It’s an undeniable fact that eSports is growing massively, and Business Insider predicts an even brighter future ahead. The report estimates that eSports will become a $1.48 billion (roughly A$2 billion) industry by 2020, with its audience rising to 589 million people. ESports is a big deal in Australia, too, and they are taking things to the next level here in Melbourne. So with that in mind, here are eight reasons why competitive video gaming is levelling up in Melbourne.
The State Government is Involved
The Victorian state government recently announced the hosting of the Melbourne eSports Open, which is set to become the biggest event of its kind in Australia. It will be held at the Melbourne & Olympic Park during the bye week of the AFL Finals in September, and is expected to attract 10,000 fans each day. The Open will further solidify Melbourne’s standing as the home of video games in Australia.
The Rise of the Australian eSports League
Established in 2013, the Australian eSports League (AEL) has given eSports teams in Melbourne an avenue to test their skills against some of Australia’s top groups in a range of titles. These include Dota 2, Counter-Strike Go Offensive (CS:GO), Rocket League, StarCraft 2, League of Legends, and Overwatch. Arguably the premier local league in Australian eSports, the AEL has helped raised the profile of eSports to new heights, and has made competitive video gaming a lot more profitable in the process, as well.
ESports Are Getting More Profitable
As mentioned, eSports are becoming more and more profitable thanks to leagues like the AEL. This, in turn, has been raising prize money of eSports tournaments in Australia, notably with those organised by the AEL. Sure, eSports here are not as lucrative just yet, but this development is definitely turning heads among serious and casual gamers alike.
Pro Clubs Are into the Action
Melbourne City FC and Essendon FC have both dived headfirst into eSports, with the latter buying Abyss last year and rebranding it with the club’s name. Now sporting Essendon’s trademark name Bombers, the team coached by Scott Farmer also don their mother club’s distinctive black and red logo on their Beastwear-crafted uniforms. The Bombers’ bold look represents Beastwear’s first foray into the eSports arena, and it will definitely not be the last given the rising popularity of competitive video gaming in Melbourne and across all of Australia.
The Champs Are Here
The Melbourne Order are one of the top eSports teams in Australia, and they recently stamped their class by winning three Elite Series titles. The Order dominated the Gfinity Elite Series, Australia’s first city-based eSports league, topping the CS:GO, Rocket League, and Street Fighter V tournaments. As in all sports, fans love a winner, and with a dominant team like the Order repping Melbourne, there is no doubt that more Melbournian gamers will be inspired by the team’s success.
A Rivalry Is Born
Melbourne-based eSports teams Bombers and Order are planting the seeds of a rivalry, and while it may not be on the level of Collingwood vs. Carlton or Renegades vs. Stars just yet, it is attracting the interest of fans all over Melbourne. The matches between the two teams will be played on a studio in Sydney, and News.com.au reports that it will be streamed live to a potential audience of millions.
Fans Are Getting More Involved
Sports subsist because of the fans, and eSports fans are getting more involved thanks to technology. Sport news site Coral relays how important technology has become for traditional sports like soccer and baseball. The article also notes how far-reaching sports technology has become. However, eSports has taken technology's involvement in sport to a whole new level as fans of video gaming can watch matches through both traditional and nontraditional means. Major sports networks, for instance, are now carrying live broadcasts of eSports events, though many follow matches via live streaming platforms like Twitch. A more involved fanbase, in turn, keeps attention firmly on eSports, allowing it to grow even more.
Fast Internet is a Boom
For a sport that relies heavily on the Internet, fast Internet speeds are a requirement. And fortunately for eSports players and fans in Australia, that is exactly what they are starting to get, with the National Broadband Network rolling out lightning-fast network speeds. Fast network speeds have allowed players to compete exclusively via the Internet, and perhaps just as important, to train online against better competition.
Melbourne, clearly, has fast become a hotbed of eSports, with the potential of establishing itself completely as the centre of competitive video gaming in all of Australia.