On April 2, history was made at Eko Convention Centre in Lagos, Nigeria. For the first time, the continent’s best and brightest eSports stars converged in one location to duke it out and claim the title of best in their respective disciplines and a share of the lucrative $15,000 prize pot.
Organized by Africa’s leading eSports body Gamr, the event was an unqualified success and set a thoroughly enjoyable precedent for the extravaganza to happen yearly.
Let’s take a closer look at what went down, who came up and what to expect from future GamrX events in the years ahead.
Bringing out the cream of the African eSports crop
Although this marked the first time that Africa has hosted an eSports event of this magnitude, that’s not down a lack of interest or a dearth of players on the continent. A recent report from Newzoo suggests that behind Asia Pacific, the region of Africa, Europe and the Middle East is home to more gamers (758 million, to be exact) than anywhere else in the world.
Aware of that latent potential and the burgeoning interest in the eSports industry from enthusiastic African fans, Gamr decided to bring together the best players from across the continent in Lagos.
Before the staging of the event, several qualifying rounds were scheduled in 10 countries from all over the continent, including Algeria, Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.
The winners proceeded to Nigeria to vie for the accolade of best African player in their chosen game.
Glitz and glamor
In total, there were five different competitions decided on the night: Mortal Kombat 11, FIFA 22, Call of Duty Mobile, Player’s Unknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile and Red Bull Kumite featuring Streetfighter.
As could perhaps have been predicted before the contest, the winners hailed from different corners of Africa, with Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Tanzania all producing the best players in Streetfighter, Call of Duty and FIFA 22, respectively.
As well as more than 1,000 competitors, Lagos also hosted some 40,000 attendees and viewers, many of whom followed the increasingly popular trend of betting on eSports in Kenya to place a wager on their favorite competitor.
Elsewhere, there were live performances from major artists like Blaqbonez and BNXN, while some big names from the African entertainment industry were in attendance, including Charles Anazodo, Ivan Kiduuka and Dr Sid.
Setting the standard
Perhaps the biggest measure of the success of any event is the legacy it leaves behind and the subsequent iterations that follow in its wake.
If that’s the case with GamrX, it is surely beyond all doubt that the celebration was a roaring success. That’s certainly the view of Sholakunmi Adenipebi, who confirmed that the event will become an annual fixture.
Adenipebi, who is the current COO of Gamr Africa, also promised to open the doors of the competition to more nations and players next time round.
The warmth and enthusiasm with which the extravaganza was received by the African people is a testament to the fact that the continent had been crying out for such an event and it’s destined to become a hugely popular date in the calendar going forwards.
Did you tune in to the inaugural GamrX event this April? If not, make sure you don’t miss out next time around!