“Mind sports are a different kind of sport, but still a sport“
Recently we reported that GamersXtreme wanted to bring eSports to the University of Pretoria, we’ve caught up with them to talk about their goals and thoughts on eSports.
Estian Jaco Hough and Christo Naude are two guys determined to grow eSports in the country and be a part of making it a sport with its own club on campus. They’re still in the planning phase, but with MSSA backing and a lot of gamers supporting their cause, their club is sure to become a reality in the near future.
eSports has become more recognised in S.A lately, the MSSA has hosted many schools leagues, a lot of schools host LANs of their own and companies are pushing more money into leagues. We might see eSports added to local places of education as a permanent sport, just like rugby and cricket sooner than we think. With gamers like Hough and Naude taking the brave steps towards making this happen, we have a much brighter eSports future than ever before.
GamersXtreme aims to make their club happen whether they are accepted by the university as a sports club or not and will affiliate with the MSSA to help direct it in the way that gamers want gaming to go. Check out the interview we had with Hough below.
What prompted you to start this eSports initiative at Tuks?
For years it has always been a dream for both me and my business partner to be part of the local gaming scene in South Africa. Since the first day we started getting into gaming, we have never wanted anything more than to be the host of a competitive gaming group. Together, we hope to leave our mark on competitive Gaming in South Africa. Doing all this through the University of Pretoria provides us with perfect opportunity to achieve our goal.
How much experience do you have with eSports?
We’ve been following eSports for years over the internet; always providing for us a great experience as viewers. Between me and Christo we have had ample opportunity to become part of communities and clans that are involved with competitive gaming; however we haven’t participated in groups that have put large amounts of effort into training to win at tournaments. For us, it is a much more exciting topic to manage this than to participate ourselves. I have participated in PolarFluke Starcraft 2 tournaments in 2012, though I did not get far.
What is the general interest on Campus around eSports?
Unfortunately we haven’t had much opportunity to research this due to the fact that we started a lot of our planning during exam time. We do know however, that there are a great many students on campus who are gamers themselves; and who we fully believe them to be interested in the opportunity we will be providing. Our decision to host our club through Tuks is also supported by our belief that there is a very strong eSports potential surrounding student life at Tuks.
What has been the response to the initiative?
We started our Facebook page on Monday, 19 November (roughly around 22:00), and have reached over 700 people with about 76 people who have supported us by liking our page. All of this has been done online, by spreading the word on Facebook. We are busy working on spreading the word through other means as well. Ultimately the response has been very good; people who notice us seem to have been waiting for a club like ours for a long time, frankly so have we. When looking at people’s responses, we get very excited about the future of the club.
Should you succeed, what are the plans for the Community/Club?
We plan on doing everything we can to build on and improve our club once we have started it; we certainly are not going to abandon this ‘project’ after having put so much effort into doing it. Future plans for the club has been thought about, but there has been such a massive amount of planning and information to go through that we haven’t had much chance to seriously sit down and think about it. I can tell you this though: Should we get the opportunity to expand into our own Gaming House hosted outside of Campus as a business, we would love to do so.
Should you not succeed in getting Tuks to back this Community/Club, where will you go from there?
When we started thinking about how we are going to do this, we didn’t think (or know) about doing it at Tuks; we planned to have our own Gaming House business. We can safely say that should Tuks not be able to help us, we will likely move back to our original plan. We are determined to get our House/Club going, and we realize that it is going to require blood, sweat and tears from us – but we believe (And will continue to) that the reward will be well worth it.
What video game titles have you decided to focus on?
Primarily we would like to focus on eSports PC Gaming, since that is what we are utterly passionate about. We can say with certainty that we plan on focusing on titles that are generally accepted as an eSport world wide; currently, these would be titles like: Starcraft 2, League of Legends, Dota 2, Call of Duty games, Battlefield 3 and Counterstrike.
We will likely also dedicate to a set of sports games (Fifa etc.) when looking at console gaming. I would like to note however that there are many games out there not mentioned here – perfect for us to accommodate; with that in mind we would like to mention that we plan on welcoming game titles if there are enough players who would like to see it happen.
Do you think that eSports clubs are something schools and universities should invest in just as much as any other sports club?
Yes, not because we’re in love with gaming, but because we strongly believe that eSports have become a legitimate sport worldwide. People are dedicating themselves to eSports just as much (perhaps more) as people who dedicate themselves to sports like Rugby. In fact, in the age of technology we’re moving into, we believe that there are a number of advantages eSports provides as a sport.
Do you think that eSports should be classified and included as a
sport or kept in a separate category?
Mind sports are a different kind of sport, but still a sport nonetheless. We believe that eSports should be classified and included as a sport.
What would be the requirements to become a part of the Community/Club?
For now, we need your support; like our page. Once we have everything set up and ready to go we’ll be accepting member sign ups from people who are students at Tuks, as well as people who are not registered students. There will be a membership fee charged annually; exactly how much we don’t know yet. That is still being planned.
What does being backed by the MSSA mean exactly? What does it include?
Being backed by the MSSA gives us great support by the fact that they are already a well known organization in eSports South Africa. If we do not affiliate our club with the MSSA the University of Pretoria will not accept our Club into the fold of University Sports Clubs. However, by affiliating our club with them we gain the opportunity to have a say and to help direct the MSSA in terms of where we and our members, the gamers, want gaming to go. This also opens up doors to recognized intervarsity competitions.