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Mettlestate announce R1 million prize pool and Twitch.tv partnership

Local eSports organisation, Mettlestate, has just announced that they will host a CS:GO (Counter Strike:Global Offensive) tournament with a prize pool of R1 million – the biggest prize of its kind for a single eSports title in South Africa.

On 1 March 2017 Mettlestate hosted an exhibition match between Bravado Gaming and Energy Esports (two of the top CS:GO teams in SA) on their Twitch channel. Barry Louzada, from Mettlestate, notes that this was to merely whet the appetite and set the scene for the big announcement. "Once the stage had been set, the battle fought and the victor hailed, Mettlestate thought it apt to reveal a few of the aces we had up our sleeve – like the CS:GO tournament and the R1 million Rand prize pool, a first of its kind; the likes of which will forever change the face of eSports in South Africa," Louzada adds.

In addition, Mettlestate has announced its partnership with international esports giant, Twitch.tv. This is a pretty big deal for the local gaming scene. While the esports scene in South Africa has grown at a rapid pace over the past year, what it had been missing was an eSports organisation with the backing of international authorities to align South Africa with global tournament hosting and broadcast standards. Mettlestate’s partnership with Twitch will aim to change that.

For those new to eSports, Twitch is a global streaming platform that most, if not all eSports is streamed on, from casual game play to competitive eSports. There are over 100 million unique users on Twitch who watch more video footage than the average Youtuber. There are over 200 000 people from South Africa watching Twitch monthly, with massive opportunity for growth. Twitch was recently bought by Amazon for $970 million, which shows just how valuable a platform it is.

Louzada, explains: “The way Twitch works is: the more viewers and subscribers you have, the more customisation you can have on your channel.  Starting Twitch is free to anyone but the only problem is that you can’t adjust your streaming quality which is 720p (basically, high definition).  The biggest benefit of our partnership with Twitch is the ability to change the streaming quality, which as we know in South Africa (due to our lack of high speed internet) can be a problem – particularly for gamers. Mettlestate’s aim is to be involved in creating more opportunities for gamers in South Africa and to forge the future for those gamers.”

Locally, more and more brands are getting involved with the SA esports scene as they are realising the immense (untapped) potential it holds. As a result, more tournaments are being hosted, prize pools are increasing (two years ago teams were playing for an entire year for prizes totaling R220 000, split across four teams) and more South African teams are qualifying to compete in global gaming tournaments.

eSports is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, which draws more viewers globally than the NBA and is currently growing at almost 12% per year with an estimated 180 million viewers expected worldwide in 2019.