eSports coverage in South Africa has never really been top tier. By that I mean that if it didn’t come from Do Gaming, it didn’t happen right, or didn’t happen at all. Any other tournaments apart from the Do Gaming leagues hardly ever get coverage and there are some good reasons for it. I started writing about eSports in 2010 and it’s never really been the easiest thing to do; there are many things that journalists struggle with; not to mention the appalling support gamers have shown.
Details, there are none
One of the things that stand in the way of awesome eSports coverage is the fact that tournament organizers give little to no information about their tournaments or the results. Mostly, results are posted in a format that only the players themselves will understand or gamers who compete in that particular title. Now even though, if you want to be an eSports journalist, you’ll have to understand things like that, it’s hard to keep track of every title’s result formats. So now, it’s a matter of decoding what the hell is posted and then trying to make sense of it and then reporting on it and explaining something you don’t fully understand yourself. Once you have the results, that’s really all you have. Team/player A beat team/player B and now what? What happened in the match? Was it intense, were there disputes? No one except the players knows.
People also don’t use full names, so trying to tell readers who it was that won is near impossible. Using various aliases instead of one also makes journalists lose track of who you are.
Most competitive gamers are really hard to reach and a lot of the time, they simply just ignore journalists and refuse to respond at all. If we’re supposed to talk to the players who played in the above mentioned tournaments to find out what happened, how are we supposed to do that if you blatantly ignore us? I’ve had to, on numerous occasions, bug players over and over for responses. This goes for tournament organizers as well, there are very few of them who actually care to let you in on what’s been happening or respond to any questions you might have or even just respond to one question.
So what now?
Not being able to reach players or organizers despite your efforts leaves you with another option; spectating matches IF THEY ARE STREAMED and if it is allowed. Apart from the obvious fact that we as eSports journalists have lives too, it’s not possible to spectate that many games across that many titles. Our jobs like every one else’s takes place during office hours, and being there for all these matches after hours is not only unfair to expect but not even always possible.
While I’m really grateful for the hand full of Lazygamer readers who make an effort to show support for eSports coverage, I’m really quite disgusted with the competitive community. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, or how hard you try to notify them of the coverage, they just don’t give a rat’s ass. Most of the time, if you’ve had an interview with a player or even feature them on your site, they don’t even bother to comment.
Loyalty to Do Gaming is something I respect, but if you don’t support other websites as well doing coverage of what you are doing, then how do you expect it to grow? All you have to do is drop a comment, show people that you’ve seen it, like it or dislike it. Something that won’t even take five minutes of your time.
eSports coverage from an outside point of view, and by outside I mean “not part of Do Gaming”, whether it’s playing in the league yourself or being involved with it or working for them, is a really difficult job to do. We really want to hype up the local scene and show our support, but lack of interest from the competitive community and lack of information is making that job suck. I’ve seen many gamers say “but local media should do more coverage”, but how are we supposed to do that if nobody cares to respond or react to it?
There are a couple of sites trying their best to do coverage and to show gamers, pro or not that they are important and there are some organizers who bother to contact the media, but it’s so incredibly minimal, that it just feels pointless. If this is ever going to change, then the community will have to shape up and start showing some real support.