eGameFame — SK-Gaming: Been There Done That
SK-Gaming, one of the top MGO’s in the world, is the topic of today’s discussion. Before your brain goes into overtime trying to figure out what SK stands for, I will tell you. It stands for Schroet Kommando. Now that you know what it stands for, you’re probably wondering what it means exactly and how they came up with something, well, like Schroet? It seems that Schroet means Shrapnel and it seems that they would scream it out whenever anyone got their hands on a shotgun. SK-gaming started in Germany in 1997 by four brothers and three of their friends primarily as a Quake clan.
The original clan played Quake, and only Quake, though, in their defense, they did play all of the Quake’s. Playing Quake, Quake 2 and Quake 3: Arena competitively (obviously) and later getting other teams on board. They are the first organisation to have an all female team (yes, they beat Fragdolls and Fnatic and all the others). But all this only got kick started in the early 2000’s when Andreas “bds” Thorstensson joined the group and took over the site management wherein they became the first site to charge subscribers for premium content (known as the “SK insider”). Alright, less talk about management and more about the group, so let’s move on.
SK-gaming are notably known for their Counter Strike and their DotA teams. Both teams had been highly successful in competitions. Since the organisation was started primarily as a Quake group, they had no other teams and Counter Strike was on the rise. And so the recruiting began – they recruited Ninjas in Pyjamas (NiP) who, at the time, were the kings of Counter Strike after just having beaten X3 in the CPL finals. The DotA front saw them taking in Team T_T to form their DotA team.
The Counter Strike team, which was originally Ninjas in Pyjamas, were in blind when SK-gaming took them under their wing. They had no real sponsorship and not much going for them even though they had just come out first in CPL. Once signed up with SK-gaming, they had the finances to go all over the country, participating in different tournaments. At their prime they were probably the best Counter Strike team in the world. At the end of their contract they opted to not re-new it as some of the players were unhappy with the prize money distribution and a few other things. Here comes the ironic part, they left and reformed NiP, but not even a few months later a few of the members left NiP and went back to SK-gaming. The Counter Strike team visited South Africa in December 2008 to play an exhibition match between them and Bravado. Bravado held it together mostly in the first map, just losing, but then the second map came around and they were slain (just goes to show we do have skills in S.A, to a degree).
The DotA began with the inclusion of Team T_T into SK-gaming’s roster. The team roster had legends such as Kim “Drayich” Larsson, Jonathan ‘Loda’ Berg, Tommy ‘toMpa’ Andersson, Edvin ‘KwoM’ Börjesson, Joakim ‘Akke’ Akterhal, Bogdan and Gustav ‘Renji’ Bergström. During their time at SK-gaming they won Prime Defending 10, DreamHack Summer 2008 and ESWC Paris 2008, which was probably the height of their success at SK-gaming. Afterward things seemed to go downhill, where they kept coming second to their nemesis MYM, and after roster changes March 10th 2009 saw the end of SK-gaming’s DotA division. A point of interest is when SK-gaming came to South Africa back in December 2008, where they wiped the floor with Bravados DotA squad (which was the national side). From full performance to hangover mode they could not be stopped. At that time it showed the difference in skill between South Africa and overseas, but in recent times it seems that they have grown for the better (the scene on a whole).
The organisation featured console players for Call of Duty 4, Pro Evolution Soccer, Guitar Hero, sports, racing and Gears of War 2 and Halo 3. On the PC end they had FIFA and even World of Warcraft players. Most of this has been having ups and downs and most are closed down (it is a numbers game). With only a few of those divisions remaining, I guess the performance was low and thus had to be shutdown.
A really interesting controversy was in June 22 2009, where they suffered quite an embarrassment. Their Starcraft: Broodwar roster that they recruited turned out to be a no-show as the team manager failed to tell them that the players were already contracted to another team. Speaking of contracts, they were also one of the first FPS clubs to contract their players, and then go on in May 18, 2004 to be the first team to receive a fee for a player transfer – after rivals Team NoA bought SK.swe player Ola “elemeNt” Moum out of his contract that is.
Every group needs money, and this organisation is no different. They get about 85% of their income (according to research) from sponsors and the remainder from their SK Insider subscriptions. Their sponsors include: Acer, SteelSeries, Kingston, gamed!de, Creative, Western Digital, Bigben, Inferno Online, Themraltake, Cool IT and many more.
With the year 2010 just about halfway through, I wonder, what does the future hold for SK-gaming? With recent roster changes and no move yet to move on to HoN or Starcraft 2, I wonder if they are planning to rely on other squads to continue ahead. With many firsts to their name and plenty success I think they have done pretty well for themselves.