The local eSports scene is growing rapidly at the moment. We’ve got more tournaments and bigger prize pools than ever before. You would expect everyone to be watching with baited breath to see what happens next. So why then do local players and tournaments struggle to get even 100 views on their streams? We chatted to Miles Regenass, Marketing Manager of MSI Notebooks South Africa and co-owner of nAvTV, about the state of local broadcasting.
You might remember Miles from the insightful advice he gave us on taking local eSports to the next level and turning local gamers into celebrities. If you haven’t read any of the previous articles we did with him, you probably feel like there’s a massive gap in your heart and mind where Miles’ knowledge should go. Feel free to take a moment to fill that gap with the advice and classic Good Luck Have Fun tomfoolery in the previous articles.
If you just want to get on with hearing about local broadcasting, then you’re in the right paragraph. To start with we asked Miles if he thought we had enough of it in South Africa.
“No, not at all.”
Not a great start.
“Right now, our biggest problem in terms of broadcasting is that there are a handful of people in the country that actually have the internet connectivity to broadcast on a regular basis. Then if you take that handful, and you factor in that they have jobs and families, and that even fibre internet in this country goes down regularly, it’s actually quite challenging. We have a lot of people that can cast and very few people that can stream. We’ll see a rise in that over the next 18 months with fibre to the home.
But it takes a lot of work and in South Africa it’s not that rewarding, because the guys who do stream, if they don’t have Dota 2 or CSGO Lounge on their streams, they’re going to get like 50 – 100 viewers. And they’ll open the Twitch directory and they’re checking guys who are just dicking around in the CS matchmaker, some Russian cat, and he’s got like 6000 viewers. It can be quite disheartening when you put all this work in and you only get so many viewers. But we’ll get there.”
There’s that optimism that we love. We all know trying to broadcast a local channel when your potential audience can just as easily tune in to watch the best players from around the world is a tough job. But as tournaments and prize pools continue to grow, so will the interest in local eSports. As Luca Tucconi said to us, “When someone sees there’s R100k up for grabs, they want to come and watch that.”
A full calendar is another sign of a healthy gaming scene. And unless you live under a rock, you’ll have noticed that this year has been pretty packed with gaming action. Actually, you can even get wifi under a rock these days, so you’ve definitely noticed the increase in eSports activity.
“If you look at the calendar for this year, it’s been very good. There have been more events in the first quarter of this year than there were last year. When I talk about events I’m talking about live events.
Evetech are building a studio above their offices, that’s going to be amazing. They’re looking at doing their first event in August. They’re going to do a CS event there. It’s a really nice studio setting with seating for about 60 people, so that will be really slick.
That space is always going to be there with competition machines, which is another challenge in South Africa. You go to all these LANs and tournaments, but it’s ‘bring your own computer’. While that’s okay, it’s not ideal. What we really need is guys playing on competition machines. Playing in that type of environment, where it’s not just a messy LAN and networks connections are dropping and power isn’t great.”
We spoke to Miles before the announcement of the Evetech Champions League, but true to his word they’ve announced that they’re hosting a CS:GO tournament at the end of August with R150 000 up for grabs. Hopefully the first of many.
“And those are all our challenges. But we’re getting there. We have so many competitors in South Africa. South African gamers like competing. Whether it’s Battelfield, or COD, or Dota, or CS, or whatever. You just look around and anyone who plays games, and maybe I’m biased because I’m so involved in an eSports team, is competing in one way or another.”
It’s true, we South Africans love to try and prove we’re better than everyone else. But maybe we should all take a break from kicking ass every now and then and watch some local broadcasters? They’re doing their best to show South Africa what local eSports is all about.
You can start with EGE at the end of the month. If you’re not going to be at the event watching the Counter-Strike action in the eSports Arena, then tune in to the Orena stream. Help them make their sponsors happy. Be the hero your local broadcasters need you to be.