When we first heard about Leetpro, we thought they were purely a bitcoin mining company. But next thing we know they’ve got some esports teams and are hosting a LAN. Now their Dota side is arguably the best in the country. How in Gaben’s name did that happen?
To find out, we chatted to LeetPro owner,
Zohan Johan Bezuidenhout.
“Leetpro can be defined as a gaming organisation, we have an esports café, gaming teams and we host gaming events.
Although Leetpro’s core business focuses on cryptocurrency mining and PC hardware, the Leetpro esports division is very passionate about the development of esports in South Africa and, as the company is based in Nelspruit, would love to see more organised gaming events in the Lowveld.
Although the team started in Nelspruit and comprised of gamers in the nearby areas, it quickly expanded to many players nationwide, competing in various games.
The aim of the LAN was to promote and grow esports in the Lowveld, where the gaming scene is lesser known than in major cities. We wanted to provide a safe environment for local players and interested parties to network, and to showcase esports to non-gamers.
The reason for my support of esports is that I’m an avid gamer who used to play competitive Counter-Strike. Back in the day I had hoped to compete as a living. Due to the circumstances in South Africa at the time, there was no way for me to make a living off of competitive gaming, and, therefore, it’s a privilege to try and give this opportunity to other gamers, or positively contribute to this becoming a reality in South Africa.”
“A privilege to try and give this opportunity to other gamers.” That is one of the single most wonderful things anyone has ever said in local esports. “Here, have a million-rand prizepool” is also pretty darn good, but it doesn’t have all the emotion behind it of a former player, turned futuristic miner, who just wants to give other gamers an opportunity he didn’t have.
“Leetpro Esports would love to provide gamers who have great talent and skill the opportunity to follow a career in gaming, allowing them to practice and hone their skills full-time. We would like to grow large enough to support players full-time across many games and divisions. Leetpro esports would like to become one of the best ranked and most recognised esports teams in South Africa.
We try to contribute to this on ground level with community projects such as the 1337LAN and by sponsoring a local school team.”
We often ask gamers, tournament organisers and multi-gaming organisations (MGOs) what it is that they bring to the local esports scene and the answers we get are often much like
Zohan’s Johan’s answer above. They all have this ideal scenario that they’re working towards. We’re all working towards it, right? That’s the holy grail for South African esports.
What sets Leetpro apart from many MGOs is that they’re doing that little bit more to help us all get there. They’re predominantly an MGO, but they hosted a LAN event. And they sponsor a local school team. What local esports needs more than anything is more LANs, so pat yourselves on the back for that Leetpro, and a bigger player base and viewership, so take your remaining free hand and use it to also pat yourselves on the back for your school involvement too.
As with all journeys to reach a holy grail, South African esports is not without pitfalls, villains and tough times. The current state of the local scene is one that’s in a constant state of flux – one day there’s optimism flooding social media and the next it feels like we’re in our very own locally produced battle royale.
“We have plenty of concerns: Latency issues, toxic players, cheaters and entitlement.
South Africa’s esports industry needs the backing of big name sponsors to make it easier for local leagues and tournaments to up their games. Thus we need to find ways to get big sponsors on board. Finding solutions for some of the smaller issues might make the industry more appealing for sponsors.
Unfortunately without proper sponsors there won’t be another 1337LAN or a trip overseas. We will be focusing exclusively on our main CS and main Dota teams.”
There’s that flux we were talking about. Leetpro want to be able to host their own events and grow local esports in their part of the country, but without sponsorship it’s just not possible. One day they’re making it happen, the next their hands are tied.
“Money talks. We pay our main Dota and CS players a salary; we pay for travel, accommodation, and boot camps; and we provide them with top of the range hardware and coaches where possible.”
At the end of the day, which is more like 2am if you’re an avid gamer, money is what’s going to determine the future of the local esports scene. We’ve got the passion and drive – just look at the amount of things we as a scene do without money or with very little money. And we’ve got the ability – just look at the events that have been put on by various tournament organisers when they’ve had the money.
Teams like Leetpro Esports (GLHF: Or Elite Professional Electronic Sports if you long for the days when kids didn’t shorten everything.), that are managing to pay their players some form of salary, are doing wonders for local gamers.
It’s the difference between being able to game between school and a part-time job (GLHF: Unless your older roommates – affectionately known as your parents – are willing to spot you the cash to buy nice things, like in-game items and skins.), to being able to game whenever you want outside of school. Plus it give players an incentive to train harder, because as awesome as it is being the best, being the best and getting paid to be is even better.
And that’s what Leetpro are striving to be: The best. All MGOs are, but these guys have literally put their money where their microphones are.
P.S. Don’t mess with the Johan. (GLHF: Sorry, we couldn’t resist.)
[Featured image borrowed from the Leetpro Esports Facebook page.]