Professional E-Sports Begin to Flourish in Australia
E-sports has begun to make a big impact across the globe and is starting to branch into the world of Australian sports. According to SuperData Research, the e-sports gaming industry is worth $374 million in the Asia-Pacific region. Australia hasn't been a big player in the rising gaming sports, but players are saying that Australia is on the verge of becoming a competitor.
Derek Trang is a student studying law at the University of South Wales who has taken up a job as a part time professional League of Legends player. League of Legends is an online arena game which consists of 30 to 45 minute matches with the end goal being that the team must destroy the enemy nexus. Trang gets paid to play the multiplayer battle arena game in a professional environment. Teams can enter into tournaments and win big cash prizes for their organization, and the players receive their own cut.
“It pays reasonably well. It'd be a part-time job but you can work your own hours,” Trang said as he explained how he was able to use the popular game as a job. Trang is able to pay his university costs and live a comfortable lifestyle by playing the game part-time. He goes to school, does his schoolwork, practices the game, and competes.
With e-sports taking hold in Australia, more opportunities are opening up for other players with dreams like Trang. For example, Philip Nguyen was flown from Australia to the United States last week in order to participate in a professional Pokemon World Championship tournament after he had placed second in the Asia-Pacific round. Pokemon is played by a vast age group, as it's a simple enough game to play but complicated enough to be competitive. It attracts competitive gamers as well as players that just enjoy playing the game for fun.
E-sports has gaming categories that can be played by teams and individuals alike. Teams will usually play underneath an organization, having coaches and analysts that help them improve their gameplay. Organizations can often make profit for their players by selling merchandise to fans and winning tournaments. Streaming is another source of revenue for players that allows fans to directly watch their gameplay and donate to the player.
Players like Trang have a rigorous training schedule that they have to follow in order to keep their spot on the team and be competitive in tournaments. In Trang's case, he puts in five team practices a week, each lasting four to five hours. He must also put in individual player practices four times a week.
“They put in a lot of time and it's very physical as well,” Player Coordinator for Riot Games Ferlyn Yoshimi put it. “But it's not just about playing the game, it's about focus. You have to concentrate a lot; you have to be physical about it as well, so you need to have the stamina.”