Tassie’s eS­ports whiz

Sunday Tasmanian - - News - JACK PAYN­TER

TASSIE teen Sam Den­nis is quickly be­com­ing one of the best eS­ports gamers in the coun­try.

The 16-year-old Lind­is­farne boy is one of Aus­tralia’s top 12 Over­watch gamers and is eye­ing a spot in one of the mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar pro teams in North Amer­ica.

He makes a lit­tle bit of money each week but it’s only the tip of the ice­berg in a rapidly ex­pand­ing in­dus­try.

With a global au­di­ence of 380 mil­lion view­ers a year, the eS­ports econ­omy is ex­pected to grow to $1.4 bil­lion by 2020.

Sam said he started play­ing the game Over­watch when he was 13 years old.

“My mum bought me the game on my com­puter and I just started play­ing,” he said.

“I played on­line and some­one asked me if I wanted to play for a team.”

Sam was picked up by the Syd­ney Drop Bears team that made his­tory when it won the first Over­watch Con­tenders Aus­tralia grand fi­nal.

“It was about four months af­ter I got the game, we were just a ca­sual team and we went in and won,” he said.

He was then se­lected in an Aus­tralian squad of 12 but didn’t make the fi­nal team of seven that toured Thai­land.

He said his goal was to make the Aussie team for next year’s tour­na­ment.

Over­watch is played by two teams of six who bat­tle to com­plete an ob­jec­tive and is among the top five most pop­u­lar eS­ports games.

Sam’s dad Norm Den­nis said he wasn’t sure what to make of eS­ports at first and he had no idea what was go­ing on when watch­ing his son com­pete.

“I ac­tu­ally went and bought it so I could learn the game, which I’m no good at, but I’ve got more of an ap­pre­ci­a­tion for what’s hap­pen­ing,” he said.

“I can sit there and watch it now and I’ve got a rough idea of what’s hap­pen­ing. I still don’t know what the tac­tics are but at least I know who is win­ning and los­ing.”

Mr Den­nis said he was sup­port­ive of Sam’s pas­sion for eS­ports, pro­vided his school marks didn’t drop and he played a team sport out­side as well. “His coach has asked him if he wants to try out with some North Amer­i­can sides but he wants to fin­ish Grade 10 first and then look at what’s next,” he said.

“There’s quite a few guys now that are mak­ing their name in Aus­tralia and then head­ing to Amer­ica to play.’’

Pic­ture: SAM ROSEWARNE

GAME STAR: eS­port com­peti­tor Sam Den­nis, 16, is earn­ing a big rep­u­ta­tion across the coun­try.

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