Esports in Australia: breaking down the problems

By Thanh Truong

With the esports industry experiencing massive growths worldwide, it’s easy to see why more people are starting to take interest in it. The latest tournament for Dota 2,“The International”, showcased the biggest prizepool ever, with $24,787,916 completely crowdfunded on top of an initial $1 million. Australia’s very own Damien “kpii” Chok was part of the Chinese team to come second place in this tournament. It’s interesting to see notable Australians in the global space for esports, yet top level Australian teams themselves are not as noteworthy. We delve into the Australian landscape, and how it can grow to realise its potential.

Team NewBee with Australian Kpii on the left.

Sports plays an integral part of Australian culture and is seen to be one of the pillars that defines the nation yet in the new age of esports the country again is lagging behind. One of the things holding Australia back is a service devoted to support esports at an international level. There is no dedicated channels, nor is there any broadcasting to offer Australia any real perspective of esports worldwide. The absence of these services also hold back the opportunities to gather information and data on the Australian landscape. The lack of exposure of Australian athletes, and the lack of a single common place for Australian audience means that it is difficult to conduct surveys or effectively communicate with Australian esports audiences. Something of note is the available data collected from public tournaments indicating a sizeable number of Australian spectators, numbering in the hundreds of thousands for international events. Despite this large presence, the Australian community is relatively unnoticed due to the lack of uniformity and the absence of adequate local commercial services.

The lack of exposure of Australian athletes, and the lack of a single common place for the Australian audiences

There are several reasons for this discrepancy within the Australian esports landscape and a lot of it stems from the unique features specific to Australia. Australia is geographically isolated from most of the world, and historically this has seen to have a negative effect across most sports. However, it is especially crucial for esports as strong internet speed is crucial for competitive online games at the top level, where internet connection latency will dramatically affect the performance of athletes. A slight delay due to geographical distance means there will be a lag which compromises the performance at the top level and this creates a handicap for Australian athletes.

A strong local community has always been the backbone of sports culture

Another feature of the Australian landscape is the lack of dedicated Australian service for esports as well as absence of established local tournaments to drive the development of the industry. Local tournaments are the backbone of any sports, and without a strong presence the growth of the local culture is severely hindered. The athletes do not have a space to grow themselves and the community suffer from a lack of common place to follow as well as support the local culture.

Australian esports is still in its infancy as an industry, yet we have been able to see its potential in the global scene. The spectatorship in Australia is of significant size in international events, Australians fill stadiums to capacity for larger esports events, and many of the top esports teams in the world are represented by Australians. The conception of an Australian esports environment will foster potential of competitive esports athletes to represent Australia in international esports events. The important result from its creation would be a connection for the Australian community. A strong community is the backbone of any sport.

The Australian Dota 2 League is Australia’s premiere esports event for Dota 2 with the vision of global success for everyone. Our next tournament will be commencing on the 2nd of October and our grand finals will be hosted in Melbourne on the 21st of October.