Safaricom, through its youth network, BLAZE, has decided to try its shot at a rare field by launching a new video game tournament. The E-sports competition will be organised and hosted in partnership with some of the leading esports brands in Kenya and Africa including Pro Series Gaming and Africa Esports Championship Kenya as well as the Standard Media Group.
With the gaming industry seemingly growing in Kenya and various African countries, the move by Blaze is definitely an idea that is more than welcome especially considering the dire need of economic empowerment that the youth in the country is crying for.
According to the company, the esports tournament will be an addition to the initiative dubbed BLAZE Be Your Own Boss (BYOB), an empowerment and mentorship platform that will target both casual and passionate gamers across the country.
The tournament is set to host knockouts from FIFA 19 and Tekken 7 that will be running on PlayStation 4. The competition will consist of ten grassroots knockouts and 5 regional finals with at least 64 players entering each knockout round happening at the week of every BYOB Summit. The five regional finals will then be held at the regional creation camps with the champions battling to win Ksh.50,000 for first place alongside Ksh.30,000 and Ksh.20,000 for second and third places respectively.
And however much one may argue that these prizes don’t cut it compared to international competitions, it is still a positive move to try and get gaming enthusiasts from various parts of Kenya and eventually get them to compete in international platforms.
According to Safaricom’s acting CEO, Michael Joseph, “Sports is one of the major events that define Kenyan culture. With the introduction of the BLAZE e-sports tournament, we want to provide a platform for our youth hone their talents and possibly earn a living from it.”
Alongside the tournament, the initiative is set to also include mentorship programmes spearheaded by the country’s professional gamers like Brian “Beast” Diang’a among others, speaking to the youth on their journey to having gaming as a career, an idea that is almost unheard of especially in the African society.
The gaming industry in Kenya is currently estimated to generate about Ksh.2.6billion and with the passion to get as many young gamers as possible to view this as a career choice, let’s just say that the future is pretty bright. After all, we can’t all become lawyers and engineers, right?