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2019, The Year E-sports Took Over The World Including Kenya

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Many may say that the title of this article is a little exaggerated, but I think once you recap the whole year and the milestones that e-sports has made, you will be finally lured into the bandwagon. And that’s exactly what we’re here to try and make you do.

Professional gaming is a phenomenon that’s still seen “too casual” in many societies, not only in Africa but around the world. But the idea of video game players competing against each other either online or at a physical gathering for a cash prize could be one of the best things to happen to the industry of gaming.

Well, this year not only saw that continue but the whole industry see a significant growth than ever before. Talk of the new games that debuted their own tournaments to others raising their prize pool to really impressive numbers. All this, of course, is to ensure the culture of healthily competitive gaming goes on well and bring in as many participants and stakeholders as possible.

Obviously, you cannot talk about e-sports in 2019 without mentioning the great Fortnite World Cup held in New York, USA. Being the first tourney held by Epic Games, not everyone expected the size that the competition came in. Not only was it the first for the game but the biggest tournament held ever.

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This is when you include the number of players that had been competing since 2018 and the huge $30 million prize pool that went into the finals. The huge cash prize total meant that even the last had hundreds of thousands of dollars to take home and that’s saying a lot. But of course, the mighty Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf took home the coveted $3million prize that would have even gone bigger if he meant to continue and earn some more points.

Safaricom Blaze Esports

Fortnite world champion Kyle ‘Bugha’ Giersdorf. Image Courtesy Polygon

We may speak about all the international competitions, but how can we forget the rise of esports in our very own backyard? As said earlier, gaming (let alone pro-gaming) still has a long way to go and that starts with getting some acceptance in our society. But there are people whose goals are to one day make that a reality and the efforts have really shown out this year. This was of course taken to the mainstream thanks to Safaricom’s youth network, BLAZE, that kickstarted its own countrywide esports competition in partnership with Africa Esports Championship and Pro Series Gaming (PSG).

Safaricom Blaze esports

Beast and QueenArrow at a Blaze esports tournament in Nyeri

With the goal of involving as many young people in the world of esports as possible, thousands were given chances of battling it out in respective counties for three top positions. Of course, a lot is yet to be seen but the effort itself is nothing but a good gesture to the youth in Kenya and to the whole gaming culture in the country.

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This went hand-in-hand with the ultimate FIFA competition hosted by local gaming lounge, Tric Gaming, that we also had the opportunity to cover. The tourney attracted gamers from all over Kenya to the capital all in the hopes of getting to one of the three top positions all of which had their own cash prizes.

Tric Gaming

Players battle it out at Tric FIFA 20 tournament

All this goes a long way to show the potential that the esports industry has in the Kenyan youth society and the economy as well. With such tourneys rising up, one can’t help but be excited for what 2020 has installed and we can’t wait to be a part of it all.

Next year has a lot of promise, given what this year has already paved for pro and aspiring gamers. This is not only through the already existing games but new games that have everyone excited. The three-month-old Call Of Duty Mobile, for example, is one we can’t wait to have as a competitive game, considering the traction it continues to bring to this day.

So, as far as esports is concerned, 2020 will definitely be exciting.

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