Gamers started 2016 on a high with Telkom announcing they would be giving away R1million in prize money through various Telkom DGL tournaments. Well the first of those has come and gone, and while some happy gamers are making it rain dollar bills all over their keyboards, we’re taking stock of what was good, what was bad, and what can be done better next time. We caught up with James ‘zerOchaNce’ Wijnberg of Aperture Gaming and Warrick ‘fr0st’ Noble of Flipsid3 Tactics to get their thoughts on the tournament and the year ahead.
“From a quality point of view I don’t think any other LAN I’ve been to bar ESWC in Paris provided the same setup. The tables, chairs and environment we played in were just great, I hope this sets the standard now for tournaments in the country.”
“I think this was the best rAge competition I’ve attended to date. You could see a lot of effort went in to setting up this event, it had it all – booths, a big screen, a host to introduce the teams, casters, an analyst desk (with live interviews with players directly after the games) and best of all was the large crowd that came to show their support. The booths were amazing. Almost completely sound proof – enough that the outside noise didn’t affect our sound in game. You were able to hear the crowd cheer when your team made a good play, which was good motivation.”
Aperture Gaming had a good run at the tournament, losing out to Bravado in the final, whereas Flipsid3 Tactics had a tougher time, going down to Carbon eSports in Quarter Finals. We asked the guys what their thoughts were on the single elimination tournament structure, and while zerOchaNce agreed it was good as long as the teams were seeded properly, fr0st disagreed.
“I find single elimination tournaments to be very brutal – if a team has a bad game that’s the end of the road for them. I think double elimination would be more fair on the teams, as it gives them a chance to bounce back from a loss and show what they’re really capable of.”
It’s a fair point. The hours that the teams spend training for these tournaments is well into the hundreds, possibly even the thousands. To have one match that’s over in just two hours decide their entire tournament can be disheartening to the players. Something that both guys did agree on was that the spectators were under catered for.
“The only thing I was disappointed in was the spectator space provided. DGL did such an amazing job of putting that one of a kind screen up, with the best quality projector I have ever seen, however many people had to stand and watch from awkward angles, which can’t happen if we want everyone to get involved. At the end of the day it’s spectator interest and quality that booms the sport, we need to make sure we give them the best environment to enjoy it.”
“The seating area maybe could have been bigger, as the majority of the crowd over Saturday and Sunday were standing or sitting on the floor, and were unable to hear any of the interviews on the analyst desk after games.”
fr0st jokingly suggests that this could have been because of the Monster stand pumping the jams. But from our experience the sound quality could have been better. As soon as you were a few metres away from the screen you couldn’t hear anything, even standing just off to the side wasn’t great. But these are all things that can be easily fixed for next time. The fact that the seats were always full, with people willing to stand off to the side or sit on the floor, indicates that the amount of interest in watching live eSports events is higher than Telkom or rAge anticipated. This is good.
“This is only the beginning, more and more companies are going to take interest in competitive gaming locally. With more money being invested, so the quality and professionalism of the sport increases and that can only mean good things for up and coming gamers.”
“Competitive eSports in South Africa has been growing rapidly over the years, and Telkom have been a large influence in that with the DGL hosting tournaments for a wide range of games.
I found this DGL Masters to be a huge success and can only imagine what it will be like at rAge later this year, as I’m sure there will be further improvements. Rumour has it that DGL Masters in October will be aired on SuperSport. I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but if it’s true that will be extremely beneficial to eSports in South Africa.”
Supersport recently showed highlights of the IEM World Championship in Katowice, Poland on a few of their channels. A small, but significant step in the right direction. Hopefully the next one will be investing and covering the local gaming scene. Then mothers all over the country can tell their friends at book club that their little boys are on TV.
It’s not easy to tell your parents you want to be a professional gamer. Just convincing them that you can’t pause to come have dinner is hard enough, how do you explain to them that this is actually what you want to do with your life? While South Africa isn’t quite at the stage where gaming can be a full time career, 2016 feels full of opportunity.
“The new generation definitely have a good chance of making gaming a viable career choice, we are very close to MGO’s (Multi-Gaming Organisations) being able to pay salaries and just like with rugby and cricket 20 years ago, when it was more club based, gaming will transform into a professional arena in South Africa as it already has overseas. From a personal point of view I run a family farming business, so balancing the two is quite a challenge, but at present things are going well.”
“Gaming is not a career for me. I wish it could be. As far as I know there are no teams in South Africa that get paid a salary. I could be wrong. Streaming on Twitch is a possible income and could even become a full time career if you accumulated a decent fan base, however SA internet cripples most people’s dreams to do this.”
So we’ve got a bit of work to do, but we’re moving in the right direction. If you weren’t taking notes, shame on you, but because we like you so much we’ll wrap up with a short checklist of things we can improve on.
– Make sure there is enough seating for all the spectators. As zerOcahNce said, they’re the ones who we need to keep coming back for more if we want eSports to keep growing in South Africa.
– Spectators are interested in the post-match content too, make sure they can hear it clearly.
– Convince SuperSport to broadcast local eSports on TV.
– Finally, and possibly most importantly, make sure the Monster stand is further away from the playing area.