Esports is a growing phenomenon worldwide, with million-dollar tournaments being hosted around the world for popular titles including Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Fortnite.
South Africa has also been swept up in the growth of professional gaming, with local tournaments held for various games on a regular basis.
The local esports environment has also spawned high-quality teams, including Bravado’s Counter-Strike: Global Offensive squad which recently relocated to the United States to compete.
The team has now qualified for a major global CS:GO tournament with a prize pool of $100,000.
To find out how this investment could affect the local esports scene, MyBroadband spoke to Mettlestate cofounder Barry “Anthrax” Louzada.
Louzada said the investment would allow the organisation to host regular local tournaments across numerous titles.
“Previously, our tournaments and leagues were mostly once-off style events with limited life spans,” Louzada said.
“This significant and ongoing investment from Smartcall means we can move from that once-off structure to a more sustainable one for gamers, which will help build the esports ecosystem by offering continued support and incentive for gamers across a range of titles.”
He said that significantly increasing prize pools was not really sustainable yet, and Mettlestate is instead looking to provide monthly incentives to players across all levels and titles.
“This will create more interest across the board, from casual gamers to your hardcore competitive esports player, as well as help the players themselves get more regular income from the esports they love,” Louzada.
While he is a fan of companies such as VS Gaming which have launched physical gaming centres that are open to the public, Louzada said Mettlestate would not open its own similar space.
“Our focus rather is to keep providing the best tournaments and activations we can offer, and to make sure we keep expanding the name of South African esports in every area we can,” he said.
Louzada said that Mettlestate has big plans for 2019, but is currently unable to share the specifics.
“There are some incredibly exciting announcements coming over the next month or two as we finally reveal what we’ve been up to behind the scenes, so best stay tuned to our social media to find all the latest news and announcements,” Louzada said.
The competitive gaming industry is seeing impressive growth locally, from both established companies and new players.
VS Gaming’s most recent Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 tournaments boasted a shared prize pool of R1.85 million – the highest prize pool ever offered for competitive gaming in South Africa.
Another interesting change was the debut of Comic Con in South Africa, which is where the VS Gaming tournament was hosted.
Esports tournaments are also becoming more frequent across the country, with dedicated esports expos hosted on an annual basis.
Various online tournaments and leagues are held throughout the year too, giving players an opportunity to earn prizes and compete between major tournaments.
The impressive investment into Mettlestate will only serve to accelerate the overall growth of esports locally, which may allow more gamers to pursue competitive gaming on a full-time basis.