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The Internet Is Clowning On This Esports Exam

A new organization called the Esports Certification Institute (ECI) announced the debut of its certification program, which aims to help others enter the esports space. The certification exam supposedly grills test takers on what industry professionals consider the most valuable esports knowledge.

"Traditionally, getting hired in esports has sometimes been more about who you know than what you know," the organization tweeted. "We're trying to solve this problem."

The intent seemed noble enough. ECI even offered a pay-what-you-want (essentially free) study guide for those interested in checking out the cert. However, onlookers found that the exam seemed like it had less to do with the industry and more to do with mathematics.

Joe Pokrzywa, Director of Operations and Strategy for NRG, screenshotted some of the questions from the study guide and shared them on social media. "These are real questions from the ECI's practice exam.... LOL what," he captioned the post. 

Pokrzywa's tweet, along with others that discovered similar issues, spread through esports spaces like wildfire. What the internet considered pointless questions, along with the $400 fee for the certification, have sparked an outrage.

One of said questions read: "A player is practicing their accuracy and has set a target of 80% average accuracy in six games. In their first five games, they averaged 78% accuracy. What must the player's accuracy be in the last game to achieve their goal of 80% accuracy across the six games?"

The exam consists of an essay portion and two-part multiple choice test. The Data Comprehension section, which received most of the flak, makes up more than half the multiple choice questions. These SAT-quality questions have stumped even famous esports figures. Nadeshot was particularly amused by the test screenshots. The 100 Thieves founder tweeted, "Somebody get me a scantron so I can flunk out of Esports in disastrous fashion."

The $400 fee only fanned the flames — not just for the amount, but for what the price tag meant. "Seems like the wrong way to go, making it even harder for people to get into the industry by putting jobs possibly behind a 400$ Certificate paywall, the opposite of their mission statement," tweeted award-winning esports host Eefje Depoortere.

ECI didn't seem to directly address the criticism or insults hurled at their organization. Instead, co-founder Ryan Friedman, who has worked with multiple orgs like Immortals and Dignitas, stood behind what the organization aims to accomplish.

"Even today, many do not have the infrastructure nor executive will to support in-depth HR processes to vet thousands of applicants. As a result, the space tends to overvalue previous experience," he said. Friedman took an unpaid internship that helped him get his first esports job at Immortals, but said "people ought to be paid to work." Ideally, ECI-certified applicants could skin right to a paid position. He also mentioned offering scholarships, though he didn't specify how many. 

Friedman might not be alone, considering the long list of industry professionals who do support ECI. But, even if the certificate does increase or verify esports knowledge, a good chunk of esports peers are unimpressed. With esports finally coming to the Olympics, all eyes are on newer companies like ECI.