Competitive video gaming: not just for the boys
At the beginning of September, the Evetech Champion’s League takes place. It is set to be one of the biggest Counter Strike: GO (CS:GO) competitions in South Africa to date.
Competitive video gaming immediately seems like it would be a boys’ only type of thing but you’d be wrong. South African player Sharon “ShazZ” Waison competed with an all-girl team called Team Karma last year in Europe. They went on to win the Copenhagen Games, one of the bigger CS:GO titles.
What is CS:GO?
Well it is only one of the biggest eSports title in the world, that sees two teams tactically take each other out in any way possible, before a bomb is planted and blown. Players work together as one team will need to disarm the bomb, while the other needs to try plant it.
The game is one intense adrenaline rush, that is not only exciting to play, but millions of people tune in to watch teams compete against each other for CS:GO domination. While the South African eSports scene is dominated by men (both as players and spectators), internationally there has been considerable growth in females not only playing but also watching the competitions and live streams.
According to Newzoo, in 2015 38% of eSports fans were female. Though some other recent surveys are putting that number up at 44%. Earlier this year PwC released a study where 22% of the women surveyed said they were involved in eSports in some way, versus the 18% of men who responded the same.
Locally, the Evetech Champion’s League will see two South African female eSports fans, and personalities, who both have a strong history with the sport, take the helm during the event. Samantha “Tech Girl” Wright, #W24Tastemaker and blogger at techgirl.co.za will be the MC at the championship while Julia “Bish” Robson, who is an avid Call of Duty and CS:GO fan, and ex-competitive player, will be a roving reporter at the event, producing content for the streams.
eSports has grown tremendously in SA over the past few years with competition pools reaching the hundred-thousand-rand mark. As more focus is put onto the sport, more sponsorship will take place, further expanding the landscape.
Samantha Wright from techgirl.co.za, touched on how far eSports has grown in SA. “There was a time when I got excited when my brother and my friends carted their PCs off to a LAN to compete for R200 and some headsets. Now there are million-rand prize pools and serious sponsors. It’s awesome to see even the non-gamers getting involved. It is just like rugby or netball, anyone can watch and enjoy it."
Just last month local South African eSports organization, Xperts at Total Chaos, announced their all-female Battlefield line up following ShazZ’s move to Telkom Masters team Veneration eSports. She will be competing with them in October to attempt to win one million rand at rAge.
South African eSports is growing and it seems the women in the industry are owning it!
Image credit: Tegan Smith Photography