Former Dignitas and Houston Rockets execs launch Esports Certification Institute

27 April 2021


Former Dignitas Chief of Staff Ryan Friedman and Houston Rockets’ ex-VP of Esports Sebastian Park have banded together to launch the Esports Certification Institute (ECI).

According to the release, ECI will create and administer a merit-based examination and certification programme for the esports industry. The initiative is focused on promoting ‘meritocracy, fostering professionalism, and increasing diversity and inclusion in esports’.

Update (April 30th): Following criticism received from the esports community, ECI has paused its signups and is refunding those who have paid for the exam or study guide. The institute has said that it plans to rethink its process. 

Image credit: ECI

RELATED: Newcastle College launches esports programme with Newcastle United Foundation

The programme aims to set a standard in the industry for esports expertise, whilst also increasing a person’s ability to gain related employment with the help of an ECI certificate. The inaugural exam consists of 120 multiple choice questions and one essay. The exam focuses on ‘Esports Knowledge, Statistical Literacy, and Problem Solving’.

Exams will be open to anyone inside or outside the esports industry. A study guide will be offered with a ‘pay what you can afford’ model, using the proceeds to enable low-income applicants to access the test. ECI says it is also ‘actively engaged’ with educational programmes to help identify and sponsor future talent.

Ryan Friedman, Co-Founder of ECI, commented: “Despite massive industry growth in the past five years, securing a career in esports is still often more about who you know than what you can do. The Esports Certification Institute is uniquely positioned to bring standardisation and professionalism to the talent acquisition process in esports while offering a way for applicants to stand out.”

Once certified, ‘ECI professionals’ will have access to new networking opportunities, career-advancing resources, and Q&A with advisors.

ECI’s advisory board is comprised of various esports industry leaders, including:

  • Krista Hiner, Esports Attorney and Partner at ESG Law
  • Eunice Chen, Cloud 9 Advisor and Founder
  • Sean ‘Day[9]’ Plott, esports & gaming personality
  • Nicole LaPointe Jameson, Evil Geniuses CEO
  • Tricia Sugita, FlyQuest CEO
  • Donald Boyce, Cloud 9 VP
  • Chris Park, Gen.G CEO
  • Jens Hilgers, BITKRAFT Ventures Founding Partner
  • Scott Rupp, BITKRAFT Ventures Founding Partner
  • Malte Barth BITKRAFT Ventures Founding Partner

[primis_video widget=”5183″]

RELATED: EA and Learfield IMG announce ‘Level Next’ college league

The advisory board will be responsible for contributing questions to the ECI exam. Members will also offer regular guidance to ECI graduates that have been hired by their respective companies. The purpose of this will be to ensure that the institute is instrumental for the long-term success of the esports industry.

FlyQuest CEO, Tricia Sugita, added: “Similar to standard financial certifications, candidates demonstrate their knowledge and skills through a rigorous examination to ensure critical competencies necessary to work in esports. Becoming an ECI certified professional sets job-seekers apart from other applicants and is the next step of professionalisation in esports.”

Esports Insider says: The nascent and ever-evolving esports industry is run by a variety of professionals with and without previous video game experience. There are, however, basic principles and skills one needs to succeed that crossover into this space. It will be interesting to see how this certification programme goes and whether a multitude of sectors, such as esports journalism and media, would benefit from taking it as well.

Read The Esports Journal