In case you haven't noticed, Call of Duty is kind of a big thing in Australia. And not just sales of the game itself, but the eSports scene.
The most recent Australia & New Zealand qualifier for next year's Call of Duty World League, for instance, had 50 teams. That's a huge turnout, as you'd expect for entry into a professional division that is sporting a US$150,000 prize pool per stage.
But perhaps the biggest news of all is this: as part of the online qualifiers, one female has become the first professional Call of Duty player to qualify for the World League. She's from Perth, and her name is Kayla Squires.
She's 19 and she's a member of team Pure N3gs, who solidified their spot as one of the 8 teams in next year's first Pro Division stage after knocking off team Viable 3-2. Squires, whose Twitter following has more than doubled overnight, told Dexerto following the win that she was "ecstatic".
"It just shows that plenty of hard work and dedication will definitely pay off in the long run, I hope I can inspire other girls to do the same," she said.
— Dexerto.com (@Dexerto) December 15, 2015
The reaction has been understandably ecstatic, but perhaps the most poignant was this couple of notes from veteran eSports reporter Rod Breslau.
Kayla (@Squizzay) shows that women can play on men's teams and compete, win against the best. Hope to see this in other team esports games.
— Rod Breslau (@Slasher) December 15, 2015
Call of Duty next year is going to be huge. On the prize money alone, it'll dwarf the amount players can earn from CS:GO, Dota 2, Starcraft 2 and League of Legends comfortably, with Activision giving out US$300,000 across the two Pro League stages. There's the potential to earn even more than that as well, with the best Australian teams going through to a global finals (although all the precise details and figures are yet to be announced).
I've reached out to Squires for an interview. In the interim, however, it's nice to see that Australians are continuing the lead the charge in more ways than one.