There is no better barometer for the rise of eSports than its inclusion in the upcoming 2022 Commonwealth Games as a pilot event. The Games, which are due to be hosted in Birmingham, England, will embrace the competitive nature of eSports and its global popularity with a two-day event to be staged at the city’s International Convention Centre.
The first Commonwealth Esports Championships will feature bespoke branding, as well as medals that are separate from the fully-fledged events within the Games. Although it might still be a pilot event, there is genuine excitement that eSports could become part of the full program of the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
That’s on the proviso that this year’s championships – led by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) – prove a hit. If it’s not meant to be by 2026, it will almost certainly happen in 2030. The Canadian city of Hamilton, which looks certain to be chosen as the host of the 2030 Games, has already voiced its ambition for eSports to be a part of its event program.
Although the introduction of eSports into the Commonwealth Games has attracted some cynicism from traditionalists and former athletes such as British swimmer Sharron Davies, forward-thinking organizers believe this to be the best course of action to engage the next generation of Commonwealth Games audiences.
It could also inspire casual gamers to take the industry seriously as a fully-fledged profession. Dame Louise Martin, president of the CGF, said that the eSports industry is growing “dramatically” both in terms of “popularity and participation”.
With a long-term relationship between eSports and the Commonwealth Games looking increasingly viable, it begs the question as to who the likely contenders may be to represent Australia in Birmingham and beyond.
The Best Australian eSports Teams Revealed
It’s highly likely that potential representatives of the Australian national team at the Commonwealth Esports Championships will derive from one of the four following teams. These Australian eSports teams have been consistent performers across multiple disciplines:
The Renegades are one of the undisputed titans of eSports ‘Down Under’. They are a part-American, part-Australian team, which now boasts players competing in at least five disciplines, including Call of Duty, Rocket League, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO).
Although it’s one of the teams to watch in Australia, the Renegades are still not quite on the same level as those elsewhere in Europe and North America. They are priced at 25/1 with bet365 to win the next Rocket League CS Winter Major this month.
The UK-based sportsbook is considered one of the most reputable platforms for eSports betting in Australia, with competitive odds and exceptional coverage of the biggest eSports events via live streams for its customers.
- Dire Wolves
The Dire Wolves are another eSports team making big waves throughout Australia and New Zealand. They have been considered the number-one League of Legends team ‘Down Under’ for some time and the organization also has successful teams plying their trade in FIFA, Rocket League, Overwatch, and many more titles.
- Chiefs Esports Club
When it comes to Rocket League, the Australian team Chiefs Esports Club is the undisputed top dog. The Chiefs’ League of Legends team also operates at the highest level for LoL in Oceania, the LCO.
- Three of its six players are of Australian nationality, which could make them ripe for selection at the 2022 Commonwealth Esports Championships.
ORDER has a proud claim to fame of being the first eSports team to be fully crowdfunded. Established in 2017, ORDER has become a major eSports player across a string of disciplines, most notably CS:GO, League of Legends, and VALORANT.
It was in the latter where ORDER scooped its biggest success thus far, finishing first in the 2021 VALORANT Oceania Tour 2021 Championship.
It’s also a good idea to look at the most successful Australian eSports players in terms of their career earnings to date. 22-year-old Anathan “ana” Pham is, by far, the most successful Australian eSports pro, raking in winnings of more than AU$6 million.
He scooped AU$3 million in one event alone by winning the Dota 2 Six Invitational 2022 with Invictus Gaming. With a world ranking of three in the earnings stakes, Pham is sure to be considered for selection this summer.
Damien Chok is another that’s sure to be on the radar of the Australian eSports team selectors. Ranked number two in Australia in Dota 2, Chok has more than AU$1.8 million in tournament winnings to his name.
CS:GO is one of the most popular team-based eSports disciplines, which means Justin Savage could also be in the picture this summer. He’s the highest-paid Australian CS:GO professional, with AU$330,000 in career winnings to date.
With limited places up for grabs to appear in such a prestigious, ground-breaking event, it’s clear that the competition will be fierce for selection in the coming weeks. Individual or team success at the Commonwealth Esports Championships could be the catalyst for some of Australia’s top talents to move onto the global eSports stage.