Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been profiling some of the up-and-coming eSports teams around the country. This week we take another step up the pyramid and chat to Chris “Chriscuz” Cousins, founder of multi-gaming organisation (MGO) puLse Gaming.
puLse was formed towards the end of 2012 by Cousins, driven by his ambition to compete on an international stage. He felt there weren’t enough teams in the South African Battlefield scene that were structured and competitive enough to make an impact overseas.
So he took a huge risk with all the spare cash he had and started the MGO to mimic successful international organisations and, while they aren’t up there with the likes of Fnatic and Natus Vincere just yet, they are certainly making an impressive impact on the local scene.
“We want to get more and more people involved and aware of the gaming scene, not just sitting in front of a computer “wasting” hours, but as an e-sport.
My goals for the teams are firstly to all make Premier Division in the Telkom Digital Gaming League by the end of the year and then qualify, and hopefully place, at the Telkom Digital Gaming Championships.
The goal for the organisation is to continue to grow from strength to strength and strive to become a fully-fledged MGO that is actively competing in all game genres by the end of the year. In order to make the selection into the newly formed Telkom Masters League.
There are less than a handful of MGO’s dominating the SA scene. We want to be a major competitor on all levels, similar to the likes of Bravado, and create an organisation that people are proud to be part of and recognised as a serious threat by our opposition.”
They now boast three Battlefield 4 teams, a Dota 2 squad, a League of Legends team and the newly picked up Counter-Strike: Global Offensive team ShocK, who finished second in the recently concluded Telkom DGL Preseason Cup. If you missed our interview with the guys from ShocK, you can read it here. Spoiler alert, at the end they join puLse Gaming.
They have no intention of halting recruitment any time soon, and are determined to grow the local scene by helping players and teams within their organisation improve, so if you want to take your gaming to the next level these are definitely the guys you want to impress.
“We are always on the lookout for dedicated, skilled and fun teams to join our family. I am in talks with another Dota 2 team and hope they join us.
We offer guidance to teams that need it in the games we specialise in. We offer a pedestal to be showcased on our social media platforms and through blogs and interviews.”
Such as being profiled by up-and-coming eSports websites, see Exhibit A.
“There is also a financial benefit when it comes to clothing and branding from our side. We are currently in negotiations with a sponsor, but this takes time and is difficult as gamers’ budgets are strained.
So we are still looking for more assistance from companies who would be interested in being promoted through eSports.”
Traditional sports have shown the marketing power that teams and individual players have, and the massive crowds at international eSports events are proof that digital athletes are beginning to have just as much pull factor.
South Africa is a little bit behind in this regard, so it’s important that everyone in the local scene continues to support each other. Attend events, watch streams, like Facebook pages and follower Twitter accounts. The more the scene grows, the more corporates will want to invest in it.
As is becoming increasingly obvious the more teams we speak to, being involved in eSports is not just fun and computer games anymore, and the puLse Gaming teams have been given some lofty goals for the year, including winning the Battlefield 4 tournament at rAge and getting the CS:GO and Dota 2 teams into the Telkom DGL Masters.
However, that doesn’t mean teams or players will automatically be cut for under performing. One of the key elements to puLse Gaming is loyalty. It’s a crucial component that Cousins wants in his teams and something he is determined to show them in return.
“We always try help our teams no matter the situation. puLse is all about training and development. We work with the players trying to understand what the core issues are and then work with them to better themselves.
We currently have some of our top Battlefield players helping out new players and teams with their gameplay and how to become more competitive. I’d like to implement this into our new teams in the different games.
Most importantly we offer a family that looks after each of its members as a brother.”
As with most of us, Cousins is excited about the path the local eSports scene is on, but admits more is needed from both corporate sponsorship and the MGO’s themselves in order create a platform for local gamers to be exposed to international tournaments and create an environment where South Africans can actually start earning a living through eSports.
As long as teams and MGO’s around the country maintain the level of commitment and passion to eSports that puLse are showing, we’re optimistic that one day competitive gamers in South Africa will be able to make a living doing what they love. And poor eSports writers will hopefully be right behind them.