Recently, a new computer gaming event in Durban inspired a local 13-year-old boy’s dream to become a professional computer gamer – an eSports industry which is beginning to see top earners rake in almost as much as Wimbledon tennis champions.
Organised by Geek Patrol, the managed cloud services division of Durban-based tech company immedia, the #GeekGamingNight attracted more than 50 people. Plans are now afoot to make the social gaming event part of the city’s tech landscape.
Young Connor Howes won the night’s LAN party competing against some of Durban’s top Call of Duty enthusiasts. Kitted out with his gaming-specific laptop, keyboard and mouse, it was clear to all at #GeekGamingNight that Connor came to win – with only a trendy Pokemon-themed mousepad to hint at a more playful side.
Kemlyn Pillay, General Manager of Geek Patrol, the organiser behind #GeekGamingNight, was extremely proud of Connor’s unanticipated success and what it means for the future of gaming.“When Geek Patrol thinks about online gaming, we don’t only consider those who prefer desktop-based gameplay on platforms such as Call of Duty, or on consoles such as Xbox or Playstation.
“Today, more people than ever have access to compelling multi-player games on smartphone and tablet apps such as Minecraft or Clash of Clans – even the Facebook favourite Farmville,” muses Kemlyn. “On-the-go apps have helped introduce more people to gaming and, as a consequence, we will see many more budding professional gamers like Connor emerge.”
Professional gamers not only get highly recognised profiles in the IT industry, but are also building business empires out of virtual reality gaming.
According to eSports.com, the current top ranked Dota 2 Player, 24-year old Kuro Salehi Takhasomi from Germany, has so far earned $3,394,188 (R45,052,589) from 76 tournaments.
And, as evidenced by the captivated crowd at #GeekGamingNight, online gaming has fast become an enthralling spectator sport. In addition to huge exhibitions such as South Africa’s very own rAge Expo attended by over 35,000 visitors in early October, websites such as Twitch.tv have 15 million people a day simply watching others play games online.
A natural born geek, Kemlyn adds, “Geek Patrol strives to contribute to an inclusive and inspiring geek culture in the Durban community so, in creating #GeekGamingNight, we’ve come up with an event that has something for everyone. There’s a LAN party, a popular FIFA tournament on Xbox, virtual reality demos, the latest gaming hardware to drool over – and even a Geekiest Tee competition!
“Supported by our incredible partners, attendees received fantastic prizes, guided demos of the latest gadgets and devices, and branded swag from global brands such as ASUS, Cooler Master, Gigabyte and Samsung.
Connor Howes’ skilled performance at #GeekGamingNight certainly left an impression, and the teenager hopes to become a brand ambassador for one of the leading popular gaming equipment brands.