Women are making an increasingly significant mark on the male dominated eSports industry, with international superstars like Sasha Scarlet Hostyn and Katherine Mystik Gunn raking in a comfortable $312 845 and $122 000 in winnings per tournament respectively.
Closer to home is Julia ‘Bish’ Robson, an eSports contender and spokesperson for the Predator gaming brand. Robson’s interest in gaming was piqued by a friend and soon became a serious hobby to during her downtime while studying Dentistry at the University of Cape Town.
“I was playing games with friends and then soon started looking out for monthly LAN parties where I could play against other gamers on a more serious platform,” she says.
Making a living from eSports is tough, with over 1000 pro gamers competing internationally for a percentage of the winnings. Although the South African industry has grown in leaps and bounds, it still has a long way to contend with other, more established gaming countries.
“Starting as a female player in a male dominated and fiercely competitive environment has its challenges, but I believe that as with any industry you prove your worth based on your work ethic, abilities and skill set.”
Robson has a passion to develop the local gaming industry and started the first sponsored all-female CS:GO team in South Africa in 2017.
She says that to be a serious contender requires plenty of dedication and training. Robson allocates an average of eight hours a day to gaming, sharpening her skills in Apex Legends and Counter Strike on the Predator device.
She says having the correct hardware is as important to any serious gamer who needs the assurance that a device can not only handle the particular requirements of gaming but maintain performance under prolonged hours of streaming. “Predator provides me with the technology I need to stay on top of my game, whether it be at home or traveling.
An active participant on the live streaming channel Twitch, Robson interacts with her followers and acts as a mentor to her fans daily. “As a gamer, I believe that skill is not determined by gender, but by your passion.”
Robson shares some of the latest must watch trends on the local and international gaming stage:
Thanks to the rise in popularity of the digital eSport viewing, fans are moving to watching tournaments and events in physical locations, bringing even more revenue opportunities to sponsors and increasing the commercialisation of esports.
ESports teams, particularly in America are now a venture capital-backed industry with teams even giving naming rights to the investor, similar to that of national sports team.
ESports viewership is experiencing an increase in female fans and players, from the pro stage through to enthusiasts.
Fortnite is one of the most commercial games in the world, breaking world records in downloads as well as players.
Epic Games has moved over to a mobile gaming platform, giving users mobile access to Fortnite players.
Twitch.tv is deemed the biggest gaming stream avenue ahead of YouTube. – GeekWire.co.za