Bandai Namco and NetherRealm have announced that they will no longer be working with WePlay as an esports tournament organising partner.
Both companies made their announcements with short statements via Twitter.
WePlay have been organising esports tournaments, including for DOTA 2, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and League of Legends. This recently extended to fighting games with the inaugural WePlay esports Ultimate Fighting League, which took place from March 25 to April 11.
Both Bandai Namco and NetherRealm had their fighting games Soulcalibur VI, Tekken 7 and Mortal Kombat 11 used in the league.
However, both publishers have confirmed today (April 30) that they will no longer work allow their games to be used in future WePlay tournaments, citing “differences in vision”. Bandai Namco further adds there is also a difference in “professional standards”.
— Bandai Namco Esports (@BNEesports) April 30, 2021
— NetherRealm (@NetherRealm) April 30, 2021
The decision is believed to have been the result of backlash from the fighting game community over WePlay’s partnership with 1xBet last month. Final Round tournament organiser Adam Schefter posted a Twitter thread outlining his thoughts on why the partnership could potentially seem like a problem.
“I know that in the FGC we are all about trying to secure the bag,” he tweeted. “But make sure that bag isn’t stolen first pls.”
Uh… listen y'all, I know that in the FGC we are all about trying to secure the bag.
But make sure that bag isn't stolen first pls.
A thread as to why WePlay partnering with 1xBet is a PROBLEMhttps://t.co/UCUBikf95Y
— Icege a.k.a. FGC Adam Schefter (@Icege) April 7, 2021
Schefter also links to an investigation by The Sunday Times into 1xBet, which reported that “the company’s UK website was taken down after a Sunday Times investigation into its global activities, which included promoting a “pornhub casino,” bets on children’s sports, and advertising on illegal websites.”
WePlay has since defended that it is striving to raise the standards of their tournaments and said that the announcements from Bandai Namco and NetherRealm had caught them by surprise.
“Since WUFL began and after the event finished, we tried to discuss the future seasons, go over feedback, and address the first season with both NRS and Bandai but have had no reponse,” its statement on Twitter said.
“Our vision and dedication to the FGC have not changed, and we will continue to move forward by making amazing and events that the community deserves.”
— WUFL | #WePlayUFL (@WePlayUFL) April 30, 2021
The statement makes no reference to its partnership with 1xBet.