By Vanessa Obioha
In a strategic move, Cassava Network, a blockchain infrastructure ecosystem providing Africans with inclusive financial services, and Play1st, a Web3 gaming app store and subsidiary of Africa’s largest mobile games publisher, Carry1st, have partnered to launch the continent’s largest Web3 esports gaming league with an inaugural tournament, the ‘Cassava x Play1st Cup’.
The tournament will see teams from across Africa battle it out for cash and NFT prizes. Scheduled to run for a week, starting from November 18 to 26, the inaugural tournament will feature the popular Web3 game ‘Thetan Arena’, which can be downloaded via the Play1st store. The finals will be live-streamed across social media platforms and live commentary will be provided by some of Africa’s leading esports personalities.
“Esports has seen rapid growth in recent years, and gaming is seen by many as an important way of onboarding new users into Web3,” said the Head of Marketing at Cassava Network, Elsie Godwin.
“By launching the Cassava x Play1st Cup we’re looking to inspire more Africans to participate in a booming global industry. Perhaps more importantly, we’re excited to see the level of competition gamers will bring to the tournament!”
Esports has seen a massive surge in popularity in recent years, with VentureBeat estimating a global viewership of more than 420 million people in 2021. According to Dot Esports, the total esports market value hit $1 billion in 2021, with sustained growth projected into the future. As more and more Africans connect to the web, particularly via mobile, similar growth in esports interest and viewership is predicted across the continent.
Web3 gaming is an emerging submarket that merges gaming with economic incentives via the blockchain. There are many different ways to integrate blockchain into video games, with popular paths including resaleable in-game items represented as NFTs, token rewards for achievements, and ad revenue redistribution to players. Although these are common, there are no fixed models for Web3 games and developers are regularly finding new ways to innovate in this exciting market.
“Gaming is as much a part of our culture today as cinema and television, and the growth of esports and gaming in Africa is expected to continue as devices become more powerful and more affordable,” added the Head of Web3 gaming at Carry1st, George Payne.
Registration for the tournament is via Play1st and will close on November 16. Winners will share a $1,000 prize pool while also receiving unique NFT badges to display on their Play1st profile. The tournament itself will consist of group heats followed by a knockout stage to determine the winner.