GGA crumbles as EG and Alliance face massive changes to DotA squads
Good Game Agency (GGA), the parent company to Evil Geniuses and The Alliance, is merging with its own parent company Twitch. Readers may remember that in December of 2014, GGA was acquired by Twitch Interactive Inc. Twitch itself had been bought earlier that year by internet titan Amazon for 970 million dollars (USD).
When the purchase of GGA by Twitch was announced, The CEO of Good Game, Alex Garfield, wrote a lengthy statement emphasizing the fact that he loved esports and wanted to make the right choice for not only the company, but the teams and players who worked for it. Early last week, on Monday August 22 2016, Alexander Garfield stepped down from his position at GGA. On Friday August 27, rumours are spreading of the brand’s demise.
Rumors were initially centered on a flurry of movement in both of GGA’s Dota 2 squads. Alliance player Jonothan ‘Loda’ Berg announced on Twitter that the team would not be playing in the WCA qualifiers that were scheduled today. Hours later, The Alliance’s Dota 2 player and accounts manager Kelly Ong Xiao Wei, who most recognize as KellyMILKIES, also used Twitter to announce her departure from Alliance. It is possible that this was a preplanned move from KellyMILKIES, though, as she announced some time ago that she would be leaving Alliance in the future.
Today, Loda and Alliance support player, Jerry ‘EGM’ Lundkvist, tweeted out messages read with an air of finality. Loda’s tweet was quickly deleted, but is saved in the screenshot that you see below.
Evil Geniuses, the other camp flying the GGA banner, began shuffling their own Dota 2 roster, removing Clinton ‘Fear’ Loomis and Ludwig ‘Zai’ Wahlburg, news that was discovered on the registration page for the next Dota 2 major. On August 29, yet another EG player, Syed Sumail "SumaiL" Hassan, left team EG according to the same official registration page.
Meanwhile, on the official Twitter account for GGA, cryptic updates were posted. The account’s description was changed to read, “Formerly home to the fathers of esports. Acquired by @Amazon in 2014 and now offline”, and tweets reading 24 hours ago, “Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars” and, “Going Dark” were posted. Ironically, a tweet from April of this year advertising openings at the company is still pinned to the top of GGA’s twitter feed.
Many esports fans, particularly in the Dota 2 community, were speculating that the two teams under GGA would be closing their doors..
The idea that the two teams will close has been put to bed, though. The Alliance posted a statement regarding the restructuring of its famous Dota 2 team, removing Gustav “s4” Magnusson, Henrik “AdmiralBulldog” Ahnberg, and Joakim “Akke” Akterhall. According to the press release, s4 and AdmirableBulldog intend to continue as professional Dota players, but in regards to Akke, the statement reads, “Joakim has decided to leave the current team but his future with Alliance remains undecided. We will follow up with another statement in the upcoming weeks.”
Former COO of GGA and current director of creative at Twitch, Colin DeShong, stated on Twitter, “EG and Alliance aren't going anywhere. We closed down the GGA Twitter because most of our staff are now integrated into Twitch more fully.” He further clarified on a post linking to the tweet on /r/dota2 that he “didn't say the teams were being absorbed into Twitch directly”.
Team Evil Geniuses announced additions to its Halo division on August 24th, just three days before these rumours began, corroborating the idea that the teams will continue operations. Unlike Alliance, though, at the time of writing, EG is yet to release an official statement regarding its Dota 2 team. Dota 2 caster, executive producer of live events at Twitch and former member of GGA, Aaron ‘Ayesee’ Chambers, remarked on /r/dota2 that “it's a dynamic situation in which a lot still needs to be finalized, and there's more that needs to be organized on the back end before a statement is appropriate. Which is the case. Putting out a statement before everything is set in stone completely negates the purpose of an official statement.”
Some fans have begun speculating that EG will be fielding two Dota 2 squads, and the departures from their current roster are players who will be members of the newer team. It would be unorthodox to see an organization break up a team who saw a third place finish at The International, the yearly Dota 2 tournament which boasts the biggest prize pool in all of esports. The Evil Geniuses Dota team raked in over 2.1 million dollars in that event alone.
With GGA being merged completely into Twitch, it is unclear how the two teams will continue forward, or who will be at the helm of operations.
Follow the author for more of his esports work at @CyanEsports on Twitter.