officially changed address yet and are in active conversations regarding moving.

“Regarding payments, we have made and are continuing to make payments to settle the debt. This situation was not intentional and we are doing absolutely everything to sort it out.”

Scott Crawford of UK university esports production company Charge, and president of the Caledonian Chargers, the Glasgow Caledonian University Esports Society, questioned Esports Scotland on this.

Following this, Scottish lecturer Mark McCready said of Esports Scotland: “Keep in mind they are an events company. Not a national representation of Scottish esports, nor a national body. They run national competitions, but they don’t reflect the values or interests of those in Scottish esports and don’t facilitate national discussion with industry.”

James Hood also responded to these tweets, and spoke publicly about plans to set up a separate Scottish Esports Association:

The separate Scottish Esports Network, which recently hosted its first National Esports Forum and marked its first anniversary, called on members of the community to co-sign a statement it published (linked in the tweet below), asking for greater accountability from Esports Scotland. Update: So far it has 37 signatures.

“One of the largest collective concerns is the perception that Esports Scotland represents our industry as a governing body or a representation of our nation and the people behind the scenes making things a reality,” the network said.

“Esports Scotland and James Hood irrefutably do not represent Scotland, our standards, ambition, culture, business practices, talent or our community. Together, let us work towards a Scottish esports industry that thrives on integrity, professionalism, and mutual respect. We believe in the potential for positive change, and it starts with our collective commitment to a better future.”

The news also comes a few days after Esports Scotland CEO and founder James Hood attended the opening of Borders College’s new esports studio, the Ukie Education Mixer and the edtech Bett show in London, where Esports Scotland hosted Rocket League tournaments on Scan Computers’ stand.

‘The games sector is Scotland’s secret weapon’ – Scottish Government backs new national games strategy

In separate news, the Scottish Government has given its backing to the creation of a national games strategy, recognising the potential of games. 

A news release from The Scottish Games Network (separate to the aforementioned esports network) claimed this will make Scotland the first part of the United Kingdom to have a strategy in place supporting the games ecosystem.

With the support of the national TechScaler network and CodeBase, the goal of the strategy will be ‘to create a more successful games ecosystem in Scotland and ensure the country can support the sector more effectively as it continues to grow and evolve’.

The Scottish Games Network will lead the creation of an ‘action plan which will provide tangible, actionable recommendations to increase knowledge of and support for games’.

Brian Baglow, director of the Scottish Games Network, said: “The games sector is Scotland’s secret weapon. We have far more to offer Scotland’s economy and future as a digital society than anyone realises. However, we do not yet have the same recognition as other areas such as data, fintech, or film. The creation of a national strategy will enable us to increase the understanding of the enormous potential of games, increase the support for the ecosystem as a whole and position Scotland as a pioneer in this incredible industry.”

Shona Robison, the Deputy First Minister of Scotland, said: “Scotland has a rich heritage in producing pioneering games and the industry is filled with talent, innovation and creativity. I saw this first-hand when I joined representatives of the sector for a roundtable discussion last November.

“The Scottish Government recognises the contribution that the sector already makes and the potential it has to contribute further social, cultural and economic benefits. That is why I have backed the industry to create a National Action Plan for Games in Scotland.”

Shona Robison, Deputy First Minister of Scotland

“This plan boosts and accelerates growth and job creation, as well as amplifying the global reputation of one of Scotland’s most promising and diverse sectors.”

Esports News UK has reached out to ask if the plan will cover esports, and will update this article if we hear back.

Last year, Scotland hosted the UK’s first big Fortnite LAN, Red Bull Contested.

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