Our 14-year-old eSports correspondent gets the truth about pro gaming in SA from an expert
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Dyaab Ryklief, from Cape Town Youth Gaming, loves skateboarding and playing soccer when he's not gaming and editing videos. He spoke to Ashton Muller, from Goliath Gaming, about the pro gaming scene in South Africa
While most young gaming enthusiasts aspire to become professional gamers in this digital age, Ashton Muller, from Goliath Gaming, debunks some of the myths and shares the truths on the pro gaming scene in South Africa.
What started out as a fun idea around the dinner table with his family, Muller co-founded Goliath Gaming (GG) with Michelé Brondani, with ambitions to professionalise the industry.
Since then, GG has become home to one of South Africa’s top gaming talents and has represented the country at various international tournaments, including the FIFA eNations World Cup in London 2019, the World Electronic Sports Games in China 2019, and the FIFA eWorld Cup Global Series Qualifiers in Amsterdam 2018.
“I was just 13 years old when I got introduced to gaming and Goliath was actually my nickname,” said Muller.
“At the time, my brother was invited to a LAN – where these guys got together at a house and connected their PC’s up to jam games … and he wasn’t allowed to go unless he took me with.
“After that, I started playing and competing,” he said.
Muller added that while the life of a pro gamer seems all glamorous, it is like any other career and takes a lot of time and dedication. In South Africa, the scene is not as established as it is abroad, where it has become a 9-5 job and offers more of a sustainable career option.
“You need to invest in yourself, in your brand, and compete as much as you can because that’s where you’ll get noticed the most,” said Muller.
“You need to take lessons from the big guys who are competing, so regularly find out where the best guys are competing,” he said.
Muller warned young up-and-coming gamers about the perception of sponsorships and free products once you make it to the pro gamer level.
He noted that if players are good at what they do, they should continue to play without sponsors for as long as possible and when something seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
“There are a lot of people out there, and not just in eSports, that are approaching things for the wrong reason or have a specific agenda,” said Muller.
“You just need to be careful what you get yourself into because free sponsors are never just coming or people just offering you products.
“You don’t need that free mouse or free keyboard, you can just continue as you are because you could be locking yourself down in something that might, in the long-term, not be the best,” he said.