Five months ago, UK esports organisation Resolve acquired fellow UK side Barrage, and in doing so, Barrage owner and MD Jeff Simpkins took a well-earned break from esports.
In late September, Resolve founder Ilias ‘Rai’ Pajoheshfar announced he was stepping back from esports for the foreseeable future, though he remains an owner and shareholder of the org. In an unexpected turn of events, Jeff has now joined Resolve as operations director, heading up esports operations for the brand that acquired his old org. Esports News UK editor Dom Sacco chats to Jeff about the move in this interview.
“It was a shock when I found out Ilias was going to be stepping down, but honoured that the board came back to me to ask me to step in, which was nice,” Jeff said.
“I’m really excited! I’ve had a couple of months away and I think it was only a few weeks ago I was thinking about getting involved in something again, but I wasn’t sure where to go.
“It feels quite liberating [coming back]. When it was Barrage, it was my baby and there was a lot of pressure on me, and there is pressure now but it’s different. It’s refreshing, it feels easier to make decisions now, there are less emotional ties to the decisions [I make] now.
“I’ve got no excuses now! I always said before that the biggest thing holding me back was budget, and I’ve not really got that complaint anymore, because there is backing here at Resolve. And I want to be able to win. So watch out – because I’m back!”
David Martin, part of Esports Global (which owns Resolve), reached out to Jeff after Ilias stepped down.
Resolve operate in League of Legends and Rocket League, having partnered with Williams Racing in the Summer.
The main Resolve LoL team recently played in the Summer 2021 NLC and is currently in the division 1 qualifier, plus Resolve also have their Blue women’s team. Academy team and North American roster, which has played in the LCS Proving Grounds. Jeff says he’s keen to keep that going and requalify for the NLC through the division 1 qualifier.
“Hopefully we keep our NLC spot and we can build for next season from there and build a really strong roster to compete,” Jeff added. “And hopefully, we’ll see the UK finally get that third EU Masters spot back. It’d be nice to see.
“One of my first jobs at Resolve is to assess who’s here and who we need to bring in, and where we need support.”
Jeff said he will be juggling Resolve with his full-time job outside of esports at least until December, and then Resolve will have a discussion and a review on how things have gone so far.
The UK/Nordics has done well as a region at the European level, with BT Excel and Fnatic Rising reaching the two EU Masters finals this year.
You can watch the full half-hour interview with Jeff Simpkins in the video at the top of this article.
Esports News UK also wishes Resolve founder Ilias all the best and hopes to see him also return to esports in the future.
Resolve play against Nyyrikki in round one of the NLC Division 1 qualifier playoffs on October 11th 2021 from 6pm BST.
Dom is an award-winning writer who 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 as well as Riot Games and others. He worked as head of content for the British Esports Association up until February 2021, when he stepped back to work full-time on Esports News UK and as an esports consultant helping brands and businesses better understand the industry.