It seems we’re on the cusp of a new era in esports for South Africa.

Last week, Telkom announced their Digital Gaming League (DGL) tournament with a sizeable R1 million prize pool. But how large is that amount if we were to compare the prize money offered in esports competitions in the rest of the world?

Telkom’s tournament will feature wide range of games and below are the biggest tournaments from the most popular amongst them:

  • Starcraft II 2015 World Championsip series: $137 500 | R2 259 503
  • League of legends (LoL) 2015 World Championsip: $2 130 000 | R35 023 696 
  • Defence of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2) The International 2015: $18 429 613 | R303 039 048
  • Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) The World Championship 2015: $100 000 | R1 645 725
  • Hearthstone 2015 World Championship: $250 000 | R4 114 312
  • Heroes of the Storm (HotS) Global Championship Events: ~$4 000 000 | R65 829 000 
  • Multiple Games Telkom DGL Masters Programme Tournament: R1 000 000

At first glance, Telkom’s effort to entice players with prizes looks about as generous as a kick in the nethers, but that’s far from the truth.

First of all, the Rand’s terrible exchange greatly inflates the other tournament’s prize pools while the DGL Tournament has been offered in our local currency.

The other tournaments listed are world-wide events with a much larger player-base to draw from and an exponentially larger audience. These combine to attract sponsors, investors and purchases which are added to the prize pool. DGL, on the other hand, is only in South Africa.

Telkom-esports
Famous esports presenter Paul “ReDeYe” Chaloner with the clan leaders of South African esports teams and Telkom’s chief marketing officer Enzo Scarcella,

Inversely; even when incorporating  those two factors, individual winners from those tournaments will earn more. The reason for this is the fact that our local tournament is extremely divided.

While the international tournaments centre around one game, our competition includes many different titles. There’s no word yet on a full list of the game that will be included, but all of the games listed above will feature. Also, don’t forget that most of these are team games, so winners will need to split the winnings between them.

It’s likely things will improve. Esports in South Africa is very much in its infancy. The reason this R1 million is even worth writing about is because it’s a big step forward for the local scene.

Telkom has also stated that it is looking for partners for the DGL. As esports becomes more popular and more partners get involved, the prize pools will invariably increase.

All this will hopefully lead to the developers who create the games being played on the local esports circuit noticing that the scene is gaining momentum. A little international attention can only help at this stage.

For now, though, keep playing games – your mom was wrong about you getting paid to do it.