This company is offering a $400 esports certification to help people break into the industry

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WTF?! Would you like to break into the esports industry but worry about being overlooked, possibly due to a lack of contacts or even your background? Fear not, a new company called the Esports Certification Institute (ECI) is offering an exam and certification program that could help you stand out from the crowd based on merit alone, and it only costs $299.95—or $399.95 in a few weeks.

The ECI says its goal is to promote “meritocracy, fostering professionalism, and increasing diversity and inclusion in esports.” Its board does consist of some big names in the industry, including Cloud 9 VP Donald Boyce, Evil Geniuses CEO Nicole LaPointe Jameson, Gen.G CEO Chris Park, and gaming personality Sean ‘Day[9]’ Plott.

There’s a pay-what-you-want (suggested price: $59) official study guide for the exam on the ECI website covering basic administration, business terms such as “click-through rate,” and general esports knowledge. It also looks at merchandising, contracts, and the like.

The inaugural exam, which is on ‘Esports Knowledge, Statistical Literacy, and Problem Solving,’ consists of 120 multiple choice questions and an essay. One of the questions from the study guide illustrates the type of conundrums industry pros will face:

“Forty percent of the employees at an esports company have passed the ECI exam. Among the employees who have not passed the exam, 32 have black hair and 16 do not. How many employees does the esports company have?”

As noted by PC Gamer, the ECI is registered as a public benefit corporation (PBC), a designation indicating that while it is a for-profit company, it has positive social effects. However, these are self-defined, such as increasing “diversity and inclusion” in esports.

As you might imagine, the ECI has come in for plenty of criticism over its certification program’s price. “Surely you guys understand what this looks like from the outside. A select group of corporate suits intend on consolidating hiring power to their exclusive club. Of course the intention is to weed out bad actors, but is this not just needlessly pay-walling the talent pool?,” tweeted Owen M. Roe, a graphics and branding designer with an esports focus.

The ECI notes that its certificate is cheaper than other industry exams, though most of these are requirements to become licenced in a particular field. The company did say it would “offer independent sponsorships soon.” Co-founder Sebastian Park added that those who are unemployed should contact ECI about scholarship opportunities.

Anyone who passes the exams—the first are on June 19 and 20—becomes an ECI member, which brings “continuing education and networking opportunities” at no extra cost.



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