The wait to see where ex-TSM CS:GO pros Team Question Mark has ended, and it turns out they're not going anywhere - they're building something new. Astralis, their newly formed company with a name bought from an old Finnish team, is a joint venture between the players, tech start-up investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Sunstone Capital. What's interesting about the deal is that unlike in most eSports organisations, the players have a stake in the company behind the team.
CS:GO is a good FPS, but is it the best FPS? Only you can decide.
The team remains unchanged, other than adding a dedicated coach into their roster. It's a deal that's been in the works for some time and seemed the best option for all involved, despite multiple offers. They say that this level of control is necessary to avoid "worries over on-time salary payouts, dodgy contracts, exhausting streaming demands and gear problems."
Reading between the lines, it's rather easy to see how unamiacable the split from TSM must have been to result in such measures. Securing investment in new companies is not easy, even with the massive and continued growth of eSports. These folks they're dealing with might be passionate fans, but they're business people first and foremost, and they'll want to see a return on what they put in. Part of the reason it took so long for eSports to get off the ground is that isn't simple in this sector.
The benefits, though, are obvious. Players are encouraged to be as open as they like about anything within the origanisation, because it is theirs. They're less likely to have a quick Reddit or Twitter pop-off from being disgruntled too. The main question being lobbied is what's the deal with roster changes inevitably happen, and there's due to be an AMA where these sorts of details are answered tonight. Companies part- or wholly-owned by their employees are hardly a new idea though, so there will be defined structures for them to follow.
You can read more on the official site, or through the answers to the Reddit thread. The team's first large tournament will be DreamHack Leipzig this weekend. Hopefully they can hit a strong finish in brand-new jerseys.