How much do cybersportsmen earn in Kazakhstan

About popularization of e-sports and ranks in this direction in an interview with Kazbek Zhangaziev
Фото: 05.08.2022 131

Kazakhstani cyber sport is is gaining more and more popularity among nation. However, in the process of its development as a professional sports discipline, it faces a number of certain difficulties. . About what awaits domestic cyber sport in the future, and how Kazakhstani athletes conquer the virtual Olympus, the executive director of the Cyber Sport Federation of Kazakhstan Kazbek Zhangaziev told the correspondent of the

Recall that in 2018, cyber sport in Kazakhstan was officially recognized as a sport. However, today, the mood towards this sport among a large part of the country's population is skeptical. And a pronounced skepticism is inherent in the older generation, although disputes arise among the young people also.

"In our country, stereotypical thinking is very strongly developed that computer games are "evil", that this is an unnecessary waste of time. We are trying to hold as many tournaments as possible, including republican ones, in order to prove and show that our guys who take an active part in these tournaments can earn money on this, that taking part in the same international tournaments become famous and create a certain positive image of our country. As in any sport, athletes need a springboard for further professional development. And in our sport, the algorithm of actions is actually the same. We want to help future champions develop within the country, provide them with salaries, places for training, so that in the future they can perform the best in the international arena," Kazbek Zhangaziev said.

According to Kazbek, in order for the majority of the population in Kazakhstan to realize that computer games are not so "evil" and that cyber sport is a really promising field, it is necessary to wait at least another ten years.

"In other words, when a new generation comes to replace it. I think that our generation in adulthood will be easier to relate to computer games and cyber sport in general, " the executive director of the e-Sports Federation said

Cyber sport & Olympics

In the upcoming Asian Winter Games, in addition to traditional sports disciplines, athletes will compete in cyber sport areas. To our question as to whether cyber sport disciplines will become an Olympic sport, Kazbek confidently answered, yes.

"It's just a matter of time. If you look at the countries of Asia, then there cyber sport is an integral part of the culture. In the winter of next year, the Asian Games for the first time in the history will include in the medal standings in eight disciplines. We have assembled the Kazakhstan national team, and our athletes will also take part there. I think that since cyber sports were included in the Asian Games in a relatively short period of time, I assume that in the near future it will be included in the medal standings of Olympic sports. "

As for the "ranks" for cyber sportsmen who will win at major tournaments, the representatives of the Federation have an answer to this score.

"We have formed a document that was submitted for approval to the Ministry of Culture and Sports. After its approval, we will be able to assign full-fledged categories to our athletes within the framework of the federation's tournaments.

Also, the executive director of the Federation noted that if we start from the latest statistics of views of broadcasts and competitions in cyber sports, then in this case the Olympic Games need cyber sports, and not vice versa. According to him, the inclusion of cyber Sports disciplines in the Olympiad will significantly increase the coverage of views, and attract the attention of the majority of young people.

"In addition, we are actively working on the issue of creating cyber sports arenas in the regions in order to give an opportunity to conduct training camps for cyber sports athletes, as well as to provide a platform for basing cyber sports organizations," Kazbek Zhangaziev added.

Development of cyber sports in Kazakhstan

If you plunge into the history of the development of cyber sports as a whole, the first league of cyber sports players appeared in 1997 in the United States due to the huge popularity of the computer game in the genre of shooter Quake. However, in the post-Soviet space, Kazakhstan is far from the first country where cyber sports has been recognized as an official sport. In July 2001, Russia became the first country in the world to recognize cyber sports as an official sport. But, five years later, cyber sports was excluded from the register of sports due to non-compliance with the criteria. As for Kazakhstan, as described above, recognition at the official level in our country, this sport received relatively recently. However, if we look back in the history of the first cyber sports tournaments in Kazakhstan, then its dawn falls on the beginning and mid-2000s. Then in Kazakhstan, as in neighboring Russia, computers were not a universal phenomenon and were actually a luxury item. In this regard, the so-called computer clubs began to be in demand, where for a fee guests could enjoy the game for some time. With the development of these clubs, sports interest among visitors began to develop. Since in the early 2000s the Internet and a personal computer were an expensive pleasure for ordinary citizens, then the competitions were held within the framework of the local network in one room. As a rule, the organizers of "local" tournaments were the players themselves. But, closer to the mid-2000s, cyber sports tournaments began to gain mass.

According to Kazbek Zhangaziev, the first more or less serious tournaments with good prizes began to be held in Kazakhstan in 2008-2009.

"There was no federation then," Kazbek recalls. The tournaments were initiated by the players themselves, with the support of sponsors who were also fond of gaming. At that time, there was an initiative group of people who tried to systematize the holding of professional tournaments, but their venture had a one-time effect. In other words, they held a certain number of competitions for one year, but after that this topic was quickly forgotten," he said.

Back in 2002 in Seoul, the Kazakhstan national team took second place in the game (StarCraft: Brood War, National Tournament). In the following years, until 2009, our compatriots took part in several significant international tournaments. And eight years later, they reasserted themselves in 2017 in Poland, taking first place.

Strategy for the development of cyber sports in Kazakhstan until 2025

One of the priority goals of QCF (Qazaq Cybersport Federation) is to hold a regular Cup of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Victory in this tournament will allow Kazakhstani cyber sports athletes to receive the title of Masters of Sports. In addition, this championship is a platform for the formation of national teams.

Also in the coming years, the Qazaq Cybersport Federation intends to create an electronic database of athletes, judges and coaches of Kazakhstan, to increase the number of tournaments, including through the creation of a school league and even a league of civil servants. By the way, the latter found popularity among officials.

"We held a couple of tournaments with the participation of civil servants in several disciplines. This year, representatives of the state and quasi-state sector competed in the discipline of FIFA 2022 - the most popular football simulator. This was the fourth tournament among civil servants," Kazbek said. The experience of past seasons of the Cup shows that among civil servants there is a large number of cyber spot fans who not only closely follow the tournaments, but are also ready to actively participate in them."

Also, according to the executive director of the Cyber Sport Federation of Kazakhstan, the construction of the first arena in the capital to hold national tournaments on it and attract foreign organizations to hold international competitions at the Kazakhstan site is in the works of their organization.

"In addition, we are actively working on the issue of creating arenas in the regions in order to give an opportunity to conduct training camps for athletes, as well as to provide a platform for basing cyber sports organizations," Kazbek Zhangaziev added.

The Federation also plans to make a decision by the end of 2023 regarding the localization of game servers of some disciplines in Kazakhstan. This should put an end to the training of domestic teams in the territory of neighboring countries.

"We are also actively working to increase the investment attractiveness of the eSports industry in the country. Our plans also include the creation of "Cyber Sport Academies" throughout Kazakhstan, where potential players will be able to study for free."

How much do cybersportsmen earn in Kazakhstan

What do domestic "cyber sportsmen" live on and what is their real earnings, taking into account the fact that today the largest cash prize in cyber sport is estimated at tens of millions of dollars. And, to be more precise, at the time of The International 2021 (the first Dota 2 discipline and the largest annual tournament among others), the prize fund of the tournament amounted to just over $ 40 million.

"Again, it's all a matter of time. To hold tournaments with such a prize fund, active development of this field and a large number of sponsors are necessary. Not so long ago, our team took part in the tournament held in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), the organizers of this tournament were the Shanghai Federation. The prize fund amounted to 50 million soums (2 million tenge). For three days of the tournament, our athletes were able to earn 2 million tenge. Plus, the organizers of the tournament fully covered the costs of accommodation and flight. "

Kazbek also noted that the earnings of athletes depend on his belonging to any organization.

If the athlete(s) does not perform under the auspices of the organization, then his main earnings are formed at the expense of prize money won at tournaments organized by frequent investors. But, there are a number of organizations that pay a stable salary to their athletes. In addition, athletes can claim a certain percentage of the prize money. The average salary in such organizations ranges from 200 to 400 thousand tenge."

Continuing the theme of the development of cyber sportsmen within one organization, Kazbek noted that the population's perception of training and the layout of the life of "virtual Olympians" is too stereotypical. For example. Most of the time, teams spend on training. And contrary to the established opinion that such training takes place mainly sitting in front of a monitor screen, the real training of athletes is arranged completely differently.