Selfless owner Ryu on dropping CS:GO team: ‘We’re not in any rush to jump back in’

Yahoo Esports
Selfless Gaming no longer has a CS:GO team. (Selfless Gaming)
Selfless Gaming no longer has a CS:GO team. (Selfless Gaming)

Esports organization Selfless Gaming recently parted ways with its Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team. Detailed in an announcement from the organization, players Jacob “kaboose” MacDonald, Terry “dsr” Ryu, Chris “cJ-dA-K1nG” Jones, Coby “dizzywi” Meadows, and Alec “slemmy” White were released from the team.

Selfless Gaming was founded in February 2016. The organization currently has teams and players in Super Smash Bros., Overwatch, Rocket League, and Killer Instinct.

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Following the news, Yahoo Esports interviewed the team’s CS:GO coach and owner Steve “Ryu” Rattacasa about the decision to part ways with the players, whether the organization will still be looking to recruit in North America, and why the roster underwent so many changes in the last few years.

According to Ryu, most of the decision to drop its CS:GO line-up was “self-induced.” While the team had profited from the sale of player Vincent “Brehze” Cayonte to NRG in December 2016, it came at the cost of lowering the roster’s overall skill level.

“I truly believe [Brehze is] one of the best players in the region. That was a major blow to the team in overall skill, but unlike most of our peers, we actually need to generate revenue, and player transactions is a way we’ve done that,” Ryu said.

Selfless’ CS:GO team has had lukewarm competitive results in the last 12 months. The team placed 5th-8th at the iBUYPOWER Invitational 2017 – Spring and failed to make it out of the DreamHack Austin 2017 NA Closed Qualifiers. Their last win was at the WESG 2016 Americas Finals tournament, which was hosted in October 2016.

The roster was also subject to frequent changes. According to Ryu, the loss of Brehze was what started the constant roster shuffling that went on to occur throughout the season, leading to an eventual roster disbandment.

“Given the results we had as a team, and the regular (and expected, mind you) selling of our best players, it just didn’t make sense to continue being a farm team in the professional division,” Ryu said. “Beyond that, the players we maintained didn’t have the kind of personal brand strength, stream viewership, social media presence, etc. for us to land any significant sponsors or generate revenue in the more traditional ways, especially when added to the decline in (at least our) viewership in ESL’s Pro League on YouTube this season.

His description of players who lacked strength of brand was not surprising, as the team had often picked up younger, less experienced players. This was an intentional tactic, Ryu revealed.

It’s part of the model we’ve adapted into. The cost of the younger, lesser experienced players is significantly less than the proven veterans, and it also provides the ability to develop the talent, and give them the opportunity to advance in their careers somewhere else if they seize said opportunity, generating some cash flow along the way,” he said.

It looks like the organization is not actively vying to make a return to the CS:GO scene any time soon, but Ryu did not rule out the notion completely.

“I’m not sure what the future will bring for us on the CS:GO side,” he said. “The scene is extremely competitive and flooded with external money that drives prices way up and makes building contenders a fiscal challenge. We’ll sit back and evaluate what happens in the offseason, and if any opportunities that make sense appear, we’ll move quickly. That said, we’re not in any rush to jump back in.”

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