GameBird LAN CLAN : First ever E-SPORTS event in Pakistan

A massive competitive E-Sport event in Pakistan? One always laughs such a thought away. Under the given circumstances in Pakistan with intermittent episodes of load shedding, internet with a poor quality and with no sponsor interested to back this up, the idea of such an event is hard to come by. Under these conditions, GameBird has taken upon itself to forge a solid path for the future of gaming and E-Sports in Pakistan. They conducted a tournament for Counter-Strike Global Offensive and  DOTA 2, two of the renown online competitive titles in Pakistan. Regional qualifiers were undertaken online in respective regions i.e, Karachi and Lahore while the Semi-finals and finals were arranged in Nishat Hall in Emporium Mall, Lahore.

Ideology Behind Gamebird

GameBird is an eSport platform for Pakistani gamers which hosts events, tournaments, and broadcasts. It was found 3 months ago but its ideology was already in existence 1.5 years ago from where they introduced GameBox for mobile games under a partnership with Telenor further introducing Direct Carrier Billing. So basically gameBird stands above all these things as pillars finally becoming a force to be reckoned with by carrying the future of Gaming in Pakistan on its shoulders. At first, GameBird received its share of criticism and skepticism as there was no past event of similar nature with a brand new method for entry fee through wallet codes and making five entries on steam per team. But they overcame all these barriers and successfully accomplished their objectives and came out as pioneers in Pakistan eSports.

A New Hope Of Sponsors For The E-Sports Of Pakistan

The reason an e-sport event was always a rarely visited idea in Pakistan obviously lied in a lack of sponsors to back the event up. Thankfully, this time around Telenor along with other sponsors of the event including WowBox, Chowkey, GameBox, Koyal, Goonj and My Telenor App stepped up and agreed to support this event financially. In return, they are pitching in a number of new concepts which are actually underpinning GameBird. These are  Direct Carrier billing, GAMEBOX, and wallet codes. We launched Direct Carrier Billing for Pakistani players in which they can purchase games from Google play store via their Mobile Balance. The concept behind this is to ease up the barrier created by credit cards being used only by 2% of the population. All you need to do is, recharge your phone and purchase a wallet code, which is coined under the association with Forest Interactive, and buy items, skins, games from Steam. Gamebird further emphasized on the Pakistani game developers to change their methodology. What Pakistani developers do is swarming the game with tons of adds making it rather annoying, what we want them to focus on is to make a well-crafted game instead and include purchasable items in the game i.e, skins, items, etc. This will definitely increase the quality and sale of their games”.  They launched a service named GameBox and added games available for download to the players with a weekly subscription of Rs 20. In the kid section, we made sure to exclude any violence and explicit content”.

A Detailed Sypnosis Of The Event

The tournament was comprised of regional qualifiers which were conducted on online servers in the respective regions. Unfortunately, they were poorly managed and received a brutal bashing and a barrage of criticism by from participant’s end. One of the prominent downsides was the lax time management apparently from both sides. A behindhand commencement of matches on servers and the tardy arrival of some teams just dragged the situation into a hectic turn of events even forcing some participants to stay awake for more than 24 hours adding up to stress. Thankfully, the team of IGEN came to the rescue and toned down the haphazard management a lot. The finals which took place in Nishat Hall were a lot better than the qualifiers with an immense investment of 1 million rupees into the event. And it was evident from the top-notch set up in the hall with a typical atmospheric feel of a gaming competition with 10 CPUs, 5 on one side for one team and 5 on opposite side with a castor in the middle along with a huge screen displaying the live matches (only for CS GO). Counter-Strike GO and DOTA’s competition were undergoing concurrently in the same with CS GO receiving a live commentary and reactions by the Caster Ayesha “Mythica” Samman. Seating for spectators was arranged at a 10 feet distance from the caster and gamers giving the spectators a thrilling experience. On one side of hall free to play console games and android games such as FIFA, Subway Surfer, etc were made available for the participants. There was a selfie booth and lined along with it, Telenor booths and standees for the promotion of Telenor services and DCB. The whole set up was running on electric generators, they removed the risk of load shedding from its root. Despite the enormous budget, the winning prize money was only 5 Lack Rupees which was constantly being pointed out by everyone involved. There was substantial room for improvement from management’s end regarding the proper screening other aspects. There was a lag between the live reaction of players and the main screen with castor, this can be definitely added to the list of improvements to be made. We conducted Q & A sessions from participants regarding their experience in this huge event.

Participants opinion

Shiraz “Sh1zzy” Akhter from Eximious, the winners of DOTA 2 tourney was brimming with positive statements,  “Certainly, this has been an amazing gaming experience for me so far with their on-point pcs and their broadcasting, it is safe to say that they have overachieved in this event. If we were to compare this event with other international events, I would say it is 50% in proportion to the events I had the chance to attend in Malaysia and China, in the future GameBird will definitely catch up to these events with involvement of further organizations and this will only go up from here onwards”, and he concluded “Few hiccups and troubles are part of events like this, we shouldn’t take a negative stance on this and maintain a positive attitude towards it by emboldening them to work harder and meet our expectations”.

Abdul “HSB” Haseeb, captain of Portal eSports the champions in CS GO, an ambitious gamer from Karachi was pouring out his views on the tournament, “I am very hopeful for the teams from Karachi, out of 70 teams, 50 teams were from Karachi, which goes on to prove how Karachi’s gaming is on the rise! My honest ratings for this tournament would be ‘Normal’, keeping in view the respective ups and downs, the tournament was neither excellent nor disappointing despite the major technical issues leaving the management with a caveat for the next time”. He further encouraged the gamers of Pakistan to elevate their gaming standards and get into the mainstream games like DOTA 2, CS GO, Fortnite, etc instead of relics like Call of Duty and CS 1.6, “Now with  increased financial support from sponsors unlike the old days, competitions like this are a golden opportunity to promote friendly rivalries between teams and lead to the mutual improvement and raising the level of gamers on a collectively”.

The aftermath of the event

Even though they have a lot of ground to cover, it was their first time and we ought to give them some credit as this event marked a major milestone achievement in the history of gaming/eSport in Pakistan. It will encourage other major corporations in Pakistan like Warid, Ufone, etc to invest in similar events and thus providing more opportunities for ambitious Pakistani youngsters to display their skills. This will hopefully lead to the emergence of young talents and teams capable of holding their own on an international level and making a name for themselves. “We congratulate teams Eximious Gold and Portal E-Sports on winning the country’s biggest PC gaming tournament and taking home the coveted trophy,” said Durdana Achakzai, Chief Digital Officer at Telenor Pakistan.

This uphill movement for eSport in Pakistan has only begun and it will take Pakistan’s gaming industry to a whole new level. Let’s keep our hopes up high for more exciting events by GameBird.