Gaming is becoming pop-culture and that could certainly be seen in this past weekend, when the popular rapper Jack Parow and his team, took the trophy in his home turf, at SA’s celebrity-captained FIFA15 gaming tournament. The action-packed event was a celebration of the global launch of the massively popular FIFA game and was attended by celebs, soccer fanatics and gaming enthusiasts alike.
Rapper Jack Parow has been crowned South Africa’s first FIFA15 tournament champion at the first major local celebration of the international launch of the best-selling game’s latest edition.
Parow wiped out his competition – comedian Siv Ngesi, Good Hope FM presenter SeanO and Heart 104.9 FM’s Tapfuma Makina – in a gaming showdown as never been seen before, at MWEB’s GameZone in Cape Town on Friday 26 September. The four celebrity captains and their teams took each other on in a virtual World Cup tournament to celebrate the global launch of the highly anticipated FIFA15 game, which hit the SA market on Thursday. In a nail biting finish, Parow and his team members for team Netherlands snatched victory from Ngesi, whose team Germany paid for a fatal mistake in the second half that gave Netherlands a penalty in the box.
The game was paused, the players debated with match referee, Clinton “Zombiegamer” O’Shea, but ultimately Netherlands took a 2-0 lead that would win them the trophy. Smash talk abounded between the two captains in the final round, with chirps exchanged such as “Hopefully Jack Parow plays better FIFA than he makes music” from Ngesi for team Germany, and “I don’t even watch your comedy”. As victory became apparent, Captain Parow and his Netherlands team huddled in celebration before each claiming a brand new Xbox One and the FIFA15 game. Hands were shaken and heads were hung but nobody walked away empty handed as prizes were given to all players, including a FIFA 15 game compatible with their favourite platform.
While MWEB hosts a FIFA game launch every year, this year’s event boasted a bigger venue, more high-profile participants and a bigger crowd than ever before, while MC Carl Wastie kept the energy levels at a peak throughout the tournament. Dozens of spectators watched the game live, while fans followed the action remotely via live-stream on the MWEB GameZone Twitch Channel and local streaming page.
Putting a new swing on things, this year MWEB invited four local celebrities to captain their very own soccer team. Parow took control of Netherlands with his two teammates Alan Meyer (his social media manager and occasional bassist for Van Coke Kartel) and Daniel Buys (A.K.A DJ Sex on Decks), while Spain was captained by GoodHopeFM host SeanO who was joined by Sekoati “SK” Tsubane (former 7 de Laan actor and singer). World Cup Champion’s Germany was taken care of by funnyman Ngesi and his mates Riccardo Patane and DJ Lyle. Last, but not least, Argentina (runner-ups of the World Cup) was captained by Tapfuma Makina from HeartFM and eTV’s Tech Report, joined by Katlego Maboe from the Expresso Show. Lucky spectators made up the rest of the teams, who won their spots in a twitter showdown on the night.
To put the hype around Friday night’s tournament in context, the launch of FIFA15 is considered one of the biggest events in gaming this year. Last year’s release was the biggest selling title for Playstation and the second biggest seller for Xbox 360. The game brings football to life in stunning detail with new features, including more than 600 new emotional reactions for the virtual players and an electric stadium atmosphere not experiences before in previous editions. FIFA 15 launched on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on September 23 in North America and September 25 in Europe and South Africa.
“With more than 80 000 gamers on our network MWEB has the biggest online community of gamers in SA and FIFA15 is by far their favourite sports game,” says Des Kurz, head of Gaming at MWEB.
Kurz earlier said it was a common misconception that gaming was a niche subculture when in reality it has become a mainstream pastime. A recent report on Media and Entertainment by PwC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) for 2014-2018 named gaming as the number one online entertainment choice for South Africans. Game sales for 2013 exceeded R2.4 billion in SA, making it is larger than the music industry (R2.1 billion for 2013) and is expected to grow more than 9.1% a year over the next five years. “Gamers need the best possible internet connection – a very fast, stable line with very little input delays. We like to think of them as the connoisseurs of the internet and aim to provide them with a fantastic internet experience,” said Kurz.
MWEB would like to thank its event co-sponsors Heineken, Wimpy, Red Bull, Xbox, Hisense and kalahari.com.