The 691st Cyberspace Operations Squadron held an electronic sports (eSports) tournament for U.S. Air Forces in Europe- Air Forces Africa Airmen, Dec. 5, 2020.
“Our most important goal was to connect Airmen during COVID-19 and to create a platform where Airmen can just have fun,” said Capt. Gregory Huete, 691st COS operations flight commander. “We see eSports as a great way to stay connected during the pandemic, to build a community and to then launch that community even further once the pandemic subsides.”
The tournament encompassed 156 matches from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., with 29 teams and 115 players from over three countries and 26 USAFE-AFAFRICA-based organizations.
“Our squadron has had a gaming community of about 30 Airmen for a little over a year now, and we wanted to take it to the next level,” Huete said. “We attended an eSports tournament in Germany with more than 20,000 gamers in 2019. The plan was to attend more in-person events and local area network parties over the year, but then 2020 happened.”
After attending a massive tournament in 2019, the 691st COS created an official Air Force Gaming organization.
“I oversaw the creation of the tournament,” said Airman 1st Class Kareem Henley, 691st COS vulnerability management operator. “I chose what games we played, built our custom server, organized the teams, created the brackets and ensured all games ran smoothly during the tournament. I was also the tournament master for Call of Duty Warzone and Apex Legends.”
During the tournament Airmen played Rocket League, Call of Duty: Warzone, APEX Legends, League of Legends and Rainbow Six Siege, across multiple gaming platforms.
“Many people don’t realize how big eSports has become in the past few years,” Huete said. “An in-person eSports convention can draw as many people as a large sporting event and is often an all-weekend activity.”
The tournament was open to anyone who had the skills to be competitive and wanted to play.
“Nowadays it’s really hard to connect with people,” Henley said. “This tournament was a way for Airmen throughout USAFE-AFAFRICA to connect while adhering to all COVID-19 restrictions. We now have a space, a server, for Airmen in USAFE-AFAFRICA to interact and connect with individuals who share the same passion for playing video games.”
The next tournament is scheduled to take place within the next few months. The 691st COS is currently working on the specifics. The winner of the tournament had bragging rights until the next competition, but the creators of the tournament are looking to divvy out actual prizes in the near future.
For more information about the 691st COS eSports Tournament or to interact with local gamers visit https://www.facebook.com/gaming/USAFEGamers/.