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Global esports bodies agree on universal principles of fair play and respect

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Esports bodies from Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand have teamed up on “a unifying set of principles” designed to promote fair play and respect amongst players.

With esports expected to attract more than half a billion viewers in 2019 - up from just over 100 million in 2012 - it must accommodate increasing levels of participation from broader communities around the world.

A series of four principles has been agreed upon that will shape the nature of forthcoming events and tournaments:

  • Safety and well-being: All esports community members deserve to participate in and enjoy esports in safe spaces and to be free from threats and acts of violence and from language or behaviour that makes people feel threatened or harassed.
  • Integrity and fair play: Cheating, hacking or otherwise engaging in disreputable, deceitful or dishonest behaviour detracts from the experience of others, unfairly advantages teams and players and tarnishes the legitimacy of esports.
  • Respect and diversity: Whether in person or online, all members of the esports community should demonstrate respect and courtesy to others, including teammates, opponents, game officials, organisers and spectators.
  • Positive and enriching game play: Esports can help build self-confidence and sportsmanship and boost interpersonal communication and teamwork skills.

As esports enters the mainstream, interest from traditional broadcasters is heating up. America’s largest sport’s network ESPN started covering tournaments in 2016.

The extra attention garnered also brings greater scrutiny than in the past. The recent furore around Blizzard’s suspension of a pro Hearthstone player after he spoke in support of Hong Kong protestors has caused a major backlash against the company.

This week, pro Fortnite player FaZe Jarvis was issued a lifetime ban by the game’s developers Epic after he was found to have been using 'aimbots' during live matches to increase his chances of victory.

“Our esports community includes the game publishers and intellectual property owners whose games are at the core of the esports ecosystem, as well as the players, teams and tournament organisers who bring this vibrant community to life,” a statement from video game industry associations reads.

“As members of this community, we created these guiding principles to foster an esports environment that is vibrant, engaging, fair and fun for everyone. As esports continues to grow, collectively we support an ecosystem of play that can be enjoyed by all members of the community – from international competitions to local community events.”

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