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eSports Industry SA Launches
Talk about Dota 2, Counter-Strike and celebrity gamers in South Africa and most people – unless you’re a gamer – will be clueless. However, the exciting launch of eSports Industry South Africa (ESI) is set to bring competitive online gaming into the mainstream with engaging content and an authentic ranking system that is unparalleled in South Africa.
“Being a passionate gamer myself and speaking to all the stakeholders we identified a real need for a unifying hub that could help build the profile of the players, the tournament and the sector as a whole,” says ESI co-founder Roland Reed.
Website to showcase local players and tournaments
ESI’s new website – esportsindustrysa.com – has been launched and will be the go-to place for all local gamers to see latest news, content and a calendar of events. Additionally, the ESI team has designed a leaderboard that boasts an innovative ranking system with a custom-built algorithm that will be launched in the near future.
Competitive ranking system aimed at growing eSports locally
“The ranking system we have created is completely unique to the South African eSports scene,” says ESI co-founder Roland Reed. “We are focusing on South Africa’s two largest professionally played game titles, Dota 2 and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.
“We are currently in discussions with all the South African multi-gaming organisations (MGO) so that when we launch the ranking system, it is something that we have collectively participated in and that the entire local eSports community can support,” he says.
The ranking system is built to be competitive, simple and effective and recognises certain local tournaments based on strict criteria. The aim is to encourage participation and foster a healthier eSports scene.
Helping to drive bigger and better eSports tournaments
“ESI will be a driving force that influences tournament organisers to host more, bigger, better tournaments each year and the ranking system will ensure that our teams become more proactive, and the fans even more inspired,” he says.
The main eSports stakeholder organisations include industry stalwart rAge Expo, VS Gaming, Mega8 eSports and Mettlestate. During the course of 2017, several large tournaments were held with collective prize money totalling millions of Rand. It is expected that 2018 will see some tournament growth with the prize money tally growing.
Changing local gaming consumption with wicked content
However, the lure of big cash wins is not what it takes to get more eyeballs on local tournament streams. Currently, local content views barely raise the needle yet monthly, more than 170,000 South Africans use the live streaming video platform, Twitch, where they consume an astonishing 25 hours of overseas gaming content on average. That number has grown by 50 percent in 2017.
ESI is determined to change local consumption by elevating player and tournament profiles with slick videos and an all-round content marketing strategy showcased on the website and social media.
Local eSports industry poised for growth
According to NewZoo, one of the industry leaders in gaming, the global eSports market is expected to reach 180-million enthusiasts by 2019, generating revenues of around R15-billion. “The exact size of the South African market is unknown, but according to the domestic industry players we have interviewed, it is estimated that it will generate revenues in excess of over R100 million in 2018,” says BMI-Sport Info CEO, David Sidenberg.
These figures highlight the fledging status of our local market as well as the massive opportunities for growth. “Even though the current value of South African eSports is a fraction of the global market, there have been several new big sponsors in the environment in the past year which creates a lot of excitement,” says ESI co-founder Chris Heaton. “We want to unify the industry, assist the players and the teams by better commercialising the space and help turn on its value.”
“ESI is a celebration of the competitive gaming market and is intended to be a game changer for everyone who loves online gaming in South Africa,” he says.
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