See what happens inside a sponsored pro eSports house - and check out some shiny new Asus laptops into the bargain!
In a quite suburban street in western Sydney's Lidcombe, something new has been born. Well, new the sense that it's something that the Australian eSports scene has not seen before...
A dedicated gaming house - sponsored by Asus, connected to a phat NBN pipe, and home to the eSports team Legacy eSports.
These are nothing new overseas. In fact, many of the best global teams owe their success to just such an arrangement, where players can live and breath the games they compete in, assisted by some serious sponsorship. That's exactly what Asus is hoping will happen with Legacy, and since the five-person team moved in at the start of 2016, it's looking like a winner.
"We're already seeing a lot of improvement," Aaron 'ChuChuZ' Bland told us when we visited. "We're playing better, and getting some good wins." He took us on a tour around the house, and while in some ways it really is your typical sharehouse, in others it's quite unique.
"This house - and Lidcombe - was chosen because its in Sydney's NBN sweetspot," he said. With five housemates playing together and individually, and all streaming and broadcasting in their own time, connectivity is paramount. Ironically, we couldn't see Legacy in action because the datacenter at the heart of their chosen game - League of Legends - was having a rare outage.
It's a shame, too, because the house has a lot of hardware on offer. There's a permanent five player gaming station set up in the dining room, and each player has their own laptop in their room - all provided by sponsor Asus.
But how does a gaming house work?
"We wake up at 11 in the morning, and have a few hours for cleaning, breakfast, and getting ready for the day," Aaron told us. "I like to use that time for the gym, but it varies between us. Then we have a scrimmage session for three hours, take a break, and then in the evening we're playing again until 11 at night."
Outside of that, the lads will be studying - Aaron is in his second year of a Communications degree at UTS - practicing on their own time, streaming on Twitch or YouTube, or looking after the house.
"We take turns cooking, and that's something we all want to get better at. There's a few of us that are living out of home for the first time, so getting those skills is just as important."
Apart from the actual training, the team's manager also gets a sports psychologist into the house on a regular basis. "It works, too. We talk in a group, or individually," Aaron said. "Now, after each match, we got outside for five minutes, to just relax, and it really helps."
Asus is hoping that this will be the first of many such gaming houses in Australia, and it certainly will be an important part of developing Australia's eSports scene.
While you're no doubt wishing Legacy eSports luck, check out our gallery of the house, and some of the new kit that Asus had on show.