GP: How profitable is e-sports for its athletes?
TT: For our counterparts in America and Europe, it is certainly profitable, if you’re in a good team. Some of those guys earn up to two-and-a-half thousand Euros a month [not including prize money]. Flights, accommodation and other expenses are also all paid for. Most teams take around 60 per cent of their winnings on top of what they’re paid monthly. There’s a Warcraft player from South Korea who earns around 200,000 US dollars a year — and that’s just his salary, without prize money or endorsements. So you can do alright for yourself.
GP: So how does somebody get into Team Immunity? Do you have annual try outs?
TT: That’s a really good question! Obviously, our guys are practicing so much that we are generally aware of any rivals out there. I guess it’s like how an AFL team knows the good players from the other team and who to watch out for. That’s where the vast majority of our recruiting comes from. A couple of times, we have been approached by players and we’ve taken them up on their offer. But that’s very rare.
We do trial people. A [prospective] team member needs to show that they’re committed. They need to be sociable and not abuse people. Basically, they need to prove they have their head screwed on right. The people we trial tend not to do so well. You can’t just wake up one morning and say “I’m going to be a pro-gamer.” We point these people towards a team at the relevant playing ability. That way, they can work their way through the ranks and develop their skills.
GP: Are any of these e-sports athletes under contract, or can you basically poach anyone?
TT: In Australia, I can pretty much poach any player I want. Because we have signing fees, I can literally say “I will give your $5000 to sign with us.” So we’re quite lucky in that regard. Our major sponsor Intel Australia is a really big name in e-sports. We wouldn’t be here at the eGames Expo if it wasn’t for them. Naturally, we have a code of conduct that our top players have to agree to, as well as NDAs that relate to our partners.
GP: Do you have a personal favourite out of the games Team Immunity competes in?
TT: Definitely. When I used to play competitively, I was a big fan of all the Quake games. But the one that stands out for me for team-based gaming is Return to Castle Wolfenstein — not the old one, the one that was created on the Quake engine. It had all these different classes, like medic, engineer, soldier and so on. This added a huge layer of complexity to team-based games.
GP: What would you say is the biggest achievement of Team Immunity to date?
TT: Last year, our Call of Duty team flew over to Singapore for the Sling HD event, which is a cable TV pay-per-view channel. They filmed a 14-part series over the course of five days. We played all the best teams from across the entire Asian Pacific region and didn’t lose a single game. We came home with a trophy and a big cheque. The other big thing was our Counter-Strike 1.6 team. Last year in Cologne, we came ninth in the world. The best bit was when we knocked the United Kingdom out of the competition. They didn’t think we would be a challenge for them and we knocked ‘em out. It was brilliant!
GP: Beating the poms is always a plus. Thanks for your time Tony.
TT: No problem.
To find out more about Team Immunity, visit the official Team Immunity Web site.
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