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15 August 2014
Eileen Bell (above at the gaming console) is Australia’s first female gamer and a world champion.
She needs super-fast internet suitable for gamers, which is why she chose not to live at The Women’s College, Sydney University, where her mother Dr Amanda Bell is the Principal.
She does, however, love the College grounds and the buildings and she has met one of the former Principals, Quentin Bryce, for afternoon tea when Quentin was Governor General. Eileen has also attended a few College guest speaker dinners, including the one at which Lucinda Barlow, Head of Marketing Google Australia and New Zealand, spoke. It was where Eileen learned that only about a third of the world is online. As a Westpac graduate working in technology and a world champion gamer, being unconnected is not something Eileen can imagine.
A member of Australia’s highly successful Championship Gaming Series (CGS) team, Eileen’s playing skills have helped her travel and brought financial gain.
Recently, the Australian team competed at the CGS Pan-Asian Final, in Wuhan China, in the world’s first purpose built e-Stadium.
“We smashed it,” Eileen (above at the Wuhan Gaming Championship) says of the team’s success in China. In the individual section of the competition she remained undefeated in Wuhan, and then came third in the World Finals in the US.
“It is possible to earn a living as a gamer but you have to be very good and it is location based – gaming is very big in Asia. It’s not just about winning games and going to competitions there’s the sponsorship dollar as well,” says Eileen.
The Australian CGS team is sponsored by Mountain Dew. Each member receives a wage and any prize money is divided, but the term ‘sponsorship’ runs deeper than corporate branding of teams. There’s also money to be made as a gamer through ‘twitch tv’.
“twitch tv,” explains Eileen, who has an account but does not use it as much as she used to, “is the largest live video platform and community for gamers. Google recently bought it for a reported billion dollars. There are more than 45 million unique visitors per month. Twitch is live streaming. You can view yourself and others playing and they can view you. Viewers can donate to your screen. It’s another social media network with potential for business.”
CGS teams feature a total of 10 athletes, each playing the official League games. Eileen’s specialty is Dead or Alive 4 on Xbox. (Eileen also holds the distinction of being one of the few cross platform players – she games in Xbox and PC.)
Eileen goes on to explain, “Dota 2 is a multiplayer online battle arena video game. It has daily peaks of over 800,000 concurrent players. The Dota 2 competition in the US has a total prize pool of US$11 million ($11.7m) with US$5m ($5.3m) for the overall winner. The prize pool is partially funded through fans and viewer involvement.
Women in business
“My aim, though, is to combine my love of business and gaming and be the CEO of a gaming company. I worked for Sega as a quality assurance tester – testing games for faults and issues - it killed my gamer’s soul a bit.
“What I want is to play a part in something I see as very important, linking cognitive processes that are required for professional gaming through to management concepts. It’s possible to use principles of gaming to transform various work tasks and deploy strategies in the workplace to be more interactive by using various Apps and Technology,” she explains.
So, who inspired Eileen to start gaming: “I’m pretty sure it was my uncle. He had this game called Alex the Kid. I was three or four when I saw it and I finished it in a day.
“I love competition and did a lot of sport as well. E-gaming is like any sport played competitively. There’s strategy, rules, it’s exhausting… although in this case more mentally than physically,” Eileen admits.