Interview with NODWIN Gaming ZA Head of Operations about the expansion and league
Mar 12, 2020 11:25 am
NODWIN Gaming’s expansion into South Africa is something to get very excited about. India’s leading esports company announced its expansion to South Africa early this month and a week later, they announced the Umzansi Esports League with R1 million combined prize pool. Registration for the Umzansi Esports League will open on 22 March. Its first edition which encompasses two seasons a year, each with a LAN final (Cape Town and Johannesburg). Before the league registrations open, we are interviewing the big players in NODWIN Gaming ZA.
We already spoke to Merlin Wiedeking, NODWIN Gaming’s Head of International Business in an interview last week. Now, it is time to talk to Nathaneal Slabbert, Head of Operations, NODWIN Gaming ZA.
Interview with Nathaneal Slabbert
Check out the Q&A below, where we dive into some important questions, from the challenges ahead to the Umzanzi League.
ESC: What unique challenges does the South African esports scene face?
Nathaneal: “There are a number of unique challenges we face in South Africa. For example our geographical location. Because we are at the tip of Africa, it does make it somewhat difficult to regularly compete against the best or higher skilled teams. Latencies are above 150ms which puts low-latency games like CS:GO out of play and even making Battle Royale games an uphill challenge when trying to qualify. Another big challenge is data prices in South Africa.
Whilst the ISP market has substantially grown and become more competitive over the last few years, it is only still viable for a handful of gamers that are located in areas close to major cities and even when being close to these cities, some still face limitations to access. Mobile data has been declining in price very slowly, stagnating the mass adoption of mobile titles compared to what we have seen in other developing countries. I’ve seen the effects first hand on what mobile data price drops create for the gaming space in India, and it’s insane. Almost everyone there is talking about some form of a mobile title they have an interest in. Now with the latest push to lower data in South Africa, this is a great opportunity for esports to thrive. This country does have all of the indicators needed for such a ‘boom’ to occur.”
ESC: Where do you see the South African esports scene heading in the next two to five years?
Nathaneal: “There are some variables that could change the outcome in esports in this country. What I’m starting to see is the interest from endemic brands (computer brands), non-endemic brands (general consumer brands), and MNO’s (Mobile Network Operators) growing rapidly. Everyone wants to be in esports in some form or way. It’s the new thing that’s catching everyone’s attention. This market is going to be a totally different landscape in the next 2 – 5 years (in a really good way).”
ESC: FIFA20, Tekken 7, CSGO and PUBG Mobile has been announced for the Umzansi Esports League. Does NODWIN plan on expanding the league to the likes of Dota 2 and Fortnite as well?
Nathaneal: “For this year, No. We are offering a complete balanced amount of titles, aimed at all audiences and markets being PC, Mobile and Console. For the next year and onwards, it will really depend on what the appetite we would have from the gamers. However, that is just for the Umzansi League, and the possibility of other titles being introduced by NODWIN by means of other IP’s is looking good.”
ESC: Can you tell us anything else about the Umzansi Esports League?
Nathaneal: “The Umzansi Esports League is a league for everyone. There are definite expansion plans on the league, by means of tiers and other opportunities for gamers. This year we aim to create awareness of the league so that we get all eyes on it, otherwise, you will have to wait and see :D”
We would like to thank Nathaneal Slabbert for taking the time from his busy schedule to chat to us about NODWIN Gaming ZA and the Umzansi Esports League. It is an exciting time for South African esports fans and players. The future looks brighter than ever with NODWIN Gaming entering South Africa.
Header image via Nathaneal Slabbert