The Society of Manga, Anime and Gaming (SoMAG) is forming a James Cook University (JCU) eSports sector to support local talented students to compete nationally and globally.
Aivan Bayaua, the President of SoMAG, explained that the eSports committee they are building will stabilise and solidify SoMAG’s strides in eSports. He believes they will soon be on their own path as positions are elected, members gain skills in management, and they establish their identity at JCU. Aivan said forming this committee has been a “large, specialised undertaking” and has only been possible through specific members of SoMAG’s community who have “dedicated countless hours”.
The committee has eight members currently:
- Three hold a Central Position, which involves talking to other Australian universities and reporting to SoMAG and JCU.
- Two hold a General Position running social media accounts and event planning.
- Three hold a Team Representative Position who seek out information on their respective games.
The committee is currently forming League of Legend teams and looking into additional competitive games, including “Super Smash Brothers Ultimate, Rocket League, and Overwatch,” said Aivan.
More updates on the developing committee and their first strides in eSports can be found on the JCU eSports and Gaming discord.
SoMAG and JCU Estates announced their eSports facility valued at 200k in 2020. The room facilitates fifteen gaming computers and two large monitors for console gaming. SoMAG’s eSport teams compete there and the facility is open 24/7 to students and staff.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected the university significantly. It forced SoMAG to adapt as JCU implemented restrictions on how many students could train and compete in person. To survive, SoMAG moved all their events online onto the SoMAG Official Discord server for one semester in 2020. They ran social screenings, cosplay events, gaming nights, and provided space for eSports training as Cassianne Darwin, SoMAG’s Vice President from 2018 to 2019, had done in the past.
Cassianne Darwin formed SoMAG’s first League of Legends team in 2018, and they trained both in person and on SoMAG’s discord server. The team ranked as the third competitive League of Legends team in Queensland and ninth in Australia in 2019.
“As long as we do not face any harder restrictions from the pandemic, I believe esports will be very successful,” Aivan said.
“This is a growing community. Reach out to us if you are interested in management positions or trying for a team.”
While SoMAG pushes for a JCU eSports sector, the club itself focuses on community over competition across all their interests ranging from gaming to cosplay.
“I recommend coming to our weekly social screenings or games nights if you are interested in manga, anime, cosplay or gaming. It is a great opportunity to socialise and make friends in this community,” Aivan said.
“Our site has links to all of our social media if you want to know more.”
SoMAG has done significant work for the eSports scene throughout the years. With the new eSports committee, they have grand hopes for eSports at James Cook University.