Mettlestate’s grand plans for the South African esports scene

The South African esports organisation, Mettlestate, have already gained a solid reputation for providing the nation’s gamers with a series of top-class gaming tournaments. But Mettlestate are planning to take things up a level thanks to some large investment from the South African prepaid telecommunications brand, Smartcall.


© Mettlestate

Smartcall recently made the surprise announcement that they were willing to invest R10 million (£56,000) into Mettlestate, and it’s hoped that this investment could help the esports organisation push forward in their quest to make South Africa a key player on the global esports scene. Not only is this one of the largest investments in South African esports to date, but it also reveals how seriously esports is being viewed by companies outside of the gaming industry.

Why have Smartcall invested in Mettlestate?

Smartcall’s marketing manager, Jan Cronje, has gone on record as stating that it would be a ‘wasted opportunity’ for the telecommunications firm not to get involved in the local esports industry. With the younger demographic of esports choosing to avoid traditional media consumption methods, it can be difficult for brands to penetrate these markets.

But by investing in Mettlestate, it’s hoped that Smartcall can achieve a much greater brand recognition amongst a young and growing audience. This is all the more true as other telecommunications firms such as Vodacom have already successfully sponsored South African gaming events such as the recent Vodacom4U CSGO Cup in Pretoria earlier this year.

Mettlestate has already formed strong partnerships with brands such as Monster Energy, and it’s clear that the investment by big business into esports is going to help this phenomenon continue its impressive growth rate.

As Mettlestate is known as being South Africa’s premier esports organisation, it’s hoped that Smartcall’s investment could pay off in the long run. Mettlestate has successfully developed and hosted many top-level gaming tournaments for titles like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Counter Strike Global Offensive and Dota 2. But with a massive investment from Smartcall, we can expect to see Mettlestate broadening its ambitions significantly to help kickstart a competitive gaming revolution in South Africa.

The current state of the South African esport scene

A quick look at the world’s largest esports tournaments shows that the majority of these gaming events tend to take place in regions such as North America, Europe and Asia. But thanks to the sheer enthusiasm of gamers, we have seen the esports phenomenon taking off in some fairly unlikely places.

Whilst South Africa is a nation that has endured all manner of struggles over the past few decades, it seems that a new generation of gamers are taking to esports with plenty of enthusiasm. A recent look at the Vodacom4U CSGO Cup revealed a wide range of players from a variety of backgrounds who could easily take on the best in the business. Not only were there three all-female teams, but the tournament also saw the arrival of Ekasi Esports who were an all-black side from Soweto.


© Vodacom 4U

Although Energy Esports managed to receive top honours at this tournament, it was noted that this event showcased all that’s good in South African esports with diversity and positive attitude being a marked contrast to the often toxic atmosphere of global competitive gaming. And with the introduction of big money investors like Smartcall, Vodacom and Monster Energy, it looks like the South African esports scene could teach a valuable lesson for the rest of the world.

Challenges facing competitive gaming in South Africa

Whilst there are many well-meaning esports projects such as the High School Esports League in South Africa, it’s clear that many obstacles remain in place before the nation can become a competitive gaming superpower. Attracting investment in terms of sponsorship is still a priority for the South African esports scene, but developing a robust and flexible competitive gaming infrastructure is also hugely important.

Esports organisations like Mettlestate have already done a wonderful job in delivering a host of well-organised gaming events, but it would be great to see one of the larger esports tournaments like DreamHack or ESL bringing their big budget operations to the Rainbow Nation. This is only possible if companies like Samsung and Telkom continue their efforts to sponsor some of the fledgling esports tournaments currently taking place.

However, thanks to the likes of Mettlestate and many other ambitious esports platforms like Mega8, it seems that there’s enough of a hunger for esports in South Africa for the competitive gaming revolution to carry on regardless. Mega8 have already found success in developing their Pro 16 League for the Dota 2 game, and with the Rush esports tournament being a huge success earlier this year, it seems that whether you are into Fortnite, Hearthstone or Vainglory, then South Africa’s vibrant esports scene has a place for everybody.