Meet the team answering the Call of Duty
It’s cash not plaudits gamers want to win
Ateam from the UAE shot their way to glory at a Call Of Duty tournament in Abu Dhabi, walking off with a Dhs14,690 prize, but it’s small change for the gaming fanatics who want to make a full-time career out of their passion.
The players have called out to organisers, sponsors and teams to bring together more tournaments in order to go pro and make a stable, full-time income through gaming.
After six months of Call of Duty Black Ops III tournaments across the Middle East – with teams emerging from Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia – the Call of Duty World League Middle East Finals at Yas Marina Circuit saw UAEbased team Valour eSports take top spot.
CEO and manager of the winning team Valour eSports, 21year-old British expat Jason Mann, said the Middle East is still a struggling market for first person shooter (FPS) and strategy gamers.
“The Call of Duty and Counter Strike scene is still growing, but people are not taking it seriously,” said a triumphant Mann. “Tournament houses and organisations like us are ready to invest in the community but there is not much maturity yet.”
Currently a law student at Middlesex University in Dubai, Mann said he took a Dhs25,000 loan from his father to start Valour eSports and has already made a profit.
“I started Valour eSports in April this year and have built it to what I had never imagined,” he said. “There are a lot of finances
involved, we need sponsors, business partners and funding for the team.
“We have also set up an online apparel store, which contributes.”
Currently, Valour eSports takes 10 per cent of tournament winnings and the rest is split among the players.
“The more tournaments we have, and the better our players perform, we can start giving more benefits,” Mann said.
“If you are a FIFA player in the region, you can make millions every year, but in Call of Duty, the average a pro player can make including online international tournaments would be around Dhs20,000 a month.”
Twenty-year-old Indian expat Devangshu Rath, captain of Savage Gaming and a stunted at Manipal University Dubai, said he started off winning smaller tournaments held in malls.
He said: “The first time I won a gaming competition was a Dhs250 tournament at a mall, which I paid Dhs50 to get into, and now I make a couple of thousand dirhams every tournament I win.
“This is the first time we have had a COD event of this level with venue, accommodation and travel covered.”
FIREPOWER: There were thousands of dirhams in prize money for gamers in Abu Dhabi
TOP GUNS: Valour eSports celebrate outshooting the opposition