With his sights set on becoming a professional computer gamer, 13-year-old Connor Howes is looking forward to competing in the next #GeekGamingNight taking place in Durban early next month. Amid the eSports industry beginning to see top earners rake in almost as much as Wimbledon tennis champions, computer gaming events are soon to become part of Durban’s tech landscape.
And recently, a social gaming event organised by Geek Patrol, a division of the Durban-based IT company immedia, inspired young Howe’s dream to become a professional computer gamer.
Connor won the night’s LAN party which saw some of Durban’s best computer gamers compete against each other in playing Call of Duty – a first-person shooter video game.
His unrivalled performance also sparked moves to make him a brand ambassador for a popular gaming equipment brand. The youngster now views gaming as a possible future career.
Professional gamers not only get highly recognised profiles in the IT industry, but are also building business empires out of virtual reality gaming, said his father Richard Howes.
According to eSports.com, a top ranked Dota 2 Player, 24-year old Kuro Salehi Takhasomi from Germany, has so far earned $3,394,188 (R45,052,589) from 76 tournaments, most of which attract huge live audiences.
Websites such as Twitch.tv also have as many as 15 million people a day simply watching others play video games online. Exhibitions such as South Africa’s recent rAge Expo, which also includes live gaming, was attended by over 35,000 visitors last month.
Geek Patrol is now planning similar, albeit smaller, expos and social gaming nights.
“We want to create an inclusive and inspiring geek culture in the Durban community and are launching #GeekGamingNight as an event that has something for everyone,” said Geek Patrol managing director, Kemlyn Pillay.
“We don’t only consider those who prefer desktop-based gameplay on platforms such as Call of Duty, or on consoles such as Xbox or Playstation. More people than ever these days are accessing compelling multi-player games like Minecraft, Clash of Clans and the Facebook favourite, Farmville, on smartphones and tablet apps” said Pillay.
“These on-the-go apps introduce more people to gaming and, as a consequence, we will see many more budding professional gamers like Connor emerge.”
The next #GeekGamingNight is planned for early December and will include a LAN party, a popular FIFA tournament on Xbox, virtual reality demos, an expo of the latest gaming hardware and a Geekiest Tee competition.
“There are fantastic prizes to be won, guided demos of the latest gadgets and devices, and branded swag from brands such as ASUS, Cooler Master, Gigabyte and Samsung,” said Pillay.
For further information follow Geek Patrol on social media or email email@example.com.