The Australian World Cyber Games And The Next Level

I had arrived at Parramatta Riverside, the supposed location for the first leg of World Cyber Games Australian Championships. No-one was here and I was a little confused.

The sign read: “The WCG event is on the other side, on the East Side of the bridge.”

They could have at least made a ‘your WCG is in another castle’ joke. Come on guys – that gag was wide open.

Overheard: “this place smells like a festival”, and I couldn’t agree more – the opening WCG event also looked and kinda felt like a small scale festival in some respects. It was outdoors, dotted with tents, and there were a handful of burger vans sporadically placed in the vicinity. There was a giant projector screen on the other side of the river, accompanied by a stage. A couple of hours later I would watch five men dressed in white break dancing on that stage.

This wasn’t exactly the church hall LAN atmosphere I was expecting.

According to organiser David Powell, it’s all about awareness, and rebranding the WCG for a wider audience.

“We’ve got a series of events over the course of the year designed to lift the profile of the World Cyber Games,” claims David, “hence events like tonight which are all about getting people aware of the brand – then as we get into the qualifying events later in the year we’ll really focus on the e-sports dimension as well.

“I think it starts with the awareness factor,” he continues. “There’s a perception around WCG that it’s very hardcore PC gaming, it’s locked in basements, news stories of people keeling over from malnutrition – it’s shedding that image.

“90% of Australians have a gaming device in their home – this is not a niche market and as an industry there’s an incentive to open up the idea of competitive gaming. At the moment you have people who love playing their console and possibly they plug in a second controller, but there are millions that don’t play online, that don’t even play multiplayer gaming. It’s about opening that up. Australia is a competitive nation! We love competing, and this is another sport!”

David’s goal is to increase the reach of competitive gaming, but he also has greater plans in the works to increase Australia’s standing internationally. A combination of good contacts overseas, and raw ambition has David believing that we could see the World Cyber Games finals being held in Australia as soon as 2012.

“It’s the dream,” he says, almost wistfully, “but it’s more than a dream! It’s our goal is to have the international finals here in 2012. That’s what we’re pushing for. I think we have a really good shot – we have a good relationship with the folks in Korea, we’re the only continent – I think – that hasn’t had it? We’ve certainly got infrastructure to support it. We’ve got extensive support, the industry as a whole is behind us.”

The event itself barely felt like a site for hardcore, competitive gaming, but perhaps that was the point. We're keen to see how WCG's presence in Australia evolves over the course of the next few years, and even over the next couple of events this year.

And, who knows, if all goes well we could have the best players in world competing in Australia on our home turf at the World Cyber Games finals in 2012.


Comments

    A sign really would have been helpful. It would have saved me and about ten others waiting outside the Riverside theatre for 15 mins.

    But yea, fun event.

    Ended up leaving unfortunately. No idea where to go. Went to the "Go to this Theatre for WCG", nothing. Oh well.

    Possibly a blessing in disguise, I had no idea where the train station was to get home.

    I walked all the way around Riverside before I found it.
    I really enjoyed the small underground atmosphere of the 2009 event. However, I milled around this years aimlessly and decided to leave (and stepped in a monstrous puddle) after about 30 minutes.
    I couldn't work up the courage to come say hello to Serrels and Junglist. Hopefully 2012 will be better.

      Gutted dude - you should have come up and said hello!

        Remember the guy with the Amon Amath t-shirt. What was his name again?

    The fact that SCII and CS were dropped at the last minute, and instead we got to watch a few hours of guys playing fifa, pretty much backs up his claim of "appealing to a wider audience". Which also seems to be another way of saying “were going to be alienating the target audience WCG was originally set to cater for to begin with”. If he wanted a casual gamers event, why not make a new one instead of watering down an existing one?
    Still, the deep fried potatoes were good!

      I regret not picking up a Gozleme.

        Damn...the only reason I would have gone was to compete in some Starcraft II - I was umming and ahing about whether to go and eventually opted not to as it seemed like there was more rain on the way. I'm glad I didn't go now, sounds like it wouldn't have been my thing.

    Baww, didn't get to drop by in the end.

    Get any/much StreetPass, Mark? :P

      I scored a fair few Streetpasses.
      If you got a OnyxCrow on in your MiiPlaza.. That's me!!

    i drove 2 hours to go to this, it was terrible, i was expecting a hall filled with computers and a epic lan party, no, it was just a few tents beside the river and 20 guys watching 4 guys playing FIFA....

    wont be going next time.....

    Yeam Mark what the hell happened. This was not a WCG. Can you pass on the complaints. I stood around watching 4 year olds play tekken while some guys played fifa and I stayed till the end to see a NON event ending. I wanted to do SCII and Counter Strike with Tekken. Why was bulletstorm single player set up? Can we have a proper WORLD gamers Olympics style event for people who want to compete and not this half arse crap again?
    David Powell is clueless on who WANTS to go to these things and how to go about making it bigger.

    I didn't even know it was on till "what are you doign this weekend" went up and you said you where going....

    SC and CS were dropped? But those two are like, the mainstays of WCG. I thought this event was supposed to be an elite high-level display of skill and dedication in the field of gaming.

    The whole point of eSports is to show that it can be a tough medium where hard work and advanced knowledge in the game can really pay off and display to an audience amazing feats that cannot be pulled off by the average practitioner of the game, i.e. that is is an activity comparable to physical sports in terms of the professionalism. I'm tired and I'm not making my point very clear and that sentence was really long and probably should've been broken up a bit.

    This event was for the public, to raise awareness. There'll be another, "real" qualifier in a couple months, which will have all the official WCG games of this year in proper tournament format.

    Winners of this event will be seeded into the final 16 at the nationals in October. 4 seeds for FIFA and 1 for Tekken were won on Saturday.

    Why isn't the official WCG website for Australia updated with any of this info?

    Who is this new organiser, what is his background?

    I was shocked to find out after the fact that this was happening and I follow esports closely. As past WCG participant at national and international levels I want to see the event succeed but this looks like more of the same disappointing, disorganised, disconnected nonsense.

    Dis!

    I work in Parramatta and didnt know this thing was on, found out from whispers at SGL over at Macquarie University that WCG was happening at the Parramatta Riverside Theatre.

    First thought was, why that venue? Second thought was, who was promoting this thing? Why doesnt anyone know about it?

    I was hoping there would be competitions and an epic LAN party... but reading this follow up I guess i made the right choice staying at SGL!

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