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TheSlaSH about G7

What’s your role in G7?
I am one of the two spokesmen of the group together with Craig Levine, former 3D owner and manager.

Together with him and some of the members that are also within the G7 we initiated the whole project while CPL World Tour Finals in New York a couple of years ago.

How did the idea for G7 come up?

I am not sure who said it out loud at first, but the idea was in the heads of Sam Mathews, Craig Levine, Cengiz Tüylü and myself to begin with. At the CPL world tour finals in New York we had the initial talk about the whole project and agreed to work it out and get G7 going.

Do you get any compensation for working with G7?

None of us did, no. And that is not the point. Whatever G7 becomes in the future remains to be seen, but it is a non profit organization. Though at some point we might have to pay for manpower if it gets more and more time consuming.

If I say that G7 is an organization that only exists to promote your own teams – how close am I to the truth? Explain.

Actually you are wrong. We explain exactly what we do in our three main goals, but the idea in short for those that don't want to read too much: We try to set standards for eSport where possible. We also try to correct imbalances or mistakes and drive eSport in the direction it should go to. That means stable organizations at all ends. Teams of course, but also tournaments and leagues, players and media. We do believe that the experience the individuals and teams within G7 bring to the table is a great combination to achieve this goal.

A closer look: when we offer help with prize money issues, we help each and every player within eSport that won at a tournament, no matter if he/she is with a G7 team or not. We collect all data and confront the organizers with it. We try everything in our power to enforce payouts or payment plans. We can't drag it to court yet but we can build a lot of pressure and that is what we do. We could be considered the muscle of eSport here. Every player out there will benefit from such action, G7 or not.

In what way does G7 act as a support for the individual players?

As described above we are working on issues that affect any player. We released the G7 player contract. Any player in the world can make his team use this contract or an adapted version of it. It is important to understand that this contract is not the one and only, but it contains all important arguments for the relationship between player and his team and a balance between the parties. This way anyone can easily negotiate a fair contract with his team. I guess this is nothing the G7 teams themselves really needed. We have contracts for a long time, but new teams or new players might find it useful to have something to check out and learn from or in best case use.

There’s been rumors that fnatic is planning to part from G7 because SK and Mousesports has an informal collaboration in which they exclusively vote on each other’s proposals. How’s the unity in G7?

Well, there is always people within the group that work closer with each other for sure. Also interests collide. As much as we are working with each other within the group, we are still rivals, competitors and that is something you will always see in discussions. We can fight within the group as discussions sometimes have very different interests within the teams but in the end G7 is all about democracy and we try to go for larger majorities rather than a 4 on 3 vote.

I haven't heard of this rumour, but I will make sure to ask Sam about it.

When you sanctioned zonerank as an official ranking for G7, SK miraculously climbed 20 positions in one month. How was this ever possible?

Not sure, would have to look it up.

I know we did adjustments to the formula behind Zonerank back in the days at one point and those adjustments were worked out by a task force Sam was heavily involved with. If SK benefitted, then it was pure math and logical arguments behind. But Zonerank is history now. If you want to investigate this further, I would ask you to get details on it so I can answer properly.

Right now we are working with our own formula which is described on our website in detail. Of course there is adjustments from time to time, but you have to understand, the ranking itself is two years old now. We gather information on the system just as you do and the formula is no secret. The arguments we wanted to cover with the ranking seem to be covered quite good at the moment but adjustments might be necessary for 2010.

On Zonerank you can see the hughe difference between june 2007 (when zonerank was its own ranking) and july when you sanctioned zonerank as an official G7-ranking.

The way the ranking was calculated was changed from June to July, that is a given. How exactly I am not too sure of, if we could see the news on Zonerank, we would know. It has a lot to do with the argument that the past of a team needed to be considered. The very first points in the G7 ranking for WC3 and CS were collected starting in 2003. Zonerank was starting in 2007 I guess. When they asked us to sanction their ranking, we agreed but only if the formula to calculate the ranking with would be adapted in a way explained above. This was executed between June and July, therefore comparing them will only lead to one conclusion: mathmatics behind are very different. As we know Zoneranks business model did not work out long term. G7 always thought a ranking was needed, therefore we reactivated our effort from the time before we talked to Zonerank and revived the project of the G7 ranking. So far we adapted it once slightly and we might do so again in 2010, as we see smaller flaws, but all in all we are satisfied the way it works right now.

Team 3D who wasn’t even playing 1.6 at the time were amongst the top 10 on the ranking. I feel you deceived the community by posting a rank with such bias towards the G7 teams. What’s your take? (note: the leading team Pentagram actually joined G7 one month later)

Quite simple. One of the key facts of this ranking is that it has a long term approach. Teams that have been successful lose points slowly over time. The reason is simple. We want to show which brands did a good job over time. So even if fnatic would only place 3-5 in tournaments 2010, it would still be quite a challenge to get pass them for lower seeded teams because fnatic had such strong years now. So 3D was basically ranked on a ballance from the past and the present. That is the reason. Again, it is one of the arguments we wanted to see in the ranking. Show long term good work of organizations with their teams.

The ranking does not say "this is the best team right now". such a ranking would be determined by each and every tournament at any given point of time. The G7 ranking is more complex than that. I hope my answer made it a little clearer. I also hope people go to the G7 website and look up the rules and mechanics this ranking works under.

Also I love to see discussions on the ranking. Anyone has his own position on which team is the best atm. If the G7 ranking helps to open the discussion on this topic, I am happy.

Did G7 help H2k when SK refused to pay for khrystal and face, or is it only when the fighting party isn’t a G7-team you can expect such help?

Tricky question as I can answer two ways here:

As G7 spokesman - no, G7 as an organization did not have to work on this case.

As the one making the deal - no, G7 did not have to be involved. I negotiated the deal with H2k and their lawyer and we found a deal that fits all parties. The result is known, both players were released from their contracts at H2k and are under contract with SK Gaming now.

The transparency in G7 is second to none. Why can’t we see on your website what different roles you have within the organization?

It is quite simple. Within the group every team/member has the same position. If we decide something, we vote and the majority rules. Every member has the same rights within the group. There is no difference. In terms of spokesmen, we only represent the group to the outside in interviews like this. Right now the group has 7 "votes" for any decision. SK, Fnatic, EG, mibr, Mouz, Complexity and Craig Levine (he stayed with G7 even though 3D dispanded with the fall of CGS). That's how we work.

Anyone from the group can open a topic, but we try to stick to 5-6 at a time to push decisions and processes.

You may forget that each and everyone involved is running his own business and does G7 totally voluntarily.

You’ve written on your website that G7 promotes e-sport. But as far as I can see it, you haven’t actually done anything except standard contracts, boycotting CPL and publishing statements about what you’re going to do. Do you agree?

I do and I don't.

It is part of the concept that sometimes you can't see our work. Some fights or discussions stay behind closed curtains and all you see is A result. With respect to the process we don't walk around saying we did this and we did that. We rather keep discussions to ourselves sometimes just because it works better for all sides involved.

We did settle player transfer arguments in the past. We did work with organizers on a better distribution of prize money (some of it is being used to have a dedicated travel budget for smaller teams that could not afford to travel to an event if it wasn't for this budget) and many more.

The community tends to underestimate the whole process of unsolved prize money issues. Of course you read feedback here and there in forums, but getting far more than 100 mails on the topic, reading all of them, creating a list, approaching the organizers in a professional way, following up on them and working on the consequences, that is a lot of work. You will have to understand that G7 does not have to do this. Usually if the bigger teams knocked the doors of organizers, they reacted and worked with us. This here is different, this is not for G7, this is for all players that are missing money. It is probably the largest "protest" our community has ever seen so far.

Do you really think it’s enough to write one news article each year?

No, I don't.

I do see a downside of G7 in this question of yours. But I also believe that websites like your own should take a closer look into what we do, talk to us more regularly. This is two sided of course. We need to be more active here as well and we will for sure. We have nothing to hide at all. Though you might not get an answer to anything we do, you will understand way more what G7 is trying to achieve.

Unfortunately our community has shifted more and more into a direction where people envy each other and rather talk bad than good about the doings of others.

Instead of looking at possible downsides and trying to explore them all of us need to realize that the beauty of eSport lies in the positive we create. The players, the teams, the organizers, the magazines and the fans that is.

G7 is playing an important role in this process and we are aware of the responsibility we have. We will improve.

In 2008 you parted ways with coL and team 3d because they weren’t independent enough since they joined CGS. Still you are deeply involved in ESL. How come one thing is okey, but not the other?

ESL stands for the policy of an open platform and market. Teams and players that participate in ESL are not forced not to play other leagues. CGS tried to close down the market for their own participants, so they were the opposite of what ESL as an example stands for.

G7 is build for and within the free and open market, therefore neither Complexity nor 3D could contribute to the group as it was a different approach they were working with at the time.
Fortunately CGS did not work out and things have changed.

Also you need to understand that we are working close with almost every organization out there. Kode5, WCG, ESWC, all of these names could be mentioned here. ESL though is pushing from their end as well, which is good. They seek the open discussion and want to work with us. Probably more than others. This does not mean we prefer them over others at all. We are trying to keep the lines open with anyone out there, but we need the other side to be active ion the process as well.

In your statement regarding prize money you downplayed the criticism against ESL, but it is not in your interest to portrait ESL in a good manner?

ESL improved their ways of communication and payment within the process of talking to them. It was probably not that high on their agenda, but after several discussions, they made it a priority to settle this issue at their end. SK just received Chendu prize money, so we can say ESL is doing their job the way they are supposed to. They had trouble with the process, but they worked it out. That is important. There are others that did not have problems here at all and we mentioned them specifically. They are top in this argument.

ESL wasn't but was catching up and working on it. Others simply fail to work on it or try to ignore their wrong policy. A brand like CPL that was so prestigious should really be ashamed of what they have become these days.

So to sum it up: You have top brands in this field, we mentioned them. You have those that really had to improve and did. Those are the ones we did not black mail because they managed to improve a lot. But you also have the ones that try to screw up actively and those are the ones we will have to very careful about. We need to try and make sure that money is only spent at organizations that use it for eSport and not for their own good.

In a video on SK-Gaming you openly criticized Sam Matthews of fnatic, because he didn’t want his players to be interviewed by competing teams such as SK. Did this cause any problems within G7?

Sam and I have a past and we respect each other. If a video like this pops up once in a while, you might not see the irony in it, but that's ok, We actually never talked about the video ever since. dsn on the other hand has his revenge and it was a good one, trust me.

So no, G7 was not involved at all and did not have to settle anything. Whenever teams or managers have problems with each other, we talk to each other directly. Of course we have different views on things and sometimes we need to discuss heavily, but that is part of the competition we live in.

On a personal side, not talking eSport at all, the communication between people is way different. I am happy the ones involved in G7 see it the very same way.

In 2007 you announced that G7 were thinking about organizing a tournament. What happened?

We still think there needs to be one event at the end of a calender year with the top 10 or so teams attending from the G7 ranking. The season should have a proper ending each and every year for all of us to look back at a year and discuss who was top and who wasn't. This is the initial thought we had on our minds when we expressed the idea in 2007.

A project like this doesn't have to be organized by G7 at all, but it should be worked out with G7. It is still something we are looking at and we will have discussions about it in 2010 for sure. If we can find the right way to approach it remains to be seen for now.

There is highlights throughout each year. We just feel like eSport could use one more.

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