Tens of thousands of gaming, comic and geek culture fans converged on the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg this weekend for Rage 2018. South Africa’s biggest annual video gaming, computer, technology and geek culture exhibition, it was also the place to meet Bravado Gaming, the local esports organisation blazing trails across the pro video gaming world.
Barry Louzada, Director of esports content developers Mettlestate, lamented how much the pro gaming scene has coalesced across different video gaming markets: “From a tournament organisation perspective, it’s grown a lot. Players often start on consoles, but as they want to get into competitive gaming, they also start going into gaming PCs.”
He made his comments during a Bravado Gaming media event, hosted by Rage and Bravado sponsor Alienware. Vasili Girasis, Bravado Gaming’s Chief Business Development Officer, said the market has definitely expanded into more diverse audiences and attracting new types of brands: “We’re definitely seeing a shift from endemic to non-endemic partners. Brands want to reach audiences through esports. It’s a very exciting shift for them and brands like Alienware.”
This change is also leaving behind stereotypes, such as that video games and esports are mainly for males. One example is Bravado Finesse, an all-women pro esports team. Its captain, Jana du Toit, said there has clearly been a shift in the market: “Two years ago there were two all-female squads in South Africa. When Finesse started, we wanted to help change the face of female gaming. Today there are fourteen female teams in SA. So now we’re looking for the next successes, to show the male gamers, ‘Hey, we can also do what you’re doing.’”
Fans of Bravado Finesse as well as the other Bravado Gaming teams, which cover such popular games as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Call of Duty and FIFA 18, had the chance to meet the players during events throughout Rage. Bravado Gaming hosted a meet & greet at the Incredible Connection stand on Saturday where hundreds of fans received signed merchandise.
“There are a lot of people who want to learn more about esports,” said Andreas Hadjipaschali, Bravado Gaming’s CEO, on the sidelines of the media event. “We asked fans to Bring their Bravado, by hosting meetings with fans, as well as facilitate panel discussions. This was a good opportunity to learn what it takes to be a pro and how to get into it.”
Bravado Gaming certainly knows its stuff: Bravado Finesse’s players are preparing to take part in the upcoming World Electronic Sports Games qualifiers, after which they will be headed to China for a tournament there. Meanwhile, Bravado Gaming’s CS:GO team, currently based in the US, is making waves across the international scene.
Alienware and its parent brand Dell were both at the exhibition: from the value-focused Dell G3 gaming laptop to the take-no-prisoners Alienware Aurora gaming desktops and Alienware 17 gaming laptop, there was something for beginners, serious gamers and even professionals looking for reliable performance.