e-Sport all set to take on the establishment
"Great use of Molotovs," a caster (gaming lingo for commentator) professed as the firebomb exploded on the giant screen above the Counter-Strike (CS) players.
Spectators applauded as bodies piled up.
South Africa-based Bravado Gaming - captained by Elusive, known in real life as Ruan van Wyk, a qualified industrial engineer - was taking on Viboras from Morocco at the African championships at the Dome in north Johannesburg at the rAge (really Awesome gaming expo) on Friday.
Traditionalists may be sceptical, but eSports could soon be ranked alongside regular codes like football, cricket and rugby.
The money behind gaming is massive. The 25 leading game-producing companies around the world earned $41.4-billion (about R569.19-billion) in the first half of this year, according to gaming market intelligence provider Newzoo. A rAge press release valued the global video games market at almost $100-billion - a third of South Africa's gross domestic product.
Bravado vice-captain and co-founder, Dimitri Hadjipaschali, aka Detrony, says eSports players in South Africa aren't paid.
"If we compare where we are to three, five years ago, the exposure and interest from different companies and sponsors, it's just gone up.
"Who knows, by next year we could be getting salaries," said Hadjipaschali, adding his team of five are planning to move to Los Angeles next year to compete internationally. They can't do that from here because of the lag online.
Overseas, Counter-Strike players can earn as much as $25,000 a month each; tournament prize pools can reach $1.5-million.
In Dota 2, another game, the pot hit nearly $25-million at a tournament this year.
"[CS] is what we've all grown up playing, and Dota 2 will be the same thing, they've grown up playing that game," said Hadjipaschali.