Quiles Talks Esports Ecosystem and Why It Matters

By Dr. Ellen Zavian

Roger Quiles grew up in the heart of New York City with a passion for sports and video games. Though initially opening a law firm with multiple areas of practice in 2014, Roger took the deep dive in 2015 – focusing solely on esports. Although the vertical focus was on a growing niche, Roger created a broad type of clientele in the ecosystem, including media platforms, teams, and players. This required him to stay abreast of the changing legal issues like intellectual property, corporate M&A, and igaming matters. Today, he is the Founding Partner of Quiles Law and a worthwhile candidate for the following interview.

Question: Why in 2015 and 2017 did you create two separate agencies, to work with gamers and how do they differ (In 2015, 1337 Sports Management, and in 2017, co-founded FTW Talent)?

Answer: During the early days of servicing the esports industry through my firm, it was quickly evident that talent (both players and content creators) needed assistance on a more ongoing basis than I was providing as their attorney. While talent was able to identify situations that had become problematic, they were not readily able to identify future issues that could be nipped in the bud at an early stage. Similarly, talent was too trusting of their employers and would blindly enter into agreements based on their personal relationships or the reputation of the other party. I created 1337 Sports Management as an ancillary business to Quiles Law to work with talent at a much closer, ongoing, level to fill those identified gaps and coach talent on what it means to professionalize their endeavors.

Q: Explain your role on the Esports Integrity Commission’s key talent agent subcommittee, which has a mission to help shape regulation for esports player agents? And, the accomplishments, to date?[RQ1] 

A: If you take a look at the many individuals and entities which are holding themselves out to be agents in the esports space, it becomes painfully obvious quite quickly that the vast majority are operating in an unlicensed manner. Unfortunately, the lack of a license has not stopped them from obtaining clients and attempting to represent them. Many are also engaging in direct conflicts of interests and will openly disclose such to talent. Recognizing this, ESIC created the key talent agent subcommittee to help define regulations that we as agents within the industry would uphold to help self-regulate the profession. In seeking to define these regulations, the subcommittee has provided members with the opportunity to voice our concerns about the state of the profession in esports and offer solutions. Two key areas are unlicensed representation and agents directly engaging in conflicts of interest. The subcommittee is tackling these issues and many more, as it makes an effort to raise the standard of what it means to operate as an esports agent.

Q: Please provide your goals while sitting on the board of Latinx in Gaming, a nonprofit organization which serves to connect, and increase the representation of, the Latinx community in the gaming industry and promote cultural appreciation.

A: From a vision perspective, my first and foremost goal for Latinx in Gaming is to increase the visibility of the many amazing Latinx peoples working on all sides of the video game industry. A common theme that I encounter from many Latinx professionals in the space is that they were unaware of the magnitude of the presence of Latinx people in the gaming industry. Realistically, if the professionals are unaware of the size of the community, then it is certainly difficult for our younger generations, who are not involved in the industry yet, to see us. In connecting those individuals and creating a platform to showcase the many disciplines that we all operate in, we then help pave the way for the future Latinx developers, programmers, artists, and even attorneys, that want to work in games. As an attorney of Puerto Rican descent, I know all to well what its like to grow up wanting to engage in a profession that seemingly didn’t have many people from my background involved. As an organization, Latinx in Gaming has the ability to help rectify that problem.

Q: Can you speak to your representation of a group of athletes who sued their owner to obtain payment for their services and how that case impacted the industry[ZEM2] ?

A: In 2018, I filed suit on behalf of five Heroes of the Storm players against their previous organization, Naventic Esports, and its then twenty-year-old owner. The suit raised several causes of action, including multiple breaches of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. Specifically, the breaches of contract were in reference to unpaid prize money from a significant international tournament and several months of unpaid compensation. In total, on contract claims alone, the players were due in excess of $50,000. By the time suit was filed, the organization had been effectively defunct for a year, as the owner no longer engaged with the organization and was unreachable by the players and the organization’s staff.

Despite the amounts in question not being particularly high, it was especially important for the players to file suit in this case against both the organization and its owner. Esports players are too often taken advantage of by organizations, especially with respect to nonpayment. These five individuals chose to take a stand and file the first such lawsuit of its kind.  Our suit established consequences where there had not previously been any.

Q: What are some of the legal issues that are coming down the pipe in esports that you are thinking about?

 [RQ1]I unfortunately can’t talk about this yet

 [ZEM2]Holt, can you link back to this article I wrote on the law suit?

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