Esports’ Great Danes
Discover the Copenhagen esports boom where stars are hosted by city officials.
Copenhagen might seem an unlikely place to act as a heartbeat for the esports movement.
But the genres rapid global rise is being echoed in the Danish capital where successful players are wined and dined by city officials, while students studying esports has risen by 15 times in the past two years.
A snapshot of esports in the Scandinavian enclave is laid bare in the first episode of new series: Part of the Game.
Thomas Koed, head of esport Denmark, used the example of Astralis – the all-Danish team that topped the world’s Counter-Strike teams in the ELEAGUE Major in Atlanta earlier this year – to highlight the regard in which players are now being held.
“Astralis won and were invited for pancakes at the city council,” he said. “That’s only for those to have achieved something in the sports world. Journalists… and society are being shown you can become something within esports.”
Koed also argues the benefits of gaming stretches beyond success simply in various esports tournaments.
“There’s crossovers between education and gaming – they learn things needed in society today,” he said. “They’re good programmers, good art directors, good robot instructors – all things needed in a digitalised society.”
Two years ago, Vejle Sports College invited its first pupils – 15 in all – onto a first esports course. For the next academic year, that intake will be 225.
Gamers even make it onto the college’s wall of fame and teacher Nikolaj Primdal explains: “We’re trying to make them play as much as possible and fulfil their dream of being professional esports players.”
Among the Danes to have had success on the world stage are August ‘Agge’ Rosenmeier, a Fifa expert who last year was signed by French side Paris-Saint Germain.
The FIFA Interactive World Cup winner has credited the wider gaming community in Copenhagen for his own success.
“We’re very good at reaching out to each other,” he said. “We have a big community. You need to be smart and realistic but you need to never give up.
“[In Denmark] people are backing each other up and supporting each other. The Danes have proved their worth. It will only be better in the future I believe.”