Australian eSports stars are stepping onto the world stage, as our country’s first 24/7 eSports and gaming network has begun live coverage of multi-million dollar international gaming tournaments.
The local launch of the Malaysian-based eGG “Every Good Game” network arrived on Fetch TV just in time for the finals of the Dota 2 Boston Major over the weekend, the first event of the 2016/17 Dota 2 championship season. Three Australian gamers were in the mix as 16 international teams competed for a slice of the $4 million prize pool, playing Valve’s super-popular team-based arena game.
It was an appropriate time for the channel’s launch as OG — the team that would go on to win Sunday’s $US1 million grand final — has an Australian as one if its members. Anatham Pham, who goes by the name “Ana”, became the first Australian to have ever won a Valve-sponsored event.
While competitive gaming is traditionally associated with South Korea and China, it has a growing following in South East Asia including Australia, says eGG’s Australian co-host and eSports commentator Danelie Purdue.
“eSports in Australia doesn’t always get the attention it deserves,” Purdue says. “It has a lot of passionate followers but unfortunately it tends to fly under the radar even though there are plenty of tournaments in Australia.”
“Sometimes it feels like Australian eSports fans have resigned themselves to the fact that it won’t go mainstream but I don’t think that’s true – it perhaps needs a bit of a kickstart and hopefully eGG coming to Australia can play a part in that.”
One of three Australian eSports casters on the eGG network, Purdue works alongside former competitive Call of Duty player Toby “TobiWan” Dawson and Australian eSports promoter David “GoDz” Parker who was one of the first eSports casters to offer English coverage of the Asian Dota 2 scene.
The network offers coverage of international eSports tournaments covering games such as Dota 2, League of Legends, Call of Duty: Black Ops, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void. Along with live coverage of tournaments and highlights packages, eGG also focuses on gaming culture including game reviews, coverage from gaming conventions and couch-based talk shows similar to traditional sports networks.
Competitive gaming is attracting significant audiences around the globe, with 36 million fans watching the 2015 League of Legends world championships streamed live online. While the tournament was streamed on YouTube, twitch.tv and Azubu, with a peak audience of 14 million concurrent viewers during the final, traditional broadcaster BBC also streamed live matches within the United Kingdom.
Purdue moved from Australia to Malaysia last year to become a commentator with eGG. A passionate amateur eSports caster, she took a year off from studying games art and design at Perth’s Murdoch University to move to Malaysia in the hope of landing work as a professional commentator and was offered the job with eGG only a week before she was due to return to Australia.
“It was a big gamble for me, moving to Malaysia to build my connections in the eSports world, but it paid off — it’s a huge opportunity and I really believe Malaysia has the potential to be the eSports capital of South East Asia,” she says. “That could be great news for Australian eSports — we have a couple of players on the world stage but they’re playing for different foreign teams and we’re yet to see an Australian team in there.”
“Right now I’m not sure there’s enough local talent to produce an Australian team but, as with many sports, once a few Aussie players find international success it opens the doors for others to play and train overseas and builds a foundation for a future on the world stage.”
With Tim Biggs