Throughout the years, the sports field has always been the place for athletes to showcase their athletic abilities in the pursuit of greatness.
However, as the world evolves alongside technology, so has sports. No longer is the sports scene the sole domain of the jocks. The age of the geek is upon us with Esports.
Esports are video games which are played in professional competitions and these usually are divided into major genres.
Most esports titles are fighting games, first-person shooters (FPS), real-time strategy (RTS) or multiplayer online battle arena games (MOBA). Out of these, the MOBA genre is the most popular in terms of participation and viewership.
In terms of major hubs in the competitive gaming scene, China, South Korea, North America and Europe are leading the way, with players earning millions in dollars.
However, while the industry is relatively smaller in South Africa, it is starting to gather momentum. In 2018, South African esports stars earned a total of R3.78 million, which is up by 6.8% from 2017.
While R3.78 million might sound a lot for playing competitive video games, people can earn much more. According to esportearnings.com earnings for playing DOTA 2 overseas during the course of 2019, where a total of 3552 players participated in 1300 tournaments, were $220, 220, 824.71.
This was followed by Counter-Strike: Counter Offense where earnings reached a staggering $90, 293, 647.54.
While larger countries are dominating the esports scene, South African teams are breaking into international tournaments, challenging teams from Europe and Asia.
As with most sports, teamwork is key and South Africa is home to a number of excellent esports teams. These teams include:
This multi-gaming operation was set up in 2002, growing tremendously throughout the years and competes in a huge range of esports.
Since its inception, Bravado Gaming has collected some of the best gamers in South Africa and have won more than 138 competitions.
Established in January 2001, Damage control has represented SA more than any other team at international events. Currently, Damage Control has teams for CS:GO, DOTA 2, Overwatch and Hearthstone, all of which are popular and lucrative games.
Founded in 2012 in an attempt to ensure South African esports rises up the ranks in the industry, Energy Sports has accomplished what not many others have managed to do.
Very few South Africans earn enough to play full-time, putting them at a disadvantage against their overseas rivals. Energy Sports is sponsored by LG Electronics, MSI Gaming, Nexus, Steel Series and MWEB Game Zone. This allows them to compete constantly at a professional level.
As the esports scene grows, how does one get involved?
One of the first things is to follow esports websites such as Mettlestate and Rush Esports, which will keep you up to date with the latest news and events. Following this, entering tournaments and forming a team is pivotal.
Getting the right equipment and the right amount of practice is also vital to ensure you remain a formidable force.
With the gaming industry constantly growing, players earning large sums of money, will digital sport eventually surpass the conventional sports word?