Bandai Namco and NetherRealm Studios, the makers of Tekken 7 and Mortal Kombat 11 respectively, have publicly announced to not feature their games on future WePlay tournaments and esports events. Previously, both companies have hosted a lot of money in Tekken 7, SoulCalibur VI, and Mortal Kombat 11 tournaments the past month or so.
— Bandai Namco Esports (@BNEesports) April 30, 2021
— NetherRealm (@NetherRealm) April 30, 2021
WePlay responded, stating that it was shocked at these turn of events.
— WUFL | #WePlayUFL (@WePlayUFL) April 30, 2021
As you can tell, both companies are using the same template for their messaging, citing differences in “vision” & “professional standards”. Why did they sever ties with WePlay? After all, they managed to host its Ultimate Fighting League circuit with a nice total prize pool of US$150,000.
Well, the organization was recently infamous for its public relationship with controversial gambling site 1xBet. This was detailed in great detail by community organizer Josh “Icege” McWhorter.
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
See, 1xBet was suspended from operating in the United Kingdom in 2019 for facilitating gambling on children’s sports in Kenya, advertising on illegal streaming sites, and promoting a “pornhub casino” with topless female dealers. Also, the company’s alleged owners were wanted by the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation as of August 2020.
Here’s a statement on why WePlay wants to partner with 1xBet:
“The purpose of the WePlay Esports and 1xBet partnership is the expansion of the esports scene and the opportunities for everyone involved in it. We are aware of the fact that 1xBet does not operate in certain countries. 1xBet has assured us that the brand abides by all the relevant laws and regulations in every jurisdiction in which it operates.”
Perhaps WePlay’s ties with such an organization were the reason both game makers are pulling out of future WePlay esports tournaments. It’s not made known or clear, but it can’t be a mere coincidence.