This January a unit of Bravado Gaming, a South African esports team, packed their computers and waved goodbye to their mothers to move into a small house in Phoenix, Arizona.
Their plan was simple: spend the next six months eating and breathing computer games – and competing against the best in the world.
They call it Project Destiny, and it is already paying off.
“What we’ve done is literally any South African team’s dream," says Dimitri Hadjipaschali, captain of the six-person Counter Strike: Global Offensive team.
"In the past, when we would qualify for an event or competitions, we’d literally rock up to tournaments in America or Europe at best case one week before the tournament. We’d get there, jet lagged, and have four or five days to get in the best practice we could get."
The team, says Hadjipaschali, got crushed.
With a new base in a different timezone, things changed fast. Weeks after the move Bravado bested the highly-rated Team Dignitas in the FACEIT champion series' season 5 closed qualifier. That suddenly put it on the radar of the professional gaming community.
"In North America, the biggest surprise was the elimination of ESL Pro League side Dignitas at the hands of Bravado, who recently moved to the US to compete with the region's best" - by @HLTVorg— Bravado Gaming (@bravadogaming) February 20, 2018
Read more: https://t.co/KHTHi0YUzM #bvdgaming #projectdestiny #bvdalienware
If the team now emerges in the top two of the massive FACEIT ECS Season 5 Challenger Cup this weekend, they will gain entry into a lucrative gaming league – in a very fast-growing market. According to NewZoo, a games intelligence research company, the esports economy is booming. With an audience of 380 million, it is expect to hit $905.6 million this year.
Meanwhile, the move has apparently not done any damage to the team's popularity back home.
"We had people literally staying up to 6AM, not even sleeping, and going straight to work and school just to support us and watch," says Hadjipaschali.
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