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#BizTrends2018: E-sports in South Africa - it's only just begun
Barry “Anthrax" Louzada founder of Mettlestate
The last two years have seen four new tournament organisers for e-sports appear out of nowhere and prize pools for e-sports increase from R1m to a combined prize pool amounting to over R5m.
On the international scene, the predictions of the numbers just seem to get larger and larger as do the investment amounts.
So what can we predict for South Africa?
In this new and extremely exciting space that we are all wanting to play in, there is no predefined way of doing things. The only limitation would be your corporate branding restrictions.
The sky is the limit in e-sports.
Move towards smaller, more personal tournaments
In 2018, I see e-sports moving towards smaller, more personal tournaments as well as the rebuilding of the foundations of e-sports in South Africa.
These large, amazing tournaments with six-figure prize pools are going to find their place in the space where the more prestigious events will be and will be able to hold their own in light of the best international tournaments.
For now, though, we need to continue to feed the lower roots of e-sports in South Africa, a place where younger, less experienced players can dip their toes in without feeling overwhelmed at the thought of having to perform on a large stage for millions of rands.
Brands and investors getting involved
Once that has started to take off it will create a space for the brands who want to get involved in e-sports, enabling them to be able to dip their toes in as well.
At this point, the kind of investment money that is required for brands to get behind the current events in e-sports is not yet sustainable and as long as we only have these large tournaments to help grow the industry, we are expecting players - casual or competitive - to learn to run before they can barely stand.
There is certainly a space for the large tournaments for the bigger, more established teams - the teams that already have sponsorship and dreams of going overseas to compete on an international level, as well as for sponsors who have the cajones to step into the big leagues.
I believe e-sports is going to move into a smaller space before it explodes and this is going to happen really quickly.When it does, the smaller leagues and tournaments will be there as there is in rugby, soccer, and cricket – the foundation for the big leagues, with a steady stream of new players and industry talent feeding the upper echelons.
It’s going to be a cracker!