I love to compare the UK to South Africa when it comes to eSports. They’re more economically secure, have the infrastructure to pull off major tournaments, but lack the support and community to properly thrive as an eSports nation. South Africa, on the flipside, has the community and support, but lack the former. A funny comment on Reddit after a video of Bravado Gaming’s Aran ‘Sonic’ Groesbeek got a crazy ace, read: “The UK should make a CS:GO team of South Africans like their Cricket team.” I found that oddly amusing because it’s once again testament to the skill we have lurking in our competitive scene, but like the UK we lack Industry Infrastructure – which is something UK Organization Ukie is trying to change.
Ukie announced their representation of major organizations in the UK including ESL, Fnatic, Gfinity, Smite developer Hi-Rez Studios, and FaceIT. These are some of the biggest players in the international scene, and they’re all based in the UK which gives weight to the argument that some infrastructure is needed. Ukie, and their partners, have outline recommendations to the UK Government in an effort to bolster the country’s involvement in certain areas related to eSports. These include games job creation, economic growth, tourism, and skills development (via eSports Observer).
Packed stadium for ESL One.
Here’s a summarized list of the recommendations, which are available from their press release:
- The esports sector is to work with key government departments to develop a unified strategic approach and appealing trade and investment offer to major international tournament holders, IP owners and brands;
- The delivery of superfast broadband and 5G to provide the best infrastructure across the country;
- The sector should coordinate itself as an industry group to share information and encourage and facilitate the sharing of best practice;
- Industry and government to develop a methodology for more accurately measuring the UK esports sector;
- Government to consider the needs of esports businesses and players in policy debates around skills and immigration and
- The UK’s already world-leading games industry education courses to include esports modules;
- Esports companies to actively support sustainable initiatives that promote and inspire diverse participation of esports;
- Fifteen UK esports ambassadors to be created to promote esports in the UK and internationally, picked from a diverse mix of players, developers, publishers and event organizers, and to be added to the UK’s existing Video Games Ambassadors scheme.
What can we do?
Reading this, I couldn’t help but consider the possibility of a similar organization existing in South Africa. The issue with South Africa is that the industry is still in its infancy. A lot of organizations in South Africa have their own agendas, trying to do things their way with a jaded vision of how things work. Companies owned by major corporations who leave a paper trail behind ever decision, big or small. Banding these organizations together at this time would be near impossible, but for those who are willing to work together, should.
The other issue, before we speak about eSports Infrastructure, is political infrastructure. Bringing this forward to our current governments brings forward the risk of money grabbing to purchase new BMWs. If some of the long-fingered politicians, who exists in our government, caught a glimpse of the financial potential in eSports, who knows what they’d do? At the moment, it’s a bit too risky to try and bring about governmental support for eSports, and this is leading us down a very shaky path. What it’s essentially doing is pushing organizations further apart as no structure exists to keep them in check. Each company is growing at their own pace and expense which creates a bigger divide between the operational structure of every major tournament and event. There is no norm, currently, and every company has their own ideas. Hopefully, we don’t drift too far apart and can soon look to create some Industry Infrastructure of our own.
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Last Updated: November 29, 2016