Could Perth become the heart of Aussie eSports?
September 9, 2020.
Reproduced from original article published on Perth Underground.
Footy and tennis clubs might not be the only paths to the sporting big-leagues, with Perth internet-provider Pentanet working to build pro-gaming in WA from the grassroots up.
Professional esports tournaments have taken off globally with the League of Legends World Championship in 2019 drawing more than 100 million viewers, including 44 million simultaneously, and the champions winning more than $800,000 in prize money.
Pentanet, founded in 2017, took the leap into professional esports last year in buying the licence for a team in the League of Legends Oceanic Pro League and capped off its first season last month.
League of Legends is a multiplayer arena game where players each control a champion with magical powers and abilities and have to work together to destroy a structure, the ‘Nexus’, at the centre of the enemy team’s base while also defending their own.
In its first season the team of five players, recruited from Perth, made it all the way to the playoffs and finished the season in fourth.
Despite being Perth-grown, the Pentanet.GG team with its coach and team manager had to be based in Sydney for the infrastructure to take part in the pro-league matches, but Pentanet Managing Director Stephen Cornish is looking to change that.
“Perth has been kind of left on the wayside with pro-gamers as they all move over East, so it was actually hard to find the talent here in Perth,” he said.
“It was a new endeavour, but obviously there’s bigger plans for it in the future.”