Esports Around The World is a series of profiles outlining the esports ecosystem in various countries globally. The series ties into ESI’s international esports business events, which take place around the world.
Australia is the face of the Oceania region in esports. But while the country holds a lot of potential, the industry in the land down under is largely untapped — both on a government and corporate level.
Australia has hosted esports tournaments consistently since the early 2000s, and today it hosts annual tournaments for ESL’s flagship Intel Extreme Masters CS:GO series. However, outside of Valve’s major first-person shooter, the country’s esports scene has a somewhat muted reach.
Australia has seen some limited success on the international stage, including both professional players and broadcast talent. Notable Dota 2 players Damien ‘kpii’ Chok and Anathan ‘ana’ Pham hail from Australia, the latter of which is the third-highest earning esports player of all time according to Esports Earnings. In CS:GO, North American organisation Renegades previously housed a storied Australian roster that saw international success and relevance, particularly in the 2010’s.
The land down under is also home to Apex Legends ALGS 2022 winning trio Rhys ‘Zer0’ Perry, Noyan ‘Genburten’ Ozkose and Rick ‘Sharky’ Wirth, several Australian Rocket League teams who’ve made a splash in the RLCS, and a handful of broadcast talent including Chad ‘SPUNJ’ Burchill, David ‘GoDz’ Parker, Natalie ‘NatTea’ Mahoney and Cameron ‘CJCJ’ Johns.
In terms of domestic organisations, ORDER was arguably the country’s and region’s leading competitive brand, but it ORDER permanently paused operations and went into administration in late 2022. Chiefs Esports Club, Greyhound Gaming, Pentanet, and Mindfreak are now some of the biggest faces of Australia, though they’ve had only limited success outside their borders. From a business standpoint, Sydney houses the headquarters of GAMURS Group, a major esports media network that owns Dot Esports and other gaming media properties.
With a long history of esports tradition, high median incomes, high internet penetration, and standout players who have made a name for themselves on international stages, Australia has lofty potential in esports. In the meantime, though, much of that potential remains uncapitalised, and Australian teams remain underdogs in most international esports competitions.
Due to the changes in ESL’s competitive Counter-Strike structure, Australia and New Zealand lost their regional CS:GO league, the main regional CS:GO tournament in the region, in September 2023.
Nonetheless, the Global Esports Federation created a new venture called the Oceania Esports Development Federation in 2023, aimed at popularising esports in the region and expanding the organisation’s reach in Australia.
The Australian Government does not recognise esports at the same level of traditional sports. There are no publicly-known legislative attempts to accredit competitive gaming, and neither the International Olympic Committee nor the Australian Sports Commission recognise esports.
However, the Australian Esports League partnered with the Australian Government’s money management resource to promote a high school initiative in March 2022.
The Australian Esports Association (AESA), which is a national member of the International Esports Federation (IeSF), says its vision is for “esports to be formally recognised as an activity or sport in Australia,” according to its website.
Australia’s close neighbouring country and fellow major Oceania representative New Zealand, by contrast, does recognise esports.
Notable Tournaments & Leagues
Most esports tournaments in Australia are domestically focused — perhaps due to the country’s relatively isolated geographic location, especially from Western esports — with the notable exception of IEM Sydney, which has been held for several years.
Notable Esports Organisations
Note that this is a non-exhaustive list and exclusion does not signify an org is not notable.
National Association(s) / Federation(s)
Note that inclusion in this list does not suggest any acknowledgment from ESI of its authority, works, or official capacity.
In 2017, Queensland University of Technology (QUT) became the first higher-education institution to offer a degree in esports. Since then, more institutions have followed suit, though it doesn’t yet seem to be a nationally concerted effort.
The Australian Esports League has a league for high school students and for university students.
Red Bull has opened a new venue at the University of Technology Sydney, helping students practice, stream, and compete, as well as serving as a proving ground for students who are pursuing careers in game development and esports.
This is a preliminary country profile and will be augmented with additional information over time. If you have any suggestions or feedback for this profile, please get in touch at [email protected]. Article originally published: February 9, 2023. Article last updated: September 22nd 2023.