PolarfluKe StarCaft II tournaments going from strength to strength
SA StarCraft II tournament organiser PolarfluKe tells us about their plans
PolarfluKe was one of South Africa’s first community-driven competitive gaming initiatives for StarCraft II. From humble beginnings, the organisation and the guys and girls behind it have gone from strength to strength.
Currently PolarfluKe is responsible for running the MSSA’s online StarCraft II championships, as well as the StarCraft II division of the NAG Gaming League, which looks set to be a highlight of their gaming year.
We caught up with Matthew Merks, owner of PolarfluKe, to learn more about the organisation, where it has come from, and where it is headed.
Currently there are a number of key individuals involved in the operation of PolarfluKe:
- Matthew Merks (fluKe): Owner – responsible for the day-to-day running of PolarfluKe.
- Nicole Pireu (NickyP): Sales and Marketing – responsible for relationship management and most money matters when it comes to sponsors.
- Husain Haffajee (phant1m): Writer – responsible for weekly PolarfluKe website content.
- Sven Paulsen (Lumin aka. shadowthief): Commentator – PolarfluKe’s beloved StarCraft II commentator and YouTube superstar.
- There are many other community members who give their time to make PolarfluKe run effectively and efficiently, these include Han Cilliers(Lola), David Abes and Peter Graham.
You must construct additional pylons!
Discussing the growth of PolarfluKe, Merks said: “PolarfluKe is now two years old and we have come a long way from where we started. Our first tournament was on the 22nd of May 2010, having only 8 players and a prize pool of R2,000.00 from my own pocket.”
“Since the release of StarCraft II in August 2010 we have been able to run at least one StarCraft II tournament a month, and since April 2011 have always had a cash prize for the top players. In June of 2011 we had a lucky breakthrough and secured a private investor for the company, since then we have given away at least R7,000 a month to players. We have been able to give away just under R90,000.00 in cash since we started, R77,000 of that since July 2011.”
“In July of 2011 we made steps to try and secure opportunities for the community, resulting in PolarfluKe registering a club with Mind Sports South Africa, and subsequently became the tournament provider for the 2011 MSSA Online Championships with the winner, Robert Botha (PandaTank), being chosen for the national team that went over to Korea to compete at IeSF 2011 World Championships,” said Merks. “Additionally, another player from the 2011 MSSA Online Championships was chosen to compete at IeSMoD 2011 World Championships (this championship is for disabled gamers).”
“This year we again have the opportunity to run online qualifiers for MSSA, this time expanding to the 2012 MSSA Premier Online Championships, 2012 MSSA Online Championships for Women, 2012 Provincial Online Championships for Schools, and the 2012 MSSA SA Schools National Online Championships.”
“Since PolarfluKe’s inception we have watched StarCraft II succeed overseas, especially in the form of MLG and IEM and have wanted to do something similar. In December 2011 we approached NAG and NGL to host their StarCraft II league. This has resulted in PolarfluKe being the tournament organizer for the NGL Online StarCraft II League and will culminate in the NGL StarCraft II Grand Final event at rAge,” said Merks.
“We are very excited for the opportunity to work with NAG and NGL as it provides the community with another opportunity, this time in a live environment, something we have not been able to do in the past. With the live setting at rAge it allows for far greater exposure for sponsors, NGL and for PolarfluKe. It will result in what we are calling a spectacle for the players and spectators.”
Prizes for the NGL Grand Final have not been finalised at this point, but Merks said that PolarfluKe has set the target high, “possibly resulting in a cash prize pool never seen before in South Africa.”
“The plan at the moment is to invite 32 players to the [NGL] Grand Final event. If we achieve our target goal with the prize pool, there is a very good possibility that we can pay all the way down to 16th place in the tournament,” added Merks.
Speaking about the planned spectacle of the NGL Grand Final, Merks said: “Not only have we secured space in the rAge LAN for the tournament, but we have secured floor space on the expo floor where parts of the event will take place. A more detailed breakdown will be available in the coming months as we get closer to official announcements for the Grand Final event.”
We asked Merks about the sponsorship support they currently benefit from, to which he replied: “Megarom is the only current sponsor for PolarfluKe who offer financial support for our prize pool. Additionally we have a private investor who helps with the prize pool and PolarfluKe’s day to day running costs.”
Merks added that “One of PolarfluKe’s greatest strengths is the relationships we have built with previous and current sponsors. I would not be surprised if a couple of our prior sponsors make a return to sponsoring PolarfluKe and our various events.”
We sense a soul in search of answers
PolarfluKe’s tournaments have also evolved. Merks explained that “The monthly StarCraft II tournament has fallen away to make room for weekly StarCraft II tournaments. From the 29th of May 2012 we will be offering weekly 1 night tournaments for StarCraft II. Details are available on the PolarfluKe website.”
“Dota 2 monthly tournaments will also be making an appearance soon,” added Merks. “We are working on providing a monthly Dota 2 tournament similar to the StarCraft II monthly’s that we previously hosted. We have not finalized details, but the tournament will be making its first appearance in June 2012 if all goes to plan.”
In conclusion, Merks said: “Since PolarfluKe started, partnerships with sponsors have been what has kept us going. PolarfluKe is now running as fully registered business with myself as the only full-time staff.”
“With the growth we have seen over the last two years, the goal is to be able to support both the StarCraft II and Dota 2 communities in terms of tournaments and sustainable prize pools. From there we will be making a move to bring on full-time staff to ensure we can move to greater heights and really ramp up our offerings for the community.”