THESPIKE.GG: 7 Months of Unpaid Work and Empty Promises. It has to end.
NOTE: I am not going to mention any names of the staff involved in this situation and the following statement in respect for their privacy, even if everyone knows who THESPIKE.GG's staff are. Also, I would like to make this incredibly clear this is directed towards Arttur Minacov alone, and no other personnel involved as he is the one directly responsible for payments.
Just to put this into context, I am no newbie to the gaming journalism space. I have been in the field for 6 years, covering video game news, reviews, and interviewing developers since 2015. I have worked for DualShockers, Gameranx, TechRaptor, Attack of the Fanboy, and many others along the way.
I joined THESPIKE.GG in June 2020. Since then, it has been one hell of a ride, and the VALORANT community grew so much with us as well. The first few months everything was going fine. Payments were coming in on time. Communication was key, and everything was organized, showing promise of tremendous growth for the rest of 2020 and 2021.
All of this was up to November 2020, and this is where all the problems with Artur "m1nac" Minacov started popping up. (https://twitter.com/aminacov). At the moment of writing, there is easily more than $40K overdue payments to current and former employees.
Month after month, payments were not coming in at all. In my own case, I had 4 months of pay overdue that I chased for over 30 days in February 2021 just to receive half of it. Fast forward to now, after the half was paid, I have 7 months of unpaid work due to be paid. 5 months from 2021 and 2 months from 2020. I haven't complained once, and neither has any of the staff as far I know from the writing team, which is a pure two-man team since the departure of our EIC in December 2020.
All this effort you see put into our articles is our own pure hard work and passion for VALORANT and our desire to make sure every single member of this community is up to date with the latest news, features, and interviews with their favorite players.
Whenever we asked for payment, we used to get a lot of pep talk; soldiers, brothers, and all that nice talk. Then followed by promises of other projects succeeding to eventually fund THESPIKE. Anything and everything you can imagine.
This included reviving his old video game: https://twitter.com/aminacov/status/1358295122648178688?s=20, creating a new OPSKINS-ish website (TOPSKINS: https://twitter.com/topskinsgg), and finally, going into the NFT space with OPNFTs: https://twitter.com/opnfts. Keep in mind we were promised TOPSKINS would fund THESPIKE once it is launched and investments come in, then suddenly this was scrapped to launch OPNFTs with the same promise, which basically resets the timer.
Now, moving on to the point where several members of the staff were owed money, only to see Artur complain about buying a $12K dysfunctional PC: https://twitter.com/aminacov/status/1349766722010705927. Just to put everything into perspective, at that point, I doubt the cumulative salaries overdue were in the 20K mark, which could have helped all of us stay motivated to continue working on THESPIKE, and avoid this entire current situation instead of leaving it to pile up.
However, I am by no means judging how anyone should spend their personal money, but when there is outstanding payments for your staff, a bit of a priority check would help no?
On May 12th, 2021, we sent Artur a message in a group chat on Slack with the people we are sure of having outstanding payments. Since that message was sent, we haven't heard from Artur on Slack and he hasn't come online since. We gave him a 12 days period to try and fix this, with a May 24th deadline or else no Iceland Masters coverage is done. We were met once again with silence for several days and absolute disappearance since we messaged him, and since that is the case, it feels like we will be met once more with another round of empty promises and no actions. He hasn't come online on our Slack for over 6 days to even check up on his business, but doubt it can be called a business when there is no money being put into it.
Enough is enough. It is incredibly disheartening to say this but no more coverage will be done on THESPIKE.GG till this issue is resolved, whether content or stats. We all understand this is the biggest event in VALORANT esports young history so far, but the magnitude of this event helps tremendously in pushing for our case. All we want is for these payments to come through, and resolve this entire situation.
I hope this doesn't push anyone away from me or the entire THESPIKE.GG staff just because we are speaking up, but I believe our hard work that continued for 7 months without showing the public anything of what is happening, we are good people and just want to deliver the best coverage we can.
With that being said, those looking for INCREDIBLY hard working and talented people to work with them in covering VALORANT events and create written content non-stop like machines, feel free to reach out to me through DMs or on Discord: Mostafeto#7988 for any opportunities you might have.