A Gift For Esports: PAX Australia Panel

Ben Scott
October 5, 2019

With the schedule for the 2019 edition of PAX Australia now in the open for the weekend of October 10th, we had the opportunity to sit down with those involved with the only esports focused panel featured at the event; “A Gift For Esports? Finding if someone has what it takes.”

The panel will be hosted by Seamus Byrne, a well known local editor for The Esports Observer and broadcaster for Byteside, on October 12th at 11:00am. Alongside him will be Brandon Defina, General Manager for Gravitas, Jocelyn Brewer, Psychologist for Cyber-psychology Research Group, and Andrew Kinch, Founder at Game Aware. 

In the mission statement for the panel it stated, “A lot of kids, teens and adults are now chasing the dream of esports glory and prize money to go along with it. Fortnite, The International, League of Legends, Overwatch, CS:GO and so much more now offers salaried careers and tournaments with millions on offer.” It continued to say “Whether you’re a parent or an esports star in training, how do you shift gears from just playing games, to really training for success? And how do you know if you have ‘the gift’ to go all the way”

Their mission statement closed by stating “our panel of experts, from psychology to esports coaching staff, explore what it takes and answer your questions on choosing the right path towards success.”

Above: Popular PAX Australia 2017 panel.

Insight from Seamus Byrne and Brandon Defina

Seamus Byrne, host of the panel, said to us, “over the years I’ve always liked to run panels for people trying to get into various parts of the games industry; stuff for both parents and younger folk that are eager to find their path into doing what they love as a career.”

Seamus went on to say “It seemed like a good year to explore esports in this way, given a lot of big ticket events getting more mainstream attention. So for the panel I’ve got people live Brandon Defina (Juves), who has lived it as a player and now as a manager. I’ve also got a child psychologist who is game positive, but has seen families dealing with kids who say they want to go pro but aren’t sure what to do next. Is the kid just wanting to play games all day, or are they ready to start truly training?”

“The idea is to explore what it means to really train, not just play a lot, as well as finding the right balance and gaining great value from esports as a pursuit,” Seamus concluded. 

When talking to Brandon Defina, General Manager for Gravitas, he talked about his involvement with the panel and what he believes he can bring to it. “I believe I’m well equipped to answer and talk about whether you’re actually good enough to become a pro, how to know the commitment it requires, and the positive effects the commitment and training can have on you,” Brandon said.

Brandon talked about the worries some families may have with esports by stating “there’s a lot of families curious about esports, but they likely don’t know the best training practices or how to discipline and commit to a craft the can have a positive influence. So that’s what I’d like to help people understand.”

“With most panels, I don’t go expecting to receive anything besides from learning from other people I’m on the panel with, and their different experiences. I just like to think I’m giving back to a community that gave so much to me,” Brandon concluded.

If you’re interested in attending the panel, it will be held at PAX Australia on October 12th at 11:00am AEDT. It has been made known to us by Seamus that he will also be recording the panel for his esports podcast, The Esports Moment, for those unable to attend the event. His podcast has been on hiatus for a couple months, but will be relaunching with the recording of this panel.