All eyes are on Gfinity Australia this year, an ambitious expansion into our region which is set to take off this year as one of the biggest upcoming esports series to date locally. With the announcement of Alienware/Dell joining as presenting partner early this year, I caught up with Ben Jackson, General Manager for Consumer & Small Business for Dell ANZ to discuss about the one of the largest commercial partnerships in Australian esports history and why the company decided to support the platform.
After the announcement of Gfinity Australia, their plans for esports within our local scene is pretty ambitious. What were the main things Alienware/Dell saw in this series that drew you towards sponsoring the platform?
The ambitious nature of the series is what drew us to Gfinity Esports Australia. We’ve been watching the growth of esports in Australia closely, and we feel that the format Gfinity is bringing to this part of the world will help to elevate the standards of esports here.
The Challenger Series provides a clear pathway for esports amateurs to begin their professional careers, while the Gfinity Elite Series provides a platform for Australia’s best esports players to compete against each other for a large prize pool. The desire of Gfinity Esports Australia to have the Elite Series take place in front of a live audience was another draw for us.
Esports in Australia has traditionally been something people watch from home through live streaming platforms. While this will be an option for the Gfinity Elite Series, we loved that Gfinity wanted to create an event that encouraged gamers to watch the action live in an arena, sharing in the joy of esports with fellow fans.
There’s been many different esports tournaments and events in our scene, how do you think Gfinity Australia will make an impact locally for esports?
Gfinity Esports Australia will make an impact locally because the format is unlike anything we’ve seen. The format of the event is going to be more engaging for fans. We’ll have underdog stories of rookies rising from the Challenger Series to take on established professionals. The Gfinity Elite Series is a city-based competition, so we’ll have the added rivalry of cities against cities that fans can get behind.
Teams are competing against in a variety of games, not just a single title. To standout, a team will have to be the best across all games, not just one. This allows the event to appeal to more than just one type of gamer.
Finally, I think esports fans are going to love the ability to make the viewing of esports a social event, heading out with their family and friends to watch competitive gaming every weekend.
“…we feel that the format Gfinity is bringing to this part of the world will help to elevate the standards of esports here.”
Gfinity Australia is working on the grass roots of esports all the way through to the pro level of gaming – why do you think this is important for our scene?
In Australia, there isn’t a clear pathway for an amateur to become a professional esports player. Existing players tend to float between teams and new players rising up are rare. It’s important to focus on the grass roots level of esports because it will have a trickle effect on the level of competition for the whole scene.
As amateur esports players realise they have a pathway to go pro, they will become more determined to improve, and put pressure on the established pros to further develop their skills too. The opportunity for Alienware to facilitate a system that creates a clear pathway for amateur players was one of the drawing points for our partnership with Gfinity Esports Australia.
“The opportunity for Alienware to facilitate a system that creates a clear pathway for amateur players was one of the drawing points for our partnership with Gfinity Esports Australia.”
Early this year, Alienware teamed up with Team Liquid to build an esports training facility in LA. Is this something we could probably see locally with Gfinity Australia starting up.
I was at the opening of the facility recently. It is an amazing space for a professional gaming athlete. They’ve got nutritionists, medical professionals and coaches all on hand to assist the athletes in reaching their greatest potential. They’ve also got Alienware hardware for the players to use so they can focus on developing their skills without limitations. Alienware is always looking for more opportunities to further develop the esports scene globally, including in Australia. As esports becomes more viable as a full-time career for more Australians, it makes sense that demand for a similar facility in Australia could arise.
Alienware/Dell have always been proactively supporting different growths of the video game industry. Why did the company decide to jump into local esports now rather than before?
We’ve been watching the local esports industry for some time now, waiting to find the right organisation to partner with. When we heard about Gfinity Esports Australia’s enthusiasm and plans to be a leader in the evolution of Australian esports, we knew they shared our vision for the community and were the right organization to partner with.