Joel – I think it is too hopeful. Comparing League to Dota 2 is narrow, but for a brief presentation, it was useful shorthand. I know there are other crowdfunding systems in other games’ scenes, but no other scene depends on it in the same way, or to the same degree. For me, what the LoL/Dota 2 pairing offers is two extremes of a spectrum of institutionalization – Valve’s laissez-faire system vs. Riot’s extremely structured one.
I don’t think LoL is necessarily doing things right, but I do think it’s doing better because it’s providing a decent living for more players. To me, that matters more than a small minority getting rich; I think it’s egregious that some players in Dota 2 can make $2 million in a weekend while others can barely pay their rent.
This is where politics becomes inescapable, and is probably a fundamental difference between our views. I think it’s bad that Dota 2 is more capitalist because I’m a socialist and I think capitalism sucks. Maybe it is a player’s market, but that doesn’t count for much when the market only really “works” for a few players. As for player-owned teams, it’s a different discussion. I’m there for them, but we shouldn’t be shy about the fact that most of them (including Origen) get into deep shit because players often don’t have the skills needed to run an esports organization in a crowded, dynamic market. And as for “floating down,” that sounds a bit like trickle down and in esports – as in American history – it’s largely an excuse to push equity to an unrealized future and distract people from inequality in the present.