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Staff at Player1 Events, the UK-based organiser of Insomnia Gaming Festival, have been made redundant.

Several sources close to the situation have been in contact with Esports News UK to say that all staff have been let go today.

The company is owned by Supernova Capital, which bought Insomnia and Player1 Events from UK retailer GAME in 2021.

In August 2022, Neil Gaisford was announced as Player1 Events CEO, and we were told that Insomnia founder Craig ‘Wizzo’ Fletcher left in November 2023. Craig is now COO of Gameye, chairman of Futwiz and Pikawiz, and also focuses on investment and other work.

Supernova Capital has several subsidiaries and listings on Companies House. Group financial controller Nicole Avery and group CFO Christopher Sharp have both resigned from these, while co-founder and CEO Paul Wedgwood is the only director currently listed on the Supernova Events and Esports Limited listing on Companies House.

It’s not clear which direction management at Supernova will take in the future. We’ve reached out to several official Player1/Supernova channels for comment and will update this article if we hear back.

Community and former staff comment on Player1 Events redundancies, some contractors left unpaid

Former staff at Player1 Events have posted on social media about the news.

Phil Crawford, former marketing and brand manager, said: “I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the greatest people, partners and brands over the years and will look back at my time at P1E fondly.”

Tashnarr, former partnerships coordinator at the company, added:

Rachel Dickinson, former events coordinator, said:

Jesse Raen, who worked at Insomnia for several years in the past, said in this thread:

“That work took so much from so many people but it always felt worth it to be building something that brought people together (staff, volunteers and attendees). At every turn that work was undercut by clueless, uncaring decision makers.

“I’m sad to see this happen to good people who stayed committed to it, and I’m furious at the people who shepherded it to this point.

“Everyone involved deserves better, and I hope you all land on your feet somewhere that values you.

Others who worked with Insomnia in the past, including Nik ‘Lustriga’ Topham and Charlie Tizard, said:

Esports News UK also understands that several freelance staff/contractors for the recent Insomnia 72 event have not been paid, including Nathy B and others who wished to remain anonymous.

The news comes after other Insomnia esports staff at Player1 Events were let go in October 2023 – Matt ‘Kharne‘ Macdonald and Michael ‘Geosnipe‘ Lambert.

The remaining esports coordinator, Deanish, was also let go today, as was event project manager Simon Dowdall and many others.

What will happen to Insomnia Gaming Festival given the redundancies at Player1 Events?

Insomnia Gaming Festival LAN

It’s not clear what the future holds for Insomnia Gaming Festival. A public announcement from Player1/Supernova is expected later this week.

RuneFest 2024 and a SuperDome esports event are scheduled to take place in Birmingham this September, alongside Insomnia 73.

It was previously announced that Insomnia 73 would take place at the Birmingham NEC once again from September 4th to 8th 2024, with the LAN running on those dates and the festival/expo from September 6th to 8th. 

Given today’s news, it’s not clear what will happen regarding Insomnia and these additional events.

However, this internal message sent to volunteers at Insomnia doesn’t bode well.

Lewis Collins, a consultant for Player1 Events, said:

image 4

Tridd, partner marketing manager at Fnatic, also commented:

This is a developing situation. We’ll aim to update it with more comments and information as they become available.

The Player1 Events redundancies are the latest in a line of layoffs and consolidation in the games and esports industries, dubbed by some ‘the esports winter’.

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Dom is an award-winning writer and finalist of the Esports Journalist of the Year 2023 award. He graduated from Bournemouth University with a 2:1 degree in Multi-Media Journalism in 2007.

As a long-time gamer having first picked up the NES controller in the late ’80s, he has written for a range of publications including GamesTM, Nintendo Official Magazine, industry publication MCV and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Federation up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and offer esports consultancy and freelance services. Note: Dom still produces the British Esports newsletter on a freelance basis, so our coverage of British Esports is always kept simple – usually just covering the occasional press release – because of this conflict of interest.

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