Thousands Watch Aussies Compete In Huge Inaugural E-Sports Tournament
More than 200 teams have battled it out in a marathon e-sports tournament over three weeks that culminated in a grand final in Sydney on Saturday night in front of hundreds of fans and thousands more watching from home.
The final battle came down to Team Immunity going up against Team Justice, with the event -- held at Carriageworks in Redfern -- featuring some of the nation's best PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds gamers (PUBG).
Despite a big win for Team Justice in the first game, Team Immunity eventually came out on top, with the four-person squad taking home a prize valued at $30,000 -- which included an all-expenses paid trip to the PUBG Global Championship Grand Finals in California later this month.
Hundreds of spectators watched the teams go head-to-head in the arena and according to Twitch TV, thousands viewed a live stream of the PUBG tournament online.
The winning team -- Vasili Varipatis, Nathan Chung, Nicholas Elliott and Jesse Spencer -- said the unique features of the inaugural Red Bull Fight or Flight PUBG Tournament dealt more damage and made the entire game much more challenging.
Team leader Varipatis said the new game settings meant his team had to move a lot faster and be more aggressive in their game plan than they were used to.
"In the second game we definitely had a bit of luck with the circle shrink, and in the third game we just pushed it over the line,” Varipatis said.
"It’s awesome to win. We can’t wait to go to America to cheer on the other guys from Oceania who are competing in the event and watch some of our idols play. Maybe we’ll learn a thing or two as well.”
E-sports has seen a huge growth in popularity both in Australia and overseas, with thousands tuning in to watch live-streams of global competitions every year and the number of tournaments here in Australia also on the rise.
Speaking to 10 daily earlier this week, Varipatis said it was a great spectator sport. The Queensland-based gamer has travelled the world competing in major events, including most recently in Korea, Thailand and Sweden.
Varipatis said it was important for gamers to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
"I go to the gym, socialise, look after myself, we enjoy what we do," he told 10 daily.
"But with anything, if you take it too far it will have negative aspects on other parts of your life."
Joshua Inman, operations manager at ESL Australia, who jointly ran the 'Flight or Flight' tournament, said the competition helped boost support for amateur e-sports in Australia.
Inman said it gave gamers the opportunity to "play like a pro on stage" and challenged both amateur and seasoned players.
"We’ve had really positive feedback from players and the wider gaming community about the tournament," he said.