In case you missed the last two weeks of our action (you’re all loyal subscribers though, right?), we’ve been sharing some knowledge bombs courtesy of our eSports uncle, Paul ‘ReDeYe’ Chaloner. This week is unfortunately the final installment in our “Oom ReDeYe’s Guide to Becoming an eSports Superpower”, and we’ll be finding out how he feels about our ability to host a major international tournament.
We all know what hosting a tournament like a Valve CS:GO or Dota 2 Major would mean to us as lovers of eSports – hardcore action in our backyard, stars so close you could harvest their essence to sell on eBay – but what would it really mean for the local scene and for all our local eSports entrepreneurs?
Simply put, it would mean that we had finally reached The Level with our individual players, our teams, our production, our event hosting, and all the things in between. It would be the best thing to happen to SA eSports since the Twilight forums were closed.
Before we get started, we’d just like to remind you that ReDeYe loves us down here. He’s been very pro South Africa on Twitter recently, encouraging the international scene to invite us to more events. He tweeted:
“South African teams and players are ready for the international stage. They just need to be invited to qualifiers more often.
They aren’t that far away either, it’s less than 12 hours to get to Europe, that’s a lot less than Asia or Australia and they get invites.”
He’s flipping excited by the passion of the people involved in eSports in South Africa, and is doing his part to promote us to the world. So if he occasionally comes across as harsh, it’s just him trying to make us better.
So let’s dive right in with the obvious question then: How close are we to hosting a CS:GO or Dota 2 major?
“The better question is how likely are we, and the likelihood is slim.”
Okay, okay. Not the best start. But ReDeYe doesn’t just say such hurtful things without reason. He can actually back up his claims.
“There are a number of reasons, and they are commercial and economic, rather than South Africa being seen as a terrible place to go for eSports. It’s a terrific country, full of enthusiastic people. I’ve had great experiences of South African hospitality, so it’s not that. It’s not the country, it’s not the people, it’s not the place.
It’s partly geographic, in that’s it’s very expensive to get everyone here from around the world. If you look at the Intel Extreme Masters for instance, it would be very expensive for ESL and Intel to bring it down here, much in the same way it would be difficult to take it to Australia.
The second consideration is business. A company like Valve, when they decide where to host a major, are looking at things like: Are there popular players there? Are there any top South African players playing internationally and playing well? Would fans pay ticket prices to go and watch those players? Because we don’t really have that kind of level of player here yet.”
We’re not going to lie, that last part hurt a teeny bit. But it’s true. While we like to believe that we’ve got some world-class eSports players here, if we look at the facts of it, we have no local heroes playing top-level Dota or CS:GO on the international scene. But we’re getting there.
And ReDeYe is right. As much as we’d all like to believe passion is the only important thing in eSports, companies like Valve and Intel need to make money from their games and tournaments so they can pay their staff and keep things awesome for us.
“It’s an untested market, so it’s very much a risk for them to do that, rather than doing it in Manilla for instance, where they have players from the Philippines. They are qualifying for the events, they already know thousands of people are going to turn up at a stadium in the Philippines. So it’s much more difficult for Valve to treat South Africa in the same way and look at it and go, ‘Yes, we’re sure we’re not taking a massive risk by going there’. We just don’t know.
Likewise for Intel, they have a massive market share here, so from a business perspective, why would they come here to compete? They don’t need to advertise Intel through the Intel Extreme Masters here to convince more people to buy Intel CPUs, they’ve already got everyone buying them.
It sounds very cutthroat, but it is partly how businesses will look at these kinds of things. They’re looking at the commercials rather than the emotions. We’re looking at the emotions. You and I are very much about, “It’s a great place, why wouldn’t you come here? We’ve got stadiums, you’d absolutely love it, the crowd will go crazy, it’ll be brilliant”. That’s us being emotional right? That’s not how decisions are made.”
Basically, if we all really, really want the Intel Extreme Masters to add a Joburg or Cape Town leg to their tour, we need to all start buying AMD processors.
Okay no, not really, but we get what he’s saying. We need to present Valve, or Intel, or ESL, or whoever it may be with the tastiest, shiniest, juiciest looking apple they’ve ever seen. Then we need to convince them to take a bite.
Luckily for you, our last article was about growing the local eSports scene into a damn shiny apple. So if you do want to help speed the process along, give it a read and brush up on your Oom ReDeYe insights.
But ReDeYe is optimistic about the future of our little orchard (Okay, we’re done with the apple jokes now. Squeezed all the juice out of it anyway. Da-dum-tsh! We’re really done now.), and knows that the world of eSports will have to include us soon if they wish to be considered truly global.
“In the future, at some point, if we want to call ourselves a worldwide, global eSport then they are going to have to include Africa as a continent, nevermind South Africa as a nation. But Africa properly as a continent, rather than throwing them in with the Middle East or throwing them in with Europe qualifiers.
We have to have African qualifiers at some point for these big tournaments.”
And when that day comes, when that first African Qualifier is announced for The International or ESL, we’ll be throwing a party at the office. You’re all invited. We just need to get an office first.