CEO step down, forced name change and the plights of Virtus.pro
Virtus.Pro goes into a downward spiral after a series of events make their business unsustainable.
One of the CIS region’s most prominent esports organization, VP is facing staff and roster departures left, right and center. Problems started after the Ukrainian conflict commenced and escalated into full-blown organizational breakdown.
How did the Ukraine invasion affect Virtus.pro?
When the conflict first began on February 24, organizations worldwide cut ties with Russia-based companies. For instance, Weplay Esports terminated partnerships with Russian and Belarusian companies shortly after the invasion occurred. ESL, Dreamhack and BLAST Premier forced players to cut ties with their Russian host organizations and compete under different names.
Much like other industries, it led to a complete shutdown of the EEU/CIS esports scene. Epic Esports Events, the folks behind the EPICENTER, were able to keep things barely afloat in the EEU scene.
Virtus.pro was able to play under their founding team name at EPIC’s event, but not at international tournaments. Outsiders was the name chosen for both their CS:GO and Dota 2 squads. This came after GAMERS GALAXY Dubai 2022, where the team was initially forced to change their competing name. ESL & BLAST made a similar decision to force name changes or remove the teams entirely. In PUBG, VP reverted back to the older name Northern Lights which the roster used before being signed.
All of this occurred because Emin Antonyan owns ESFORCE, the holding company behind VP and EPIC. He is among the Russian oligarchs considered a personas non grata currently.
Flaunt gone too far
The first aspect alone is not what is causing the downfall of VP. Ivan “Pure” Moskalenko, lost VP the opportunity to play at Dota 2’s Stockholm Major 2022. The reason, drawing a Z symbol on the mini-map during an official match in DPC EEU Tour 2 Playoffs. This, of course, didn’t go unnoticed, an Valve didn’t hesitate to disqualify VP from the event. VP kicked Pure instantly, ending his contract which lasted only six months.
As the initial decision came through, the team also parted ways with coach boolk and genereal manager F1y1eaf who both left the team. Rumors are that almost the entire VP roster will be “overhauled” soon.
CEO steps down from Virtus.pro
Amidst this entire drama, Sergey Glamazda stepped down as CEO of VP.
During his tenure (since January 2020) he accomplished many feats, which enabled VP to reach top-5 in total prize money won, raking $4.4 million. Fifth-sixth place at the International 2021 (TI10) in Dota 2, back to back PCS trophies and a 3rd spot at PUBG Global Championship. VP’s CS:GO team also got back on the map, entering the top-10 rankings on several occasions and peaking at 3rd .
Following his departure, ESforce announced they will be taking direct control over all Virtus.Pro operations and all decisions will be made directly from the holding company.
The state of Virtus.pro
As of now, we can expect Virtus.pro (Outsiders) to participate in the DPC EEU Tour 3, with a new roster or a severely overhauled one. They will, of course, be complying with the name change. In CS:GO, the team is still tied to the organization. We’ve already witnessed Gambit’s roster get snatched away by Cloud9, and there is a serious possibility the same happens to Outsiders. We will know by the time the summer break rolls around. VP’s PUBG roster is already competing with the old name Northern Lights, and will likely easily re-sign with another organization if the offer comes through. At this point, only the Rainbow Six roster seems to be staying put and not prone to pouching.
Which direction the new ESforce “overlords” choose is yet unknown. We might just see a full organizational shift within the organization come summer.