The ceremony for the yearly Esports Awards was held Saturday, Nov. 16. These awards honor people in the esports scene from a variety of categories, including Rookie of the Year, Streamer of the Year and Esports Publisher of the Year. The public can nominate candidates through the first part of the year and then vote for candidates off a 10-person list of finalists.
The awards highlighted a number of participants in the esports scene. Twenty-seven awards were given in total, to organizations and players who were the best in their fields through 2019. Sixteen-year old Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf took first place for PC Player of the Year after winning the solo portion of the Fortnite World Championships. Giersdorf, who won over $3 million in prize money, also won PC Rookie of the Year. In the Console category, Rookie of the Year was won by Chris “Simp” Lehr, who finally turned 18 this year and played well on eUnited’s lineup this season. Next year, when Call of Duty franchises, he will play for the Atlanta Faze lineup.
In team categories, G2 Esport League of Legends team won the Team of the Year award after winning 2 splits and the Mid-Season Invitational. Considering voting was mostly over by the time G2 lost to FunPlus Phoenix, they unsurprisingly topped the Chinese team in the votes. Organization of the Year, which covers organizations as a whole versus individual teams in individual games, went to Team Liquid due to their impressive performances in League of Legends, CS:GO and Dota 2, along with other games.
— Stephanie Lindgren 📸 (@Vexanie) August 5, 2019
Other categories, such as Photographer of the Year, received less fanfare. Photographer of the Year was not even announced on the stage, but went to photographer Stephanie Lindgren, who is best known for her phenomenal photo of Pakistani Tekken player Arslan Ash after his win at EVO in August. There was also videographer Logan Dawson, who claimed Videographer of the Year for his performance as Director of Post Production for 100 Thieves.
Player of the Year for console was claimed by Dominique “SonicFox” McLean, who is known both for their dominant performance in multiple fighting games and for their extremely unique personality. An openly nonbinary furry who goes by they/them pronouns, SonicFox is best known for their performances in Mortal Kombat 11, Dragon Ball Fighterz and Injustice 2. McLean stole the show for the second year in a row with their victory speech. With the transgender flag on their back and their furry mask tucked under one arm, SonicFox stood out from the white, suit-wearing majority of the room.
SonicFox’s acceptance speech, where they discussed mental illness and the importance of being there for one another, was the shining moment of the awards. In an industry known for issues with toxicity, having someone who is openly, unabashedly themselves is incredibly positive as a way of changing the culture of video games and esports away from its somewhat problematic history. SonicFox certainly seems to know what their part to play is, standing confidently as the public once again declared them the best console player in all of esports.
Ashton Stansel is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.