File image
We’ve all seen the excitement leading up to Comic-Con on the television series The Big Bang Theory where our favourite geeks - Sheldon, Leo, Raj and Howard - dress up as their favourite Star Wars characters and head to the convention.

Now, as the first event of its kind in Africa, gaming and comic book fanatics will get to go to Comic-Con in Johannesburg and meet Big Bang Theory’s Stuart, from the comic book store.

The event will be held over three days, September 14-16, at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit Convention centre in Johannesburg.

Comic-Con Africa is also where the finals of the VS gaming league, the premier gaming league in South Africa when it comes to Esports, will be taking place.

Former Durban Boys High School pupil Reegan Tait, 19, who is a professional player in the Esports fraternity, said that while he felt it was not yet a ripe career in South Africa, it would be in years to come and he had never imagined he would be a part of it.

Tait, from Westville, began playing games when he was about 9 years old and, as he grew older, he took it seriously and began researching.

“That was when I approached Nibble, an Esports organisation, and began playing for them. But I found that for a person who wanted to take gaming seriously, I didn’t have enough time for gaming and work at the same time. That was when I asked Nibble for a managerial position within the company and now I work for them as a staff manager,” he said.

Tait explained the league was broken into divisions, the ladder division, the second division, first division, the premiership division and the masters division.

“The masters division consists of professionals in Esports in SA. These are teams that have big sponsors and compete internationally,” said Tait.

Nibble Esports is a private organisation with a team of players in the VS gaming league. Founder Keegan Stewart said when they first started in 2016: “We were coming from a passionate background focused on the community, to create a platform for amateur and professional players.

“South Africa, as a country, is very community based and driven.

“And instead of doing what the rest of the world is doing, Nibble is in the process of helping to develop players at a grass roots level.”

Stewart, who has 12 years experience working in Esports organisations, said that when it came to Esports competitions in SA, it was very privatised with many players entering through private organisations.

“If we want to take Esports to schools for competitions, it needs to be regulated more,” he said, adding that the government and public enterprise had a role to play in growing Esports at a grassroots level.

“Esports is not like your traditional gaming. There’s millions of games out there, Playstation Esports, Console Esports as well as Mobile Esports.”

He said that according to a recent study by BMI Info and Research, mobile Esports dominated the marketing.

While mobile Esports was a tool to take this sport to the community, a bigger player base posed some challenges.

“Cell phone networks, as well as the government and private companies, are the key to taking Esports to the community through funding,” said Stewart.

At the end of June, Nibble will be hosting the first Mobile Esports competition in the country. Stewart said this was the best way to introduce this type of gaming to communities across the country.