At the end of Rift Rivals 2018, in front of a sellout State Theatre in Sydney, Hamilton video gamer Quin Korebrits stood with his hands on the first piece of international silverware for Oceania.

It was the second Rift Rivals since its inception in 2017 for the popular online battle arena video game League of Legends.

It was also Korebrits' first international eSport tournament since the 2016 Worlds Championship. A more experienced player than he was back then, he has become one of the pioneers of New Zealand eSport athletes.

eSport has become a growing phenomenon in today's world with over 110 million people tuning in to watch the 2017 semifinal match-up at the League of Legends world championship against South Korea Telecom T1 and China's Royal Never Give Up.


New Zealand's scene has continued to grow with a High School eSport league running yearly, with Hamilton school Hillcrest High School partaking in this year's league.

Despite the creation of eSport clubs and teams, Korebrits said New Zealand now needs to do more to support upcoming athletes.

"New Zealand could start supporting players by offering scholarships for people looking to work in eSports," Korebrits said.

He said that while it can be a once in a lifetime opportunity to pursue a career in eSport, there is no fallback if it goes wrong.

"The best advice I could give is to give it at least a year and if you're not willing to fully commit to it then make sure you're going in knowing you have a backup option in mind."

Korebrits signed with Dire Wolves in 2016 at the age of 17, before transferring to one of Australia's largest eSport team, The Chiefs, at the end of the year.

He trains during the week, and every Friday he competes against other Oceania teams in the league, making a living from his passion of playing video games.

"If you do succeed the experience is a great opportunity, but that being said, the biggest con of playing eSports professionally especially in a wildcard region in League of Legends is the difference between coming second to eighth compared to coming first is immense and there are limited opportunities to showcase talent on the world stage."

While Rift Rivals is a target for Oceanic League players, the Worlds final held yearly is the main goal.

In 2017, Korean champions Samsung Galaxy came away with $2.6 million, while Korebrits' rival team Dire Wolves took over $20,000 away just for qualifying.
Oceania teams are in a more difficult situation when it comes to qualifying for the Worlds Championships.

The three top teams from each of South Korea, China, Europe and North America are selected to play, along with teams from South East Asia.

Last year only one team from a wild card regions also took part. Wild card regions include Oceania, South Amercia and Turkey.

Wild Card region representatives are also required to play in the qualification stage, which is held a few weeks before the World Championships finals. The lowest seeds from regions such as North Amercia are also included, which makes qualifying a difficult task for smaller regions.

Oceania has yet to make a Worlds final, making it difficult for athletes from New Zealand and Australia to make a name for themselves on the big stage.

In the United States, League of Legend players are averaging a salary $320,000 a year, thanks to partnerships with major sport teams such as Golden State Warriors.

As a parent to Quin, Jacqueline Korebrits, said there was no initial thoughts against Quin going into eSports as a career as he loved to play the game.

Jacqueline Korebrits and Quin Korebrits Photo / Facebook
Jacqueline Korebrits and Quin Korebrits Photo / Facebook

"We knew he loved to play the game but didn't really know much about the eSports scene until he almost made it into the OPL. He actually wouldn't have been able to play in the OPL then as he was still only 16," Ms Korebrits said.

It wasn't until he was offered a spot with Dire Wolves after his 17th birthday that we had to ask lots of questions about everything."

She said it was a massive move from them as Quin moved overseas at the age of 17, but due to good communication with the organisation she felt safe enough to let him pursue his career.

Organisations support their players with accommodation dubbed 'gaming houses' where the players live and train.

"It was a massive move for us then as he was only 17 so leaving home to go live in another country was a big deal. We had good contact and communication with his new boss so felt secure that he would be looked after."

Ms Korebrits said parents and schools should start supporting children as eSports and Technology continues to grow.

"I would say talk to your gamer and find out as much as you can about the game or games they are wanting to play, how they might get into a team, where they might have to live to be able to play.

"If your gamer gets offered a contract to join a team as a pro player support them. It's a great opportunity and a young person's industry. They can always go back to tertiary study or do something else if it doesn't work out. Quin is better travelled than we are so already winning seeing the world."

Quin has said one of the pros of working in eSports as in most cases, the organisation cares for their players. They are provided with a gaming house, food, while organisations also focus on creating healthy balanced lifestyles for gamers.