Johannesburg — August 4th, 2018 — DealMagic, an electronics and gaming accessories retailer, announced a new initiative to support South African esports clubs at high-school level. The program will involve the firm partnering with various secondary schools to furnish them with gaming equipment.
Esports have long been hallowed favourites among the firm's own staff members. As tech and gaming connoisseurs themselves, they were enthusiastic about the chance to help young people pursue similar passions.
DealMagic MD, Louise van Heerden, took the opportunity to visit partner schools personally. She met with gaming club heads Fairland's Brandcliff House and Wonderboom high school to present them with gaming headsets. According to the teachers she met, the sponsorship would be a great help for students not currently owning headsets.
Headsets are particularly useful for team gaming as it can help with the spatial identification of enemies, as well as to help with team communication and strategies.
Most of South Africa hasn't officially recognized high school esports. There are many possible reasons for this trend.
Some parents and teachers hold negative views towards gaming, so children who might excel in the field lack critical support. School programs in South Africa also contend with some unique challenges. Many student populations can't afford computers, so the schools have to make their lab hardware available to students. Schools also face challenges in having to keep their computer lab equipment updated, as well as be able to foot the bill for broadband internet connections.
DealMagic highly anticipates the day when South Africa will afford esports increased recognition. More than just a diversion, this activity serves a fundamental purpose alongside rugby, cricket, netball and other modern favourites. Esport participation lets all children vie for the spotlight even if they might not be able to participate elsewhere.
"Esports are highly competitive activities that emphasize critical life values," said van Heerden. "From teaching teamwork to instilling lessons like how to train hard and develop skills, they give less-physical kids the opportunity to learn leadership." Some children might eventually go on to participate in the sport professionally. In addition to pursuing jobs like competing in leagues whose tournaments draw hundreds of millions in sponsorship money, Johannesburg's current high-schoolers might someday join the ranks of a fast-growing industry as online streamers.
The number of gamers who support themselves by playing is growing. For example, Julian Krinsky Camps and Programs reported that as of mid-2018, the average esports professional earned approximately 60,000 U.S. dollars annually. In 2017, the top player took home a prize of just under $2.5 million.
eSports competitors' incomes mainly come from prizes and salaries. As major media figures, many players find that their personalities are also in demand. For instance, the Counterstrike team Astralis received financial backing from Audi to the tune of $750,000. Streaming is also a potential source of income — Some Twitch stars earn thousands per month.
DealMagic wishes the youth of Brandcliff House and Wonderboom all the best in their esports endeavors.