Origen rebranding to Astralis – Good or Bad move?

The Astralis group announced it will be merging all of its teams and interests into one unified brand. The Origen League of Legends team name will be changed to Astralis for the upcoming season. The decision has led to a “mixed” reception from fans. This coupled with a few high profile departures, seems to put the team in a weird place at the moment.

With Worlds 2020 just around the corner and Origen not being part of it once again, Astralis felt its time to completely revamp the organization. The cost however, might be a loyal following and outraged fans that are not that easy to replace. The Origen name pulls a lot of weight in European League of Legends, and we are not quite sure Astralis knows how many of the fans are only in it for the name.

The merger itself is motivated largely from a branding perspective. Beyond a simple name change, this move will allow Astralis to unify everything with one logo and brand. It has its benefits for the other areas of their Esports interests, but for League of Legends fans, this has stung a little bit. There are a few deeper factors that can show why fans are so upset about the Origen Astralis merger.

Origen Astralis merger

It is a bit of a misnomer to call it an Origen / Astralis merger since the teams have been linked for a few years now. This move does bring them into the larger Astralis brand going forward.

The benefit of this is to give all teams the same branding, simplifying merchandising and social media. It could also help any smaller interests bolstered by the two biggest teams under Astralis. If Astralis has a presence in any other game, the legitimacy of that team is increased by its presence in other games.

The social media unification was one factor that was claimed to be a slight motivator. This has been a bit of a sticking point for fans though. Essentially, the Origen LoL account had more followers than any other for Astralis. Furthermore, the Origen name is a big reason why so many people followed the organization. In order to ‘unify’ the brands, Astralis simply changed the names of the bigger account. This kind of gives the impression that the LoL team is being watered down to benefit the rest.

Origen’s founder xPeke is also going to be stepping back from the team. He will just be a shareholder in Astralis, rather than actively involved. While teams don’t live and die by one person, shunting a fan-favorite name in the scene to the background during a rebrand hasn’t helped Astralis keep fans happy about things.

What Do Fans Think of the Rebrand?

Many fans of the team don’t particularly see this as a positive move. Astralis was praised for keeping the brand name alive when franchising came along. They made a fan favorite into a franchised team and brought the main organization thousands of followers. But this recent move is now removing all they have built, and the loyal Origen only fanbase.

If you’ve been following a team for a while and bought merch to support them, it can be disappointing to have that name thrown out. Couple it with throwing out one of the most important people to that organization, and you likely get some big fans feeling burned by Astralis.

Not everyone has reacted negatively though, some have shown a decent sense of humor or even acknowledged that this might be a positive.

Always has been Astralis

Twitter / 30Spence

It is easy to see why some feel a little hurt by the move. However in Astralis terms, having unified teams going forward does give greater scope for all involved teams to grow. It also seems unlikely that such a big name was forced to step back rather than simply opting to.

Deficio has also taken this as the time to part ways with Origen. The legend is leaving the brand after being the GM since the start of Origen’s LEC run.

A lot of change is happening at Origen and Astralis. Between staff changes and the overall name/branding, fans are in for a bit of a period for an adjustment.

While it is tempting to just think “what’s in a name?”, fans who develop an attachment to their favorite team might not take it so slightly. It’s clear that the current climate hasn’t been any kinder to Esports groups than any other business. Unifying things going forward might give Astralis a better shot at getting better results.

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