Being an eSports player seems like a tough gig. You spend twelve hours a day practicing only one game, sometimes live in a house with your ever changing teammates, and survive off of potential tournament winnings and sponsorships. Even the best players are bounced around from team to team and their playing years often end in their mid-20s. That’s glossing over the potential for repetitive stress injuries and rumored performance enhancing drug use that can occur within the sport. And that’s why Wargaming, the developer and publisher behind World of Tanks, is stepping up to protect its players.

Wargaming wants to create an eSports players union. This union would be player run and player controlled, but Wargaming is offering legal assistance to help ensure the players are properly protected.

It may seem too early to create a players union, but Wargaming says they’ve experienced some issues that create a sense of urgency:

“It comes from a need to do something. We faced a few issues and incidents, and of course we didn’t like that because these incidents were not in favour of the players. So at a point we have to make a decision, either we get more directly involved or we keep having issues.”

It’s great to see a publisher and developer want to protect their elite players so vehemently. While the union is only a concept for now, it would go a long way to helping players who can’t help themselves. We should remember that eSports players are often very young and are giving a part of their lives away to professional video games.

Players unions are often times the only entity that stands in the way of sports leagues like the MLB, NFL, or NBA. They often push for better pay, safer playing conditions, and ensure the athelete is properly protected in case of injury. Seeing unions pop up in eSports this early, and with developer backing, is encouraging.

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