Beloved Dota 2, Smash studio Beyond the Summit lay off staff, shuts down after 11 years
The studio was well-loved for its casual, community-centered tournaments.
Beyond the Summit (BTS), the Los Angeles-based esports production company known for its community-centered Dota 2 and Smash Bros. tournaments, will be laying off all its staff and shutting down after 11 years of operation due to a worsening economic situation in the esports industry.
BTS co-founder David "LD" Gorman made the unfortunate announcement on Tuesday (28 February), saying "it would be irresponsible to keep BTS going in its current structure."
"We knew 2023 might be hard. But we’ve been through tough times before, so we had high hopes that we could withstand this recession. Over the last year, as economic conditions have worsened across the industry, we have been working hard to build a pipeline of business to weather the storm," added LD.
"Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, things haven’t broken our way."
LD also said that BTS will be keeping all full-time staff on its payroll for the next two weeks and has offered them two weeks severance, plus additional severance based on their time with the company. The co-founder said they will also continue to provide healthcare coverage for their US employees through the end of April.
"Time was not on our side, and we couldn’t in good conscience continue with our current structure knowing the potential risk to our people. Our team is incredible, and they helped BTS build a sterling reputation and deliver world-class content," said LD.
"After all they have done for us, it wouldn’t be right for us to ask them to bear the risk of our uncertainty. Not when we have the option now to give them clear information, clear timelines, and good severance offers."
From grassroots to summits
BTS was founded in March 2012 by LD and fellow Dota 2 caster David "GoDz" Parker. The studio specialised in casual tournaments that appealed to the community, which was exemplified by its 'The Summit' series of tournaments.
The Summit, inspired by TakeTV's Homestory Cup from StarCraft II, let the Dota 2 community see sides of their favorite teams and players they didn't normally get to see in tournaments. To achieve this, BTS hosted the event in its Los Angeles studio and invited participating players to provide commentary on their own matches and feature in skits.
BTS also expanded to other titles outside of Dota 2, notably hosting a version of The Summit for Smash Bros. in 2015.
There would be a total of 12 Summit tournaments hosted for Dota 2. The last one, Dota Summit 12, was notably held in March 2020, shortly before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) for the rest of that year.
BTS also hosted DPC regional leagues for Southeast Asia, North America, and Eastern Europe in the 2021 and 2022 seasons alongside many other tournaments.
However, the beginning of the end for BTS seems to have come in October last year, when they announced they won't be producing for a DPC league for the 2023 season.
LD thanked the Dota 2 community and many others to close the announcement of BTS' shutdown.
"Thank you. To the DOTA community who believed in two guys with a dream way back in 2012. BTS never would have existed without your support, and personally so many of my fondest memories come from those early years creating content with friends for y'all," said LD.
"Viewers like you are the reason we got to do what we love for the last decade. We wouldn’t be here without you, and we are so very grateful for your support all these years. So thank you. Thank you for trusting us, believing in what we do, and caring enough to tune in. Thank you for being a part of our small sliver of the esports story."
BTS is the latest high-profile casualty in an ongoing wave of shutdowns and layoffs across the esports industry due to the worsening global economic situation.
Earlier this month, United Kingdom-based organisation Fnatic disbanded its Southeast Asian Dota 2 team and withdrew from the scene.
Los Angeles-based organisation The Guard also underwent total layoffs, according to a report by esports.gg.
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