Created by Gucci and FACEIT, the biggest competitive gaming platform in the world with over 26m players, the Academy aims to fill a much-needed role in the future of the esports talent pipeline, facilitating the shift from amateur to pro in a similar vein to the academy programs seen in traditional sport.
The Academy was created alongside partners such as the World Health Organization who provided expertise and support on health topics and will include:
- Access to psychologists to discuss topics such as “Performance under stress”, “How to deal with the spotlight”, “Teamwork” and more
- Access to the Gucci Education platform and educational sessions teaching the basics of player contracts and personal branding
- Access to professional coaches who will provide training for improving in-game performance and offer practical strategies for how to compete professionally while maintaining a healthy mindset
Up-and-coming players are selected by FACEIT and inducted into the Academy with a view to getting them scouted by professional teams and equipped with the tools they need for a successful career.
Gucci and FACEIT have joined forces to debut the Gucci Gaming Academy, the first initiative of its kind created by a luxury fashion brand, envisioned to empower young esports talents while creating a healthier playing and competition environment. The development program has been designed to provide support and enhance soft skills – through dedicated coaching sessions and teamworking activities – and help the next generation of esports talent to navigate the increasing amount of mental and physical issues coming from the pressure of in-game performance and online scrutiny.
The Gucci Gaming Academy is kicking off with four CS:GO players who are already competing in the FACEIT Pro League (FPL), a competitive, moderated online league which has proven the springboard for the careers of some of esports’ most decorated pro players, with the intention of growing this number over time. Candidate selection will not only be based on in-game performance but also on interviews to assess applicants’ personal values and soft skills, including their aptitude for teamwork and approach to conflict resolution. Players will be part of the Academy for up to one year, or until they are signed to a team, thus turning professional.
The Gucci Gaming Academy is filling a much-needed role in the future of the esports talent pipeline, facilitating the shift from amateur to pro in a similar vein to the academy programs seen in traditional sports.
Nicolas Oudinot, EVP New Business, and Gucci VAULT CEO said “Gucci is at the forefront of the luxury industry’s foray into the world of gaming and as part of our mission to build meaningful relationships with communities in a genuinely authentic way, we are dedicated to supporting the up-and-coming generations of players to help manage the challenges they may face as a result of participating in esports. Understanding the issues that are relevant to them and learning about these from the people they affect are at the core of this collaboration.”
“We are proud to announce the launch of the Gucci Gaming Academy. Together, we identified a need to create a new initiative that would aid the development of new talent. The Academy will offer a clear path to pro structure connecting the dots between the FACEIT Pro League, education and well-being,” commented Co-Founder & CBO of FACEIT, Michele Attisani. “The physical and mental demands on players looking to compete at a professional level are high. Players have rigorous training schedules, compete in high-pressure tournaments and immense pressure from fans, so it’s important that new talent entering the space are equipped with the right support structure at an early stage in their development. Supporting and empowering young esports talent is at the core of FACEIT’s values and through our shared vision with Gucci, we hope the Academy helps equip the role models of tomorrow.”
The program comprises group and individual activities to improve the esports athletes’ skills, within and outside the spheres of their respective game titles, as well as additional benefits, such as:
- Group sessions facilitated by psychologists who specialize in esports from Mindwork; topics include “Performance under stress”, “How to deal with the spotlight”, “Teamwork” and more
- Individual sessions with specialized psychologists who will provide support for players as they pursue their competitive journeys
- Digital training plans designed specifically for each player, supplied via the Gucci Education platform
- Participation in community-driven experiences coordinated through the Gucci Changemakers Volunteering program
- Access through FACEIT to professional coaches who will provide training for improving in-game performance and offer practical strategies for how to compete professionally while maintaining a healthy mindset
- Virtual educational sessions teaching the basics of player contracts and personal branding.
- Top-of-the-line gaming PCs and monitors for optimal performance and personalized selection of computer electronic peripherals from Logitech G for high-level gameplay and to facilitate learning
- Access to the vast Gucci and FACEIT esports network for the players’ entire careers
Representing the values of the Gucci Gaming Academy are the ambassadors, commentator James Bardolph, Counter-Strike legend Christopher “GeT_RiGhT” Alesund, and trailblazer for women in esports Stephanie “missharvey” Harvey. The ambassadors will also act as mentors to the academy players, having 1-on-1 mentorship sessions with each talent monthly.
Gucci Gaming Academy has been designed by Gucci and FACEIT alongside some of the world’s leading mental and physical health organizations and legal minds to ensure every element of the curriculum has been informed by experts.
Significantly, as part of the program, Gucci and FACEIT will also work with the World Health Organization to find ways to support all gamers involved to improve their gameplay while prioritizing health and safety. This includes mental and physical health, and fighting misinformation online, among other essential topics.
“We welcome efforts by Gucci and FACEIT to encourage their large online communities to take the necessary steps for better health and well-being,” said Andy Pattison, Team Lead of Digital Channels at the World Health Organization. “We need to continue to reach people with life-saving health messages where they are, in the palms of their hands.”