It’s been a few months since we last featured anyone (gamer, clan or industry sort) but thankfully, we can see a few new additions coming into what many of us call the South African gaming ‘industry’.
One such addition is Critter Gaming which has launched its first Dota 2 tournament featuring a R12,000 cash prize pool. Details can be found here, and registrations close on 20 June 2015. We’d suggest you hurry because the team cap was almost reached at the time of writing.
When did Critter come to life?
The idea was discussed over a couple of drinks between old gaming buddies about 5-6 months ago (somehow things always happen after a couple of drinks haha!) [We find that usually happens after a few brains ourselves – Undead Ed]. Ever since then we have been working on it behind the scenes, but Critter was officially launched on May 4th 2015.
Give us a brief history of what brought the organisation about?
We believe that there are lots of talented gamers in SA that want to improve but there aren’t very many platforms/competitions that supported this ambition, thus, Critter was created to fill this void.
What previous experience do the main braaaaaaiiiiiiiinnnnnssss behind Critter bring?
In the gaming sphere all 4 of us had previously played Dota/Dota2 day in day out at some point in our lives (some of us even failed a year (or two) during Uni because of Dota J). Some of us have played in online competitions and at LAN events as well. Outside of that, we all have full time jobs or are students.
How long have you been planning and organising events – as individuals or as a group?
We’ve not hosted any events before this but we are utilising a lot of our past experiences as players to ensure that our tournaments are set up in a way that will allow everyone to have some fun whilst keeping the competition at a high level. We also want to encourage players for suggestions of improvement once we’ve hosted our Inaugural tournament which will begin on the 22 June 2015, as we are always looking to improve the quality and experience of our tournaments and platform.
What were you hoping to achieve when you launched Critter?
Our main goal is to grow the gaming community in South Africa and improve the competitive scene as a whole, so that means not just DotA 2. We would love to host tournaments week in/week out for everybody to enjoy and hopefully this will allow some of our local teams to take part and shine on the international stage once they reach a competent level.
And in the future? Are you planning to expand beyond the online competitions maybe?
We’ve not look beyond online competitions at this point. We are taking it step by step to ensure that our online competitions run smoothly and regularly before we venture in to LAN events etc. However it is very possible at a later stage.
In an ideal situation, how big would you like your events to get?
We dream big – we dream TI!! Jokes aside, we would want our events to be big enough to attract some international attention, by means of getting international teams to compete with our local teams, and on top of that being able to host tournaments consistently for a cash prize.
How do you think that can be achieved?
The community and players will be crucial. If we can spark enough interest in the competitive scene, we will be able to grow both the competitive player pool and the community itself.
How regularly are you planning to host tournaments?
The idea is to host monthly tournaments, whether they be for cash prizes, equipment or to simply improve on your rating.
What is the next series of tournaments planned?
We are planning to use the team ratings which are calculated from versing other teams using the ELO rating (commonly used in chess and similar to DotA 2’s in-game MMR) from the Inaugural tournament to ensure that we seed appropriately for our second tournament. This will hopefully encourage some of the stronger teams to continue signing up, and at the same time, allow new teams to join in and learn from the very beginning of the competitive scene.
Initial impressions are that Critter might be focused on competitive PC gaming – specifically Dota 2 – but are there plans to expand platforms and titles?
We are currently focused on DotA 2 as we were all DotA 2 players and we have a passion for the game. There are plans in action on expanding to other titles but it is too early to tell – namely CS:GO and Hearthstone.
In regards to professional – or competitive gaming – what do you think needs to be done to raise the profile of South African gaming?
The professional scene is barely alive in SA and at the start of its growth. We reckon that the lack of competitions (and competitions for money) would be the main cause of this, hence we created Critter to try and rectify this issue. The lack of competition causes the mind-set of the competitive players to feel that they are not working towards a goal (thus losing interest in the competitive scene and ultimately the game itself) thus we’ve decided to provide that goal by hosting tournaments on a regular basis.
Are sponsorships a vital part of the growth of eSports in SA, or is it really down to the community and their willingness to support tournaments and events regardless of prizes?
Professional eSports, as many know already, have achieved quite some success in recent years. The community itself plays a significant role by showing interest in the games and competitions that teams attend to (Which leads to large prize pools – the community is responsible for $11/12mil of the $13mil prize pool of TI5). Sponsors on the other hand have also played a big part in this as they have invested in teams and paying players’ salaries. We feel that both elements are vital in growing the community and the key is to keep supporting and believing that gaming can become a way of life in SA.
Thanks for your time – is there anything else you would like to add?
We would like to thank everyone who has shown us support this far and encourage everyone to watch our tournaments, even if the game being played isn’t your primary focus. Showing interest goes a long way to improving the gaming scene over all. Thank you to Zombiegamer.co.za. for giving us the opportunity to share our story.
We welcome all gamers, clans and industry sorts regardless of age, sex, creed, platform or whether you’re human or zombie. There’s no discrimination around here, so feel free to contact us if you are keen to feature in this column in the future at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll think about – after you’ve sent us a sample of your braaaaaaiiiiinnnnsss.