Four organizations have released a statement aimed at KODE5, in which they state prize money dating back to 2008 has not been paid out.
Since December 2010 when CNB-Gaming won the KODE5 event in Peru, no information has been released from the organizers and the project seems more dead than alive.
Today, fnatic, mTw, SK Gaming and Frag eXecutors released a statement touching on a returning problem in eSports – unpaid prize money – in which it is estimated that KODE5 has debt to teams that exceeds $75,000 and probably even more, but lets touch back on that later.
The statement reflects on the 2008 and 2009 finals, both of which had a $40,000 prize purse split between the top three finishers.
"KODE5 has shown no intentions to fulfil their commitments and reach an agreeable solution, and after learning that last years winners are in the same position, we feel it is necessary to inform the community."
"In the few replies our management have received from KODE5, the only common theme is that we keep being asking for more time in order to sign new sponsors to clear any back dated money owed." – Reads the statement.
In 2008 mTw won KODE5, as the event made their return, hosting the finals in Russia’s capital Moscow. With the win the Danes bagged $25,000 and $10,000 went to the Swedish team fnatic, while $5,000 would go to SK Gaming, who took third.
Next year fnatic won the 2009 edition of KODE5. Before the event mTw had complained to KODE5 regarding the unpaid prizes from the previous year and the day before the 2009 finals a written agreement between KODE5 and mTw was settled, in which a payment plan was agreed upon. This was never known to the public, the information was disclosed to HLTV.org prior to the 2009 finals kicked off.
With their victory in 2009 fnatic was obliged to $25,000 and SK Gaming $10,000 for second place. Third place and $5,000 went to the Polish team, at the time under the wings of WICKED.
fnatic's $25,000 cheque keeps bouncing
Both fnatic and SK received their winnings from the 2008 event, while mTw are owed $20,000 of their $25,000 winnings. None of the $40,000 prizes from 2009 have been paid out.
"There is indeed a strong feeling among us of being deceived by KODE5 and a distinct lack of truth and visibility. Our teams invested both time and money to attend their events, but so far we have just ended up disappointed."
"At this stage we sadly realise our chances of seeing the missing prize money is now microscopic. We hope that our efforts are not in vein and those responsible for KODE5 take notice. Let us all learn from this and look forward to a more professional gaming scene, where the winners get what they rightfully deserve." – Reads the statement released by via the fnatic, SK and mTw websites.
Leading up to the 2010 finals it might have been an untold story to the public, but organizations, teams, players and people generally involved in eSports knew that prizes had not been paid out for the last two years. If anything, the 2010 event turned out to be a disaster.
In November 2010 the KODE5 organizers announced a $40,000 prize purse for the event, with the same breakdown as the previous years. At that time only five teams had qualified; LatterligLett, x6tence, Wild Ineters, OSLF.dk and Iron Will.
Only Wild Ineters managed to make it to the event. The Spanish license holder broke up and x6tence received no response from the KODE5 organization when they tried to resolve the situation, which mean the team did not fly out and furthermore announced they would not participate in any future KODE5 events.
The Danes from OSLF.dk announced they would not go either, the team won the German qualifier, but the organizers did not pay for the travel and accommodation as promised. The last team to pull out was Iron Will, who didnt make the trip to Peru, as the Russian organizers decided against sending the team.
In the end only seven teams turned up and more than anything ended up being a Latin American event – Five teams from the host country Peru, CNB-Gaming from Brazil and the Argentinian team Wild Ineters.
As the event kicked off in Peru's capital Lima, the KODE5 "Revolutionary-at-Arms" Thomas Kuhlenbach and "Revolutionary-in-Command" Lester Lau had in best Oscars fashion sent a video to present the opening ceremony, as they were not in person on-site for the event.
Lau's last attendance at KODE5 2009
In May 2011 the Latin American teams stressed that prize money still had not been paid out, meanwhile the company responsible for security and the logistics of the event, added they also had outstanding money with the KODE5 company.
In the statement released by the three teams, it's also mentioned that in 2010 the only sponsor of KODE5 was BitFenix, a Taiwan-based computer hardware and peripherals manufacturer. The teams point out that the people behind KODE5, including Kuhlenbach and Lau, are the same people behind BitFenix.
With $20,000 unpaid from 2008 and $40,000 from 2009 as well as the $40,000 from 2010, the total amount of unpaid prizes owed by KODE5 to the respective winners ends up at a whopping $100,000. HLTV.org understands KODE5 also owes money to organizers of qualifiers, as well as $3,700 to Progamer Consultores S.A.C., the company responsible for the security and the logistics of the 2010 event.
While KODE5 is dead and probably buried for good, BitFenix is still operating and you will most likely be able to find products with their logo in your domestic hardware reseller.