E-sport competitive gaming has hit astronomical heights in popularity over the last five years, becoming one of the world’s favourite hobbies and now Perth is in the spotlight.
On March 4th and 5th, more than 500 participants gathered at the Perth Exhibition and Convention Centre for the Perth Pokémon Regional Championships.
The meet covers three disciplines; Pokémon GO, Video Game Championships (VGC), and Trading Card Games (TCG).
This was the first time Perth has hosted an in-person e-sports event of this scale and it attracted players from across the globe, as far as the UK, Brazil, and America.
Robert Chen travelled from Canada to Perth to play in the tournament.
He said the sense of community at e-sports events was a big driving force in why he travelled to play.
“It’s not every day you meet other people who share the same passion and interests, especially as an adult,” he said.
“The community is more wholesome and friendly than I thought, and I have made friends that I still keep in contact with.”
Gaming as a hobby has continued to grow in Australia.
According to Bond University’s Digital Australia Report, 17 million Australians play video games, averaging 83 minutes per day.
A driving factor in the influx of competitive gamers are large in-person tournaments, where players say they can gather to discuss their hobbies and test their skills with other competitors.
Competitor Alan Thai said events such as these help participants to step outside of their comfort zone.
“Even though I knew I probably wouldn’t win it all, I knew I would be a better and more confident person from the experience,” he said.
Competitors say while e-sports would not replace actual sport, they are finding a sense of belonging within these communities.