Competitive Console Gaming in South Africa

Competitive Console Gaming in South Africa

We all know how passionate Sam is about CS:GO and how involved she has become in that scene. Rightly so as it is a growing Esport in South Africa and I’m glad it is getting the attention that it deserves. However CS:GO is a PC-based game, as is Dota 2, League of Legends and even Heroes of the Storm.

What about the console titles?

Call of Duty [CoD], Halo, Gears of War and Fifa are just some of the titles played competitively on console here in SA. I don’t know much about Fifa (other than I am terrible at it. Literally everyone and their mother could beat me at Fifa) but I can give you a little bit of an introduction to the CoD scene. I say this because have been exposed to it since 2014.

Call of Duty as a Game:

To sum it up very briefly, CoD is a First Person Shooter [FPS] with a campaign (story mode) and online multiplayer which has several game modes, maps and even has an epic Zombie Mode.

Call of Duty as a Competitive Title:

In its essence, competitive CoD on console is played by a team of four (different from PC where there are five in a team) fighting against an opposing team of four. These teams square off in a series of different game types (season/game specific) across different in-game maps (which are also season/game specific).

Now that the very basics have been defined we can dive into the console scene itself.

Up until 2015, teams competed in the Telkom DGL, MWEB GameZone Master Series and other smaller invitational tournaments held throughout the season. 2016 saw competitive CoD take a tremendous step forward at JHB rAge (the same time that Sam was hosting the Telkom DGL Masters for PC titles CS: GO and Dota 2). The Call of Duty World League [CWL] Monster Astro Gaming Cup [MAG Cup] was announced and is South Africa’s biggest console tournament ever held to date.

Telkom DGC CoD

I know I’m comparing apples and oranges here as these are two separate tournaments with vastly different sponsors, but the cash prize pool for the DGC in 2015 was R40 000. Fast forward a year later and players are competing for their share of the R120 000 MAG Cup cash prize pool. That’s incredible!

CWL MAG Cup 2016

Okay Chani, we get that that’s a big improvement but what’s your point?

My point is, the console community is finally getting the opportunity to compete on a main stage where their games are being streamed, shout casted and played in front of a live audience instead of being hidden away in the dungeons out of the public eye.

Benson and Holden CWL MAG Cup

So why am I so passionate about it? I’m passionate because I’ve seen the amount of time and work that goes into being a team manager for a console side. I’ve seen the hours the players spend scrimming, practicing and preparing for a tournament. I’ve also seen the hard work that is being put in by the organisers to make sure that everything runs as smoothly as it can on the day. Personally, it has been frustrating to see the PC titles making all the headlines, knowing how much the console community is improving every year. Not that the PC Master Race doesn’t deserve it. They work just as hard! I just look forward to the day where CoD also has the million rand prize pools that I know they deserve.

CWL MAG Cup 2016 Winners Energy eSports

Alright, but what does all of that have to do with us?

I know watching Esports isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but you should give competitive CoD a chance. You might find that you end up enjoying it! Maybe the faster paced modes like HardPoint or Capture the Flag grab your attention. Or maybe you’ll prefer the slower, more strategic mode called Search and Destroy. I know all of that sounds foreign to you and I do want to explain more about these game modes very soon. All you need to know for now is because of these different paced modes, each game feels very different when watching it. I personally got hooked onto CoD while watching Blitz, even though I cannot play CoD to save my life. Admittedly, I have gotten slightly better playing against the bots but despite my lack of knowledge into the game I ended up loving every second. There is also a big difference, as with any sport, between watching a stream online versus watching it live in person. There’s just something about sitting in a crowd that gets worked up about what’s happening on screen that adds to the experience.

With that all said if you’re looking to keep up to date with the #CoDZA scene you should give these accounts a follow; ACGL, HoldenZA, Jakez, Clint Smith and Zombie Dredd.

I look forward to sharing more about the CoD console scene with you in the future. From explaining the different game modes mentioned above to looking at organisations and their players. I am really excited about sharing my love of CoD with all of you, and hopefully turn some of you into CoD fans along the way…

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