Student beats millions of gamers to make eSports World Cup final

22-Jun-2018 8:00 AM

While the FIFA World Cup gets underway in Russia, a University of Auckland student is preparing to represent Oceania at the official virtual final of the beautiful game.

Harry Blackmore, an Arts and Commerce student, will travel to London in August to compete at the FIFA eWorld Cup Grand Final 2018, with $200,000 in prize money up for grabs.
More than 20 million gamers entered the online football competition, with only 32 breaking through to the final, 16 in each of the divisions: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
Competing under the moniker “Honey Badger”, Harry is officially one of the top 16 FIFA PlayStation 4 players in the world.  
To help keep his studies on track, Harry has been invited into the University’s High Performance Support Programme, which assists elite athletes and high performing students to juggle tertiary study with training and travel commitments.
“I’ve managed to balance both my academic and eSports pursuits well over the years. I really plan ahead so when I know I’m leaving the country for events I work hard academically to make sure my coursework is done before I leave,” Harry says.
“I definitely consider gaming to be a future career. The best in the industry earn around $15,000 a month, but I know both study and gaming are going to support my future so I’m sure all the hard work now will pay off.”
To reach the coveted finals Harry had to progress through a series of qualifying tournaments – some played from his bedroom on Auckland’s North Shore, and others at overseas locations including Sydney and Barcelona.
Like any traditional sport, Harry says playing at the top level requires long hours of training and the ability to constantly critique and improve your gameplay. Harry has signed a professional player deal with team FUTWIZ, which he will also represent in the UK.
“I probably spend around 20 to 25 hours playing FIFA a week during the busiest times of the year. I have to win around 156 games out of 160 to qualify for each event, then make it to the top 16 at each tournament to progress to next round,” Harry says
“I love playing FIFA and would probably be playing this much anyways if I wasn't a professional player.”
The FIFA eSports grand final will be streamed live on
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Notes to editors
The University of Auckland’s Raising the Bar speaker series is back for 2018. Twenty academics will give fascinating talks in 10 Auckland bars on one night, Tuesday 28 August. The rise of eSports will feature in a talk by music tutor Ivan Mouraviev, who studies storytelling in music in wordless video games. See for more.

Topic: General News

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