Last week we brought you the second installment in our series with Clint O’Shea and Nick Holden of the African Cyber Gaming League. This is a three-part miniseries, and if maths isn’t your strong point you’d be forgiven for not realising that today is sadly the last article we have to offer you featuring these dedicated fellows – for now.
Nick and Clint have always been advocates of console gaming’s role in the growth of South African esports, so it’s understandable to think that they would be against anything that would steal its thunder. Something like, perhaps, maybe, PC gaming.
But they take a refreshingly holistic view of the whole situation, even going so far as to dabble in PC events themselves. Today we get their thoughts on how console and PC gamers, and event hosts in general, need to diversify their interests and work together for the good of SA esports.
And yes, Clint does actually talk in this one.
“At EGE last year, while we ran a lot of the console stuff, it was also kind of our toe-dip into the concept of operating PC at live events with the MSI section that was set up there.
It was, admittedly, quite low-key, I suppose, in terms of the ESWC stuff happening there, but it was an attempt to start to feel out how to operate within the same footprint.
I do think though, and I’ll admit to this, I still think each organisation has a speciality. For arguments sake, I’d see Luca and Orena as the PC guys and we are the console guys. Mainly because that’s what people get known as.”
It’s true: People do well in a specific role, and over time everyone starts to expect them to do that and only that. And it’s quite tough to break out of your typecast. Just try take Jim Carrey seriously. It doesn’t work. And eventually it gets old.
The ACGL lads’ advice to event hosts is to keep things interesting by not sticking to either console or PC titles, but to rather mix things up as often as is feasible.
“Not last year, because last year they changed the way they did the grand finals for Masters series, but the year before that, it was both CS:GO on PC and Call of Duty on console at the Mweb Grand Finals. It was literally a match on the one and we would rotate the equipment out and then run the other.”
“MLG Vegas is a good example of that, on an international scale. I believe they had Overwatch there, as well as the Infinite Warfare tournament under the same roof essentially.
The stages were separated, but it obviously did give a bit of cross-pollination with spectators jumping between the two areas. And that’s what I can see as a possibility for our region.”
But in such a young, relatively small gaming scene as ours there is always the risk of spreading your viewership too thin by telling spectators to go support other stages or other titles. Which means that tournament hosts need to box clever when they promote what some may call their competitors.
“I don’t have a problem punting the other stage for the finals, if our event is preceding that or after. In essence, it’s all about trying to push spectators into an area to show that South African esports is growing.
I think we did that at EGE with the ESWC qualifiers run by Orena on the other side, we did tell our stage to go over there and check it out. That’s what we need to do more.
We need to try push as many people as possible, because that’s in essence what sells it to the sponsors. Those big photos of large audiences that show growth.
Empty seats are going to be a big concern going forward. We need to try and build our spectator base and we need to build, basically, the amount of South Africans supporting esports locally.”
Think of it in terms of a festival or concert: The acts up on stage before and after the main act benefit from the exposure they get from spectators who might not necessarily have been there to see them.
We’re not going to say who the main act is, by the way. We’re going to pull a Switzerland on this one and stay neutral. But we will say that esports should always be the winner at the end of the day.
Aside from reminding people that South African esports is made up of both PC and console platforms, the ACGL guys are just stoked to see people contributing to the growth of the thing they’re passionate about: Gaming.
“I’m happy to see more and more people get actively involved. I mean, this interview is probably a credit to that. That more people want to get involved, and put the spotlight on different sectors. Because I find that the different sectors is where we are going to catch a lot more people.
There is a need for people in esports in South Africa. Whether it’s a shoutcaster, or a person just commenting on every single article that’s possible, or whether it’s just clans trying to put out content. That’s a picture that needs to be drilled into the heads of people that are currently in the scene, because unfortunately we’re not the rest of the world.
We are in Africa. We are in South Africa. And we need an African or South African solution to our problems. One of the biggest problems is that we don’t support each other. Whether it be content, YouTube videos, or whatever it is. We’re all guilty of it at times, we don’t support each other enough.”
It’s something we’ve spoken about time and time again. If we truly want to see growth in SA esports we need to aim international, but think local. Support our local streamers, attend as many local events as we can, back our local teams. And interview local celebrities and write really good articles about them.
It’s rare to meet such hard-working, dedicated, level-headed chaps such as Nick and Clint, so you’d be a fool to not watch these guys as they take the ACGL, and esports in general, to new heights in 2017 and beyond. We hear they’ve got some big plans lined up for the near future, so be sure to keep your eyes and ears open boys and girls.