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Player1 reportedly lays off staff, closes down Insomnia Gaming Festival

25-year-old UK esports event was scheduled to return in September, sales of tickets to RuneFest postponed

Player1 Events has reportedly laid off an unknown number of staff, believed to be the majority of the company, and shut down long-running UK video games event Insomnia Gaming Festival.

Esports News UK reported that several former employees of Player1 Events have shared news of the redundancies online.

Sources told GamesIndustry.biz the layoffs included the entire sales and marketing team, with some suggesting the company itself has shut down. We have also heard Insomnia Gaming Festival will not return.

GamesIndustry.biz has been reaching out for comment but has yet to receive a response.

Esports News UK also reported that all but one of the company's directors have resigned over the past nine years, most within the last five.

On the Companies House listing for Supernova Events and Esports Ltd, which encompasses Player1, only co-founder and CEO Paul Wedgwood is an active director. He was appointed to the role on April 16, 2024 — the same day that financial controller Nicole Avery and group CFO Christopher Sharp, the two remaining directors, resigned.

The last Insomnia Gaming Festival event, i72, took place between March 28 to April 1. Esports News UK was told that some contractors and freelancers who worked this event have yet to be paid.

It is unclear what the layoffs and shutdown of Insomnia mean for other Player1-organised events, such as RuneFest, the fan festival for Jagex's fantasy MMO RuneScape.

RuneFest was due to return from September 7 to 8, 2024, and 1,000 additional tickets were due to be made available on Wednesday, May 15. But the company announced the day before via social media that it was postponing ticket sales "due to unforeseen circumstances."

More than 70 Insomnia events have run over the past 25 years. The shows took places primarily at Birmingham NEC and were the biggest independent esports events on the calendar. They also featured playable games and appearances from well-known influencers and content creators.

Insomnia was started by Multiplay, which was acquired by UK retailer GAME in 2015 and the events division was later rebranded to Player1 Events. This segment was acquired by Supernova Capital in 2021.

Insomnia's collapse leaves EGX and WASD as the UK's main consumer shows. WASD took place in April in London, while EGX is co-locating with MCM in October this year.

Additional contribution by Chris Dring

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James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at GamesIndustry.biz, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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