The MWEB head office in Cape Town was teeming with excitement on 19 July 2013 as top gamers from Cape Town and Joburg clashed in the first ever inter-regional eSports championship in South Africa.
There was unprecedented interest from prominent media for this eSports event, including SABC Sports who were just one of the five television camera crews covering the event. This is aside from a brace of other journalists from sites such as MSN online, New Age Gamer, and BizCommunity.
The competitors were put to the test as they battled it out in two of the most popular games, Call of Duty Black Ops 2 and FIFA 13 for the number 1 title. Gamers clashed across the internet with the MWEB MCave hosting the Cape Town players and The Hive in Monte Casino hosting the Johannesburg players. Matches were streamed live from the MWEB network with commentary from Nicholas Holden (HoldenZA) and Francois van Schalkwyk (Fraansman).
The Cape Town FIFA 13 gamers came out tops on the evening, winning the Xbox match 4-0 and the PS3 match 3-0. The Call of Duty Black Ops 2 match also saw the Cape Town team coming out triumphant, but it was a closely fought match that kept the crowd on the edge of their seats waiting until the last minute of the final round to see the skilled Jo’burg gamers ‘pipped to the post’.
eSports is getting recognition and is growing in SA
Governing Mind Sports Body, Minds Sports South Africa (MSSA) joined MWEB Gaming in hosting this event and started the evening off by awarding local gamers their colours. MWEB Gaming manager Des Kurz said, “With eSports now recognised as a tier 1 sport, the online gaming community is now taken more seriously. Around the world eSports has audiences in the millions watching championships and recently comments were made that the sport would soon become as big as the NFL in the US.”
According to BMI-TechKnowledge online gaming is forecast to show moderate growth from 4.4 million users in 2012 to 6.9 million users in 2017, increasing market penetration from 42% in 2012 to 54% in 2017. Kurz added that South Africa’s gaming community has seen phenomenal growth, “There are an estimated 4.426 Million gamers across mobile, console and PC in SA.”
eSports competitors deserve the recognition
“Gaming requires a lot of skill and practice. Most gamers have been playing for many years and it’s awesome that our efforts are finally recognised, and that we have the support of MWEB and the Mind Sport South Africa (MSSA),” said local gamer Lee-Michael Bransgrove. Western Cape Director of MSSA, Glenn Alexander added, “It is events like these that prove gamers are not guys who just sit on the couch and slack off. The educational benefits of eSports and advantages of competitive gaming are widely acknowledged across the globe.”
Celebrity Support for eSports
A number of A list VIP media, celebrity and spectator guests came dressed in blue (Cape Town) or red (Johannesburg) colours to show their allegiance for the North or South. The stadium type atmosphere and the energetic DJs from whatisfiction added an entertaining edge to the evening along with MC Carl Wastie from Good Hope FM, as guests mingled between the cocktail area, photo booth and popcorn machine.
A gaming station was setup where media and celebrity guests could try their hand at COD Black Ops 2 and FIFA 13, where they soon learned that it’s not as easy as the gamers make it look. “I give those guys a lot of credit,” said Expresso Presenter, Katlego Maboe, “you really have to know what you’re doing.”
The Internet Connection that gives gamers the priority in more ways than one
The event was made possible with MWEB’s reliable and trusted uncapped unthrottled internet connection and providing gamers with the best local connectivity and local servers is something MWEB is proud of. “We know what is important to gamers and do everything we can to deliver a quality gaming experience,” said Kurz. “Since we are a tier 1 ISP, we are able give gaming traffic the highest priority and use our local servers to offer the best in latency and superior connectivity.”
COD Black Ops 2 and FIFA 13 were a sound choice for the evening, as they are the two top titles used in competitive gaming in South Africa and internationally. EA Sports has called FIFA 13 the most authentic football game on the planet, selling more than 1 million copies in the first week of its release. COD Black Ops 2 has been described by gamers as “incomparable” to any other first person shooter games in the competitive field.
More competitions like this could be on the cards
“The MSSA has also received very positive feedback from gamers across the country. Other regions are now readying themselves to participate in this dynamic league. The Nkangala District (from Mpumalanga) and the Winelands Region (also Western Cape) are already gearing up to challenge the City of Cape Town Regional Team,” said Colin Webster, President of MSSA.
The two large screens in the auditorium displayed a stream of live gaming, enabling the audience to be right up in the action. Lucky winners of the “tweet for your seat” competition also got a chance to be a part of the fun, and cheered loudly. There were awesome prizes up for grabs from Mat & May and Spoilt Hair & Nails salon for the best dressed fan and the most vocal supporter. Jody Williams won the prize for best dressed, and Godfrey Eybers received the prize for most vocal. A night to remember, the quirky photo booth and amusing props kept guests entertained while they posed with the two themed FIFA 13 and COD promo girls.
“The evening was a great success and we definitely plan on having more events like this. It’s fantastic that we can give coverage to these competitive gamers who put in hours of hard work and dedication to get to the amazing skill levels that were demonstrated on the night,” said Kurz.
Related Coverage of the Event:
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Since 1997, MWEB has been championing a free web in South Africa. It has led the industry from the start with the introduction of the Internet to South Africans to the launch of South Africa’s first Uncapped ADSL product. Today, MWEB provides Internet connectivity and solutions for home users, business owners and large corporates.
Dedicated to constantly driving change in the industry and deploying world class research and development teams, MWEB is focused on removing all barriers to Internet connectivity and services to positively impact its customers and broaden the South African Internet landscape.
MWEB is owned by JSE-listed MultiChoice South Africa Holdings Limited, a Naspers Limited subsidiary that has more than 30% Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment shareholders.
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About Mind Sports South Africa
Mind Sports South Africa (MSSA) is an affiliate of the South African Confederation of Sport and Olympic Committee.
The MSSA is responsible for the good governance and promotion of Board games (such as Backgammon, Diplomacy, Checkers, Draughts, Morabaraba, etc.), Card games, eSports (whether they are played on ‘cell phones, Sony® PSP’s, personal computers or similar), and Historical figure games (also known as wargames)
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