With Oceania’s 2014 eSports year drawing to a close, finally we have the chance to reflect on what has been an eventful, turbulent and unique year for competitive gaming in our region.
In under a year we have transitioned from the region being dominated by a single team, The Chiefs, to having three different Oceanic champions across three regional events. Since Riot’s involvement in Oceania, we have seen an unparalled, exponential growth. Not only have Riot brought eSports to every corner of Australia as well as New Zealand, they have additionally given players a more tangible reason to compete.
This year brought new ventures for both organisations and teams in Australia and New Zealand. In the first quarter, Avant Gaming structured the first full-time competitive gaming house, where their Redemption squad practiced and competed around the clock. Now, as the year draws to a close, multiple teams look to construct their own brands. The Chiefs, Legacy and Dire Wolves, who all competed at the Oceanic Regional Finals, have abandoned representing top-tier organisations to forge their own path.
This year also featured the largest international representation Oceania has had. Two household, eSports names, in Dignitas and Curse, both signed Australian-based League of Legends teams. From there, we saw Oceania’s very own Keane, who previously represented Curse Oceania, become accepted onto the Curse Academy roster as a starter, moving to North America to compete full-time. Finally, when Wildcards rolled around for the second year, Legacy became the second team to represent the region internationally. Making it to the finals of the Gamescom Wildcards, they fell short in qualifying for Worlds, but still thoroughly impressed viewers around the globe.
Financially, we have seen the region go from nearly every event running at a loss, to having sponsored player accommodation and flights along with massive prize pools for finals events. In addition to that, viewership has gone from relatively abysmal to having almost 10,000 concurrent viewers for the finals at PAX. It would be an oversight to not mention the incredible hundreds if not more, who crowded around the stage live as we saw Avant Gaming dismantle previous champions, Legacy, and claim their throne, showcasing exactly how passionate our scene has become in such a short time.
So what does this mean for 2015?
Well, it’s only uphill from here. With the escalation of competitive League of Legends in Australia, 2015 promises to be yet another massive year for Oceanic eSports. Larger prize pools, bigger and more live events are feasible expectations in the coming year and with that: more teams, new faces and more competition.
It has been an incredible journey so far for Oceania, a lot of which we have Riot to thank for. 2014 should be a testament to having confidence in Riot’s ability to progress the scene, along with undeniable positivity when it comes to picturing what the future has in stall for eSports in our corner of the globe.
Article by Zeror
Image Credit: Avant Gaming, Riot Games