Timewade have won the biggest esports event of its kind in the South West, after a showdown of over 30 corporate teams hosted by Exeter College and organised by Tech South West.
The Exeter-based IT firm came out on top in an energetic Rocket League tournament, with the Exeter Chiefs rugby team, Bishop Fleming and the Ted Wragg Trust among those taking part.
The festival, which took place on Friday 2 June, was supported by ultrafast broadband provider Jurassic Fibre, software engineering firm Rowe, tech marketing agency Program and fan engagement platform Filmily.
Heat events took place at Cornwall College, City College Plymouth, South Gloucestershire College and Bridgwater & Taunton College ahead of the final showdown in Exeter.
Timewade is an IT consultancy that works with SMEs across the South West, helping them to maximise their use of technology to achieve business goals.
Alfie Edwards, an Apprentice Service Desk Analyst at Timewade, also won Player of the Tournament. He said: “Extremely happy! I think Rocket League is a game for three, not just a game for one, and these boys pulled through today so I am pretty happy with them. Took home the win, couldn’t be more happy really.”
Alongside the gaming, attendees to the event took part in an industry roundtable discussing the future of the industry in the South West and an interactive cyber escape room run by the Police SW Regional Cyber Crime Unit.
Exeter College students were involved in making sure the day ran smoothly.
Charlie Stone, currently studying A Levels, is hoping to progress to the Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Esports at the college next year. He said: “Today’s been interesting because I’ve met people I never would have interacted with, met businesses I didn’t know existed in the South West and it’s nice to know they are committed to pushing out esports.
“I’ve been helping out officiating all the games, making sure they run smoothly and sorting out any tech issues, which is a great experience and it’s been a brilliant atmosphere.”
Robert Thornberry, studying the HNC in Applied Computing, said: “Today I have been doing a bit of everything from camera work to making sure the tech is working and running between the live games and the live streaming space.
“It’s great work experience working on an event like this because you have to be a good communicator and solve problems on your feet just like you would in a real work environment.”
Annabel McCabe ofJurassic Fibre, sponsors of the Esports Festival SW, said digital skills were “vital for the future economy of the South West”.
She said: “Gaming continues to be one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and is only possible with ultrafast broadband. Young adults are at the forefront of driving this industry, and the Esports Festival SW is a fantastic platform to showcase their talents in the global esports arena.”
Rob Bosworth, Vice Principal and Deputy CEO at Exeter College, said: “The esports movement is building, and I believe colleges have an essential role in maintaining the momentum.
“It’s been fantastic to build on the success of last year’s Esports Festival and bring colleges and businesses from across the South West together. In the last year we have seen esports grow in the UK with it now being represented at events like the Commonwealth Games so we can see it is vital to provide students with the opportunity to perform in this type of arena.
“We are seeing our esports students go on to a wide range of successful careers due to the highly transferable skills they are learning here at college. I look forward to seeing where the Esports Festival 2024 will take us!”
Esports is one of the fastest-growing parts of the tech economy, with Newzoo predicting the industry’s total audience to surpass 640 million by 2025.
The South West is well placed to take advantage of this booming industry, according to Tech South West, a membership organisation that supports and connects the tech ecosystem in the South West.
Tech South West co-founder Dan Pritchard said: “The global rise of esports brings opportunities for gamers, event organisers, developers and creatives to pursue great careers in tech, and the South West of England is well positioned to support and take advantage of this growth.
“With strong universities, tech hubs and college groups, we are building a strong pool of creative and tech talent. The Esports Festival SW provides a fantastic platform for students to put their skills into practice, and to showcase the opportunities the esports industry brings to the South West tech ecosystem, its young people, and the regional economy.”