A new organization has snapped up one of Oceania’s most talented Starcraft players.
Nuovo Gaming has signed Starcraft 2 Terran player Ethan “iaguz” Zugai as it aims to become a household name in the Oceanic scene. Iaguz will be joined by fellow Australian Hearthstone player Tom ‘TomFLR’ Finlayson on the Nuovo roster.
“What we saw were two elite players both needing a home,” Nuovo’s CEO Alex Gonzalez tells the Daily Dot. Answering the question about why Nuovo got into StarCraft and Hearthstone first. “And after sharing our vision for the project and the Oceanic scene they were both clearly interested. I think the recent announcement to have Hearthstone at the ANZ Championship by ESL is great though and international events such as DreamHack are providing support for the Oceanic scene by allowing players like Ethan to have paid invites to their tournaments via qualifiers.”
The introduction of additional investment into the esports scene in North America and Europe has resulted in greater stability and higher prices for players and Nuovo hopes that a similar situation will be repeated in Oceania.
Nuovo says that the Oceanic region currently lacks infrastructure, sponsorship, and organizational support to compete with the rest of the world. They’re not wrong—the scene suffers from a lack of investment; and while organizations such as The Chiefs and Legacy have done an admirable job in propping up the scene, the differences between Oceania and major regions such as Europe and North America are stark. Players generally do not play full time and juggle gaming between education and part time work.
“Players are undervalued and it is currently unrealistic to make gaming a career in this region compared to others, where it is easily viable.” Gonzalez said in a statement. “We’re here to change that.”
Gonzalez’s plan is ambitious and he already faces a significant hurdle straight out of the gate. Most of his current staff is based in North America and timezone differences may cause complications, especially when his competition is based in Oceania.
Presently, however, it’s smooth sailing. Their two signings are well known in their respective communities. Iaguz formerly played for Root gaming and competed during Season 3 of Starcraft’s largest event: the 2015 World Championship Series.
TomFLR, while less prominent than iaguz, had a notable fourth place performance at The Pinnacle 4 and is currently qualifying for the ESL ANZ Hearthstone Championship.