Since the announcement of Gfinity Australia, everyone has been looking forward towards the hugely anticipated Elite Series which kicks off tomorrow. No matter if you’re new or a veteran of the local esports scene – we’re all curious to see how Gfinity’s expansion into Australia pans out. Serving as a new platform of highlighting talent within the challenger scene – we caught up with two players looking to make their mark on the live stage.

Top draftee and Sydney Chiefs’ CSGO recruit, Dominic ‘Doom’ Wilson has been making headlines recently being a full-time carer for his mother and juggling his passion for competitive CSGO. Dom whom is from Brisbane will be playing under one of the biggest names in Oceanic esports – The Sydney Chiefs. While he is slightly disappointed he won’t be able to play with Tucks and Texta – Dom overall feels ‘great’ about playing under the Sydney Chiefs banner. “To be able to say you’re playing for one of the top teams in Australia is not something many people get to lay claim to.” Experience and opportunities are the key values Dom is looking forward to saying “It’ll give me great exposure and experience personally, to show how good I am against some of the best players in Australia.”

The Sydney Chief’s roster for the Gfinity Elite Series is stacked with 12 talented players ranging from names such as ‘Flickz’, ‘ins’ and ‘ap0c’ whom many have international experience. Dom who is looking forward to join this roster and play alongside some of these players is looking to take “whatever away” that he can get.

“I’m going to get to the top of the food chain as an Australian player, and to do that I need to make myself the best I can possibly be. I’ll be taking what others do better and learning; I’ll be building it into my own play, adapting and improving where I can so make myself an even better player than I already am.” While playing competitively is a lot of putting your skills to the test and learning, Dom didn’t forget the other key things about esports and that’s making “great connections and friendships” – more importantly, just having fun.

Being a new thing to our scene, the Gfinity Elite series has sparked lots of conversations both positively and negatively. Speaking to the players, I asked about their point of view about the series coming into our scene and its impact. Dom who is passionate about competing with the Sydney Chiefs has mentioned he is quite “positive’ about the Elite Series.

“I think it’s going to be a huge step for the Australian scene and it will hopefully finally be taking that first step in cementing esports’ place as a legitimate career path, instead of being looked down upon. The prize pool itself is a huge motivational factor, not to mention them paying for flights and accommodation.” He also did mention that listening to the community is a key factor “There are growing pains with some things, which is to be expected with something unprecedented, but as long as Gfinity Australia take criticism into account and listen to the community, this could go very far.”

The fighting games community or FGC have always separated themselves from the whole ‘esports’ movement and is different to what you find in other competitive genres. With Street Fighter V a title in the Gfinity Australia Elite Series, I asked Perth’s Ground Zeroes player, Taylor ‘Syo’ Waugh his thoughts about Gfinity Australia and what the reaction was like having a title like Street Fighter V in the Elite series.

“The FGC has always been extremely raw; player trash talk is deeply rooted in our culture. Money matches for several thousand dollars on streams, getting loud and popping off when you finally shut down someone who’s been running their mouth about you, and so on.” If you have attended an FGC event like BAM or OzHadou as a spectator, you’ll understand why – the FGC is very personal, and emotions run high.

“People are scared that this will be censored to be more advertiser friendly and that’s a pretty agreeable concern. But with the right orgs and the right management we can keep those aspects of the FGC intact while also allowing the community to mature in a way that those things are more presentable.”

Like Dom, Syo did mention that it’s all about listening to the community you support, and he feels that “Gfinity will show us that we need to embrace esports, and that it’s definitely what will give our community a bigger and brighter future.”

FGC players have mostly represent themselves in the past with esports organisations rapidly moving the space over the last few years. Syo whom was picked up by Perth’s Ground Zero is extreme honoured to represent the organisation. “The fact that these guys want me to represent them throughout this series is a great opportunity for me to grow as a player and reach audiences I otherwise may never have been able to, so that’s a great privilege.” Syo has mentioned he has “been competing for years but have never done any serious team based events” and highlights that the extra layer of strategy is what he’s interested in.

“I’m excited to learn the nuances of it.”

Dominic ‘Doom’ Wilson and Taylor ‘Syo’ Waugh will join a total of 56 amateur players this season in the Gfinity Esports Australia Elite Series which kicks off live tomorrow (2nd June 2018) at the Gfinity Hoyts Esports Arena in Sydney.

If you want to check out the event live, tickets and information are available here. Gfinity Australia has also announced an online partnership with Twitch and will be streaming all their games live on the platform if you can’t check out event in person.