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PayBackGames, the company that ironically doesn’t pay back…

Sep 1 • Features3 Comments

Unfortunately, far too often eSports athletes have to go out of their way to receive payment for the tournaments they have championed. Last night was one of those instances. Have Payback Games gone too far with their treatment of eSports athletes?

PayBackGames are a company who, for many months now, have been receiving money from PS3, Xbox 360 and PC eSports players, in return for tournament entry – a standard practice used worldwide to create highly successful and reputable businesses such as Major League Gaming, World Cyber Games and Intel Extreme Masters who pay prize money of $100,000 and more. Unfortunately, PayBackGames business practice has become questionable of late.

Over 2 months ago, reputable UK-based Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 team, TCM Gaming, entered one of PayBackGames online tournaments where they placed third, earning themselves a nice $1,000 in prizes.

“Our player Rich had signed off all the forms they provided, [he] just forgot to send them out. Without warning they’re now saying we’re not entitled to our winnings.” said MarkyB, a member of TCM Gaming.

TCM Gaming aren’t the only organisation who’ve yet to receive their prize money from PayBackGames. Another UK-based Call of Duty team, Epsilon, have yet to receive their $2,500, in similar circumstances where one player out of the team of four failed to fill out their claim form.

“We’ve played in online tournaments before and not had any of this kind of hassle. We’re just disappointed that the management at PayBackGames think it’s ok [sic] to dupe the [console eSports] scene out of their money.” said a member of Epsilon who wanted to remain anonymous.

When questioned about the situation by the community via Twitter, PayBackGames stated that their T&Cs were very clear; that all members of the team needed to submit claim forms in order for the payment to go through. They also stated that the tournament sponsor, GamerGloves, was the party who demanded these terms and who refused to pay (PayBackGames have since contradicted this claim). Both GamerGloves and PayBackGames were unresponsive when asked for comment.

When questioned, several players stated that at no point were they prompted to accept any terms and conditions when entering the tournament. However, since last night, a set of terms and conditions have turned up, which mysteriously can’t be found on their website.

Upon doing some in-depth searches of their site content on Google, it’s immediately evident that no forms containing custom terms and conditions for their competitions have ever been published to the site in any format:

T&C pic.

Currently, PayBack Games claims their site isn’t set up for hosting PDFs in this tweet:

PDF tweet.

However, a quick search shows the site actually contains two already, rather embarrassingly:

PDF search.

Additionally, services like Dropbox and Google Drive exist to make files readily available to both the public and select-access users, so there’s no excuse for a lack of available terms and conditions here at all.

Furthermore, a search of every site cache since 2011 makes it clear that they have never set up the site to host terms and conditions of any kind, at any point. Given that none of the competitors have ever seen the aforementioned near-mythical terms and conditions and there’s no record of it on the internet in any form, it seems questionable that competitors are being asked to adhere to something so intangible.

So who’s to blame for all of this confusion? Should the teams read the terms and conditions thoroughly to avoid mistakes like this? Should PayBackGames, as a tournament host, be responsible for making sure that the sponsor delivers the promised prize money? Or should the sponsors be held accountable for their ignorance of the eSports scene?

Here’s a few tweets from the community and the organisations about the situation (some of which have now been deleted):


 

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  • PrometheusIV

    First of all, you need to research the subject of your article a bit more thoroughly before you publish. It may be easier simply to ride the wave of ridicule that a few gamers may have worked together to create. However, when that wave stops you may find yourself on a pretty crappy shoreline where no one reads or takes your writing seriously anymore.

    How many Paybackgames.com gamers did you interview? Where is all of the feedback from gamers since the inception of Paybackgams.com who’ve won prizes? There have been over 300 prizes given away to FREE ENTRY tournaments or in simple first-come-first-served daily prize matches. Where is the mention to the site content of the PaybackgamesEvents.com site? The site’s content was changed after the 90-day period expired, however that was where the tournament details were kept and players had to go to that site to register and to read tournament details.

    What about all of the players and teams who DID send in their team’s information and received their cash and/or prizes? How many of them did you interview? Where is ANY real research or details regarding the site present in your article that you didn’t research online? If you’re truly going to write an article about a company to expose any possible question to their integrity, then you had better show evidence that you did ANY research to show that your approach was objective. Being a journalist means that you investigated ALL of the facts and weighed them before writing your article’s content and presented it to the public. Otherwise, you might as well be my 5-year-old jotting jibberish down on a piece of printer paper and making it up as you “read” it to me. Yeah, it can be entertaining to me as her father, but do I consider it to be news? The answer would be “No”.

    Do your research, talk to the CEO Cabe Sipes, and actually get the story behind why Paybackgames.com was formed. Then, get some real details regarding what the company HAS done for the gaming community. Talk to gamers who have been with Paybackgames.com from the beginning, instead of only the ones who jumped on board when they heard of all of the cash and prizes that they could try to siphon from their tournament without so much as a “Thank You”. Talk to the gamers and teams who DID submit their information on time and ask them, “How did you know to submit your information to Paybackgames.com in order to get your prizes?”. I think that you’ll find that not only will you need to publish a public apology, but that the pain and effort that Paybackgames.com went through to get to the point of getting a major tournament stood up for the gaming community – with no profit to keep for themselves – was significant and selfless in nature.

    • http://www.theaveragegamer.com Weefz

      Doesn’t it say right there in the article that “PayBackGames were unresponsive when asked for comment”?

  • AlphaSalmon

    Firstly, the fact that the guys forgot to fill out the form and send it off to win the prize money is very silly, although on the other hand, PBG should have informed them and given them the opportunity to fill the forma out for prompt payment.

    It seems that the way PBG have handled the situation is pretty terrible too – passing the blame on to the Sponsor, taking it back.. Insulting the players on Twitter? Very grown up. How could a company which gives substantial amounts of money away, not have their tournament entrants not sign T&C’s? I suppose that way, they are not obliged to give anything away….

    All sounds a bit fishy to me, I hope this isn’t standard practise among other sites too.

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