What We Did in 2020

2020 started with plenty of plans. We had LANs and events lined up, along with the usual online competitions. And then COVID-19 hit and the world (and us) had to make new plans. Gone were any physical events for the year, but we found ourselves inundated with requests to operate a variety of new online competitions. We weren’t ones to turn those opportunities down, and that meant plenty of opportunities for our users.

As 2020 draws to a close, the number of registered users on the site reached over 45,000. We are absolutely humbled by this achievement and couldn’t have reached it without the support of every person who visited our platform.

Other stats achieved over the year included hosting over 1,700 tournaments, over 48,000 matches and over 16,000 teams. We also continued to increase the titles on offer as Warzone became one of the year’s most popular games. Rocket League returned after some time away, with the community really getting involved. All the regular games saw the support increase with plenty of new players jumping in and competing.

Over the course of 2020, we awarded around R250,000 in cash to winners, along with products sponsored by our partners and sponsors, marking the year as one of the biggest in terms of prize pools on the site.

2020 proved to be one for the history books on many levels, and we have a lot we can look back fondly on. This is the year that was on ACGL…

DEBONAIRS PIZZA SERIES

The year started with another two months of the Debonairs Pizza Series, which featured cash and vouchers across multiple titles. February saw the yearlong series end – just one month before lockdown arrived.

Over the one-year run, R120,000 in cash was awarded, along with R60,000 in pizza vouchers.

MYTHIC ROYALE

After the Streamer Royale for Fortnite in late 2019 with Redragon and Sparkfox, the brands decided that in 2020 they would be all-in on Fortnite. Joined over the course of the year by MSI and Crucial Memory, R60,000 in cash was given away to Fortnite players in the two seasons of Mythic Royale.

The second season saw the addition of the Mythic Loot giveaways. Play Fortnite on our site and earn entries into draws. Over R30,000 in product was given away over the second season. During the second season, we also secured the use of the game’s official spectator tool, which made viewing Mythic Royale the best way to experience local Fortnite.

The support over the period was insane, and saw over 16,000 Fortnite participants in 2020, with around a third being ‘unique’. There were also nearly 14,000 matches played.

PRO EVOLUTION SOCCER

The, erm, ‘other’ football game got an early spin in 2020 with a R5,000 tournament series for PES 2020.

Following the release of eFootball PES2021 Season Update, we again hosted a R5,000 tournament series in November. Much like the previous game, you can expect a second season of action early in 2021.

FIFA ENATIONS QUALIFIERS

In February, we announced the second South African qualifier for the FIFA eNations Cup. In 2019, we did the very same, with two players heading to London under the SAFA banner.

Sadly, just days before the scheduled qualifier, COVID-19 did its thing and the entire FIFA eNations Cup was suspended.

LOCKDOWN

When the unprecedented situation of a nationwide lockdown arrived, we increased our online activities with more cups, extended Matchfinders and more.

Lockdown was a tough time for many people and where we could, we assisted with charity drives and other support. In April, the Kick Covid FIFA 20 tournament went live with the proceeds going to Home From Home and The Haven Night Shelter.

PUBG MOBILE

In April, Tencent Africa asked us to run a R10,000 PUBG Mobile tournament for duos. We of course did not say no. What we thought was only a one-off tournament with their backing became more. Over the remainder of the year, we have continued to offer more cash for both duos and squads for the popular mobile title.

The title saw over 1,500 unique participants battle across 31 tournaments.

3 TEAMS 1 CITY

The lockdown and the impact it had on real-world sport continued to deepen as the year went on. Esports and gaming was one space that could adapt and continue online (unless South Africa’s other friend loadshedding had a say).

The 3 Teams 1 City campaign saw three Cape Town sports franchises dip into the esports space with event organiser EsportSA. We had the honour of operating the FIFA 20 tournament, which saw multiple qualifiers, club playoffs and the ‘Super Challenge’ final.

ESPORTS FACTORY TALENT CUP

FIFA 20 felt like the go-to title of the pandemic. In June, Esports Factory went searching for FIFA players to add to the esports roster.

To do so, we hosted the ESF Talent Cup on both PS4 and Xbox One. Up for grabs was a one-year contract for the winning (and accepting) player per platform.

CALL OF DUTY COMMUNITY CLASH

After hitting a stumbling block around the original iteration known as the ACGL Leagues, July saw the Call of Duty Community Clash get under way. The tournament series was operated under an official tournament licensing agreement for the game, meaning it was over 18s only.

That didn’t stop 21 teams from signing up and competing in the R13,000 cash series. With regular streams and an extended format, the community and teams once again raised their voices and let the world know our scene still exists.

PINK MOVEMENT

The year saw toxic behaviour boil over in many forms. Sexism, threats of harm, racism, bigotry and more reared its ugly head. In the middle of an already testing year, the ugliness made headlines and voices were being heard.

In August, we joined forces with Facebook group GOWZA and multiple other partners for the Call of Duty Pink Movement series.

Sadly, this ugliness is not isolated, and as the year draws to a close, we would like to remind everyone that visits our site that ACGL has a zero tolerance towards racism, sexism and bigotry.

TOYOTA ESPORTS CHALLENGE

Rally games do not often get a run in the local racing scene, but in September, Toyota decided it was time it got a chance. A massive prize pool of R60,000 was on offer for racers in World Rally Championship 9 (WRC 9) across three platforms.

Fastest time submissions led to weekly - and end of series - race lobbies, which also featured local real-world drivers from the Toyota Gazoo Racing team.

PREDATOR WARZONE SHOWDOWN

October saw Predator Gaming drop in and sponsor the R20,000 Predator Warzone Showdown. Eight weeks of competition offering R2,500 in cash each week.

Teams battled every Wednesday to qualifier for the Friday finals, where invited streamer teams joined them. Those that tuned in witnessed some epic local Warzone action from a thriving scene.

RAGE 2020

The annual rAge event went digital for 2020, and it brought us along. R30,000 in cash, along with an equal amount in products were up for grabs. And that excluded the R30,000 cash in the MTN Asphalt competition that formed part of activities.

Over the preceding weekend, and the weekend of rAge itself, we hosted cups, matchfinders, a treasure hunt, the wheel of fortune and more. Our aim was to bring a physical stand filled with engagement to life online. We like to think we achieved that.

VOX INTERNAL ROCKET LEAGUE

Telecommunications company Vox came sniffing around the esports and competitive gaming space. To give them an idea of what a tournament and stream is like, we hosted their employees in a Vox Internal Rocket League competition.

Over 50 two-player teams signed up, with the final day’s action streamed live on their YouTube channel. Hopefully, 2021 will see the company expand and offer direct support of the local scene.

FESTIVE MATCHFINDERS

As is traditional over the final weeks of the year, the site takes a bit of downtime. To keep players who are not on holiday entertained, we decided to keep our matchfinders going.

The Festive Matchfinders were sponsored by Redragon and saw more titles added to keep players going until the 2021 seasons kick off again.

WARZONE ZERO HOUR+1 QUALIFIER

As we were about to shut down, Activision reached out and invited us to host a South African qualifier for a MEA Warzone tournament. With a $20,000 prize pool, we were not about to say no to an opportunity for more local Warzone action.

The top four teams in the qualifier chose one of the four local streamers to join their team, and compete in the epic prize pool final.

BUT… THAT’S NOT ESPORTS

2020 was a year of us diversifying. Thanks to some unique concepts we developed for site engagement, we found ourselves promoting outside of the traditional esports space.

In March we celebrated the release of DOOM Eternal with GameFinity. This included a treasure hunt, exclusive pre-order incentive, playing the original DOOM on the site and more.

This was followed by a social media campaign during lockdown for MSI and their mascot Lucky, who was – like the rest of us – on lockdown.

We then ran a campaign with the launch Mortal Kombat 11 Ultimate Edition and Cyberpunk 2077. No matches being played but exclusive avatars to secure, and a copy of Cyberpunk 2077 up for grabs.

We decided to have some fun this December with a tournament for Among Us featuring streamers. After asking for the public’s local streamer options, we were blown away by the response. While ten joined the crew for this event, 2021 will probably add even more.

AND…

The year also saw us contracted to assist Red Bull with staffing at Red Bull Hit the Streets, the online League Of Legends Solo Q and PUBG Mobile South African qualifier to M.E.O.

We gained access to Apex Legends PC custom lobbies, continued offering the monthly Top 5 video with our partners at Avermedia and Sonic Informed, and expanded our team.

Site features over the year included the addition of Awards, and improved Matchfinder system (which added the option to set challenge times). While we removed the app from the stores late in 2020, there was a plan, and that plan will be revealed in 2021…

2020, despite all its challenges, was a good one. And we hope that – excluding that COVID-19 element – 2021 brings even more.

See you all soon…