AGES 2016 - where is the missing money?
By Ajith Ram September 9, 2016
- Winners of AGES2016 eSport event yet to be paid
- Disconnected phone and no response to queries
IT was the event that propelled Malaysia into the eSports major league arena. Announced with an eye-catching total RM1 million prize haul, the AGES2016 event generated a lot of buzz. Now, a full three months after the sound and fury, the winners and some of the social media streamers are yet to be paid.
AGES2016 claimed to be South-East Asia's 'first official tournament' for FIFA 16, Dota 2 and CS:Go. You can see the official site here.
The event had endorsements from hardware manufacturer Asus, telecom service provider Telekom Malaysia Bhd and Malaysia's leading non-profit agency for promoting eSports, Esports Malaysia (ESM). The event itself was organised by an unlikely party, mining company Platinum Eden Sdn Bhd.
Platinum's website says the company's "core business is in energy commodities particularly in coal industry. Our team of expertise boasts extensive experienced coal-mining connoisseurs conversant in Indonesian coal business and successful management and legal professionals."
In addition to coal mining 'expertise' and some patchy English, Platinum Eden can now add AGES2016 to their list of achievements. DNA tried to contact the company via the phone, fax and email listed on their website. According to telephone and broadband provider, Time dotCom, the phone is now disconnected. At the time of publication, DNA has received no response to its emails as well.
But we did get a message from the event management agency for AGES2016, Friends Worldwide. "Friends Worldwide acts only as the event manager for AGES2016 and not the party responsible to disburse the prize pool money. The organiser and endorser for this event are Platinum Eden Sdn Bhd and ESM respectively. We are truly sorry for this inconvenience, however rest assured the organisers are working hard to fulfil their commitments to all affected players."
DNA contacted ESM about AGES2016 and the missing money. Rinie Ramli, the Secretary General of ESM replied via email that ESM is "currently waiting for the latest status from the organiser Platinum Eden Sdn Bhd. We will keep you updated once we receive it. While waiting we have launched an official form to compile all reports from the winners as evidence for further action if needed."
Our further queries on what 'action' ESM planned to take against Platinum Eden have not yet been answered.
This is not the first time that Platinum Eden and AGES2016 have stirred up controversy. The event itself was delayed due to the disconnection of a TM undersea cable. Then there was further confusion and anger among players when the organisers accused FACEIT, a UK-based eSports company of reducing the DOTA2 qualifying time to just 60 minutes. The organisers later clarified that the decision had nothing to do with FACEIT.
In a Facebook posting, Platinum Eden had hinted at payment within 90 days. That period is now over and payments are still pending. For instance, Marie France Hernandez, the Mineski gaming team's manager has confirmed to DNA that they have not received any payments for being one of the winners. Also, Platinum Eden has not even requested their bank account details to send payments.
For several months now, the eSport media have been highlighting the mystery of the missing money. But the story is yet to get real traction in the general IT media.
On their website, Platinum Eden says the company "Builds trust and transparency. Trust and transparency, in turn, build the right environment for our people, our clients, our suppliers, our stakeholders and the communities in which we work."
It is not very clear how the company can build trust by delaying payments, disconnecting telephones and not responding to queries about the missing money. Like the name of the event itself, there is a very good chance that the winners might have to wait 'ages' to get paid - if at all.
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