Your friendly neighborhood gamer Zalgo Cometh here again with some eSports news. There have been a few local eSports tournaments in Jamaica since the start of 2016. A couple that can be mentioned are the Flow eGames Feva FIFA 16 tournament and Clan Pro Circuit’s Street Fighter V Invitational. Let’s not forget some of the local tournaments held around the Island. Despite those tournaments, there hasn’t been a break out major tournament since the Cyberbox C.E.L Games in 2015. All of that changed however in May of 2016 as Billy Zee hosted his 3rd installment of the Incontrol eSports series.
The event played host to three different genres of games; sports, first person shooters (FPS) and fighting games. The Incontrol Triple Play eSports event had FIFA 16, Call of Duty Black Ops 3, Street Fighter V, Mortal Kombat XL and Super Smash Bros. Wii U. It brought over 300 persons to the Chinese Benevolent Center in Kingston. This is the largest turn out for a eSports competition in 2016 so far. The competition even caught the attention of international EVO World Fighting Game Champion, Phillip “KDZ” Atkinson who returned to Jamaica to compete. KDZ was outdone in star power however as the Honorable Usain Bolt was in attendance and he was no spectator as he had his own Call of Duty team on hand to compete.
The event had huge support from some of Jamaica’s biggest business brand names such as Digicel, Heineken, Samsung, I-Cool, Buzzers and more. Many patrons were on hand to enjoy the event themselves and share their competitive nature with fellow gamers of the event. A couple of the cool functions at the event was watching the NBA Finals on the Curve TV that had Digicel Play’s cable service. Another one worth highlighting was Samsung’s Mobile Gear VR supported by Oculus. A lot of people packed the booth to try out the Gear VR as VR technology is certainly on the rise as of late.
I caught up with Phillip “KDZ” Atkinson from Empire Arcadia, the Most Documented Tournament winning eSports team in the world. I had a chance to shoot a few questions to him regarding his return and the competition.
ZC: What brings you back to Jamaica?
KDZ: My team competes here and we needed someone to represent Street Fighter V so I decided to “come back to Jamaica”. I travel back and forth to the states and the Caribbean at least 2 to 3 times a year.
ZC: What’s your motivation behind competing in Jamaican eSports events like this?
KDZ: Representing my team is my ultimate motivation. I play for Empire Arcadia and one of its focus for 2015 and 2016 is helping to develop eSports in underrepresented regions of the world. Since VXG in St. Marteen, I find myself more and more visiting the Caribbean to compete. There is a diverse level of skill down here and I use it to expand my own skills in competitive gaming.
ZC: Speaking of Empire Arcadia, your team has been working on developing eSports in JA since 2014, do you think there has been any progress?
KDZ: I believe there has been tremendous progress. If you look at how eSports started in Jamaica long before EMP came to Jamaica, to what EMP did with Digicel and Flow in 2014, to Cyberbox in 2015. Just being here in this event and seeing all these companies that are associated with this event, the progress is evident. This is a huge improvement from last year.
I think Jamaica is more knowledgeable about the eSports industry and have shown clear interest. It’s only matter of time before you start to see the international eSports organizations show their interest in Jamaica like (ESL) Electronic Sports League, BenQ group, the World eSports Council and more. Jamaica has great potential in eSports and I’m representing my team to show our support.
ZC: Who else here is representing Empire Arcadia?
KDZ: We have a few players in the FIFA portion of the event via my teammates the Silverbirds. They won the last 2 versions of this tournament and are trying to ‘3peat’. We also have Vendetta which is another division representing EMP in Call of Duty and they are trying to defend their title from Incontrol 2. So far so good on all fronts.
ZC: Ok; good luck in the tournament and thanks for your time KDZ.
*KDZ went on to win the SFV tournament that day*
The event showed tremendous progress in the development of eSports in Jamaica. With major corporations now showing interest and getting involved, its only a matter of time before Jamaica joins the global eSports initiative. We should see a lot more of eSports in Jamaica with summer just around the corner so stay tuned.