With the Melbourne Esports Open being held for the second year in 2019, we spoke with Overwatch Contenders Australia commentator Ben Green. Green has been commentating esports since 2012 and has been involved in the industry since its earliest days in Australia.
Now, as an Overwatch Contenders commentator, Green has seen a seismic shift in esports in Australia in terms of viewer numbers, event size and player salaries.
Esports in Australia continues to grow and we spoke to Green about his job, Overwatch esports and the industry in Australia.
Green told us that he first got interested in esports commentating in 2012.
I was a DJ and avid gamer who enjoyed watching Starcraft 2 esports and competing in Call of Duty on PC.
At some point, I saw someone else commentating the low-level games that I was playing in, and thought to myself… ‘Why can’t I do this?
Since he owned the audio equipment he needed, Green decided to give it a go. Though, he told us that in the beginning it was slow going. He says that for a long time he was commentating low-level matches to a maximum of 10 viewers.
That didn’t dampen his enthusiasm though and today it’s just as strong and infectious as ever.
The great thing about where esports is at right now in Australia, is that it is so easy to get involved.
Green believes that if anyone wants to get involved with esports in any capacity in Australia they should “just start doing it.” More specifically, for those wants to commentate, “it truly is as simple as practising over the top of VODs from professional games, and recording them on to your computer for review.”
Practice makes perfect and commentating esports is no exception. After trying your hand at VODs, Green suggests finding some local amateur matches and uploading the footage to YouTube.
You don’t need to be given an opportunity to start casting esports in Australia, it truly is yours for the taking.
Part of the reason why it’s so easy to get involved in esports in Australia is due to the enormous growth the industry has seen in the past few years. More players than ever are earning salaries as part of sponsored teams. Massive live events such as IEM and MEO are becoming more prevalent and as such, the number of jobs available has risen immensely.
Green also says that this is only the beginning for esports in Australia and the future is incredibly bright.
At IEM and MEO in 2019, Overwatch esports will take a prominent place with the Overwatch Contenders Season Finals. And being a commentator for Overwatch Contenders Green is right in the thick of it.
We asked him how commentating a stream compares to a live game and he told us that there a “huge difference.”
An arena stage with a live audience is a very different environment to what we would regularly see in the studio. You can feel the excitement in the crowd, and hear the roar every time there is a great play.
You can draw energy from the crowd as well, but by the end of a live event day, you are almost always far more tired than you would have been if you’d cast in a studio.
It really takes it out of you.
I also get to wear tracksuit pants and thongs in the studio if I really want to… can’t do that in the arena!
Finally, when asked what his favourite moment commentating esports was he told us it was commentating the Overwatch Contenders finals at MEO 2018.
It was the first time many of these players had been able to play on such a big stage in front of their family and friends, and you could tell how much it meant to them.
The crowd was amazing and the games were top notch.
Here’s hoping that when Green returns to Melbourne for MEO 2019 he can recapture that feeling and commentate another incredibly successful event.
The Melbourne Esports Open will be held at Melbourne & Olympic Parks from August 31 through September 1.
For more information head to the official website.