Namibia’s expanding internet capacity will lay a strong foundation for the growth of electronic sport, says Namibia Electronic Sport Association (NESA) president Jonel van Schalkwyk.
After the establishment of the first local e-sports national team, Desert Sidewinders, where Namibia took on South Africa’s Proteas in an online test match at Defence of the Ancients 2 (Dota2), NESA has been hopeful of gradual growth, which it hopes will lead to more competitive matches with opponents in Europe and America.
“We’re hoping to start taking part in annual African competitions next year, particularly with Egypt. But to be realistic, we’re probably looking at 2017. Locally, players have organised themselves to take part in online matches, and WACS has played a part in it. As a federation, we are still some way from it, however,” she noted.
West Africa Cable System (WACS) is a submarine communications’ cable linking South Africa with the United Kingdom through the west-coast of Africa, of which Namibia is a part. The system was commissioned in 2012, the final phase of which was slated to be completed in September this year, promising to bring Namibia up to a capacity of 45% from the Initial Allocated Capacity (IAC).
IAC means the capacity or bandwidth allocated to the WACS investor/ party during the initial phase of the system’s commissioning. This in turn would improve the local internet and electronic sports online pursuits.
“We have been able to play against players in Europe on numerous occasions. However, there is still trouble having a stable connection when playing aginst players in the United States. It is always easier for us to play closer nations like South Africa,” Van Schalwyk explained.
NESA held its eighth annual NamLANLAN of the Brave annual competition in Swakopmund over the weekend, and Van Schalkwyk said the competition was another step towards growth for electronic sport in Namibia.
NamLAN, Namibia’s biggest computer gaming sport event to date, has been ever-increasing in popularity since it was established in 2008. This year, players competed for a grand prize of N$30 000, which in itself is an improvement from last year.
Van Schalwyk said the tournament was moved to Swakopmund, the first time it has been held outside Windhoek to accommodate the gaming community which is already on holiday there.