Professional and amateur gamers alike converged at the John Gray High School gymnasium Saturday to compete for top prizes and bragging rights at the annual Gamers Bay event.

While the event, now in its 5th year, is about fun and spirited gaming contests, Gamers Bay and NetGeekz Media co-founder Lance Jefferson says there’s a serious objective behind the two-day event.

“E-sports in a hub is a multi-billion dollar industry, and our mission and goal is to basically create a gaming atmosphere where the Cayman Islands is the actual e-sports hub of the Caribbean. So we have a huge mission,” Jefferson said.

The two-day event not only allows attendees to test run popular games and gaming consoles, it also feature booths from local businesses like Cost-U-Less, 3 Fibre and Digital Cayman, a partner company with Cayman Enterprise City.

Jefferson said the Gamers Bay and NetGeekz team started the not-for-profit organization Cayman ESports Association to build on the potential they see for the industry here and for those interested in related careers.

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It mission “is to start at the grassroots level and kind of open up gateways and create opportunities for our locals and kids here”, he added.

E-sports, he said, is crucial to Cayman at this time.

He said it is a tourism attraction as well.

Due to COVID-19 measures, last year Gamers Bay had to be postponed, which is why it is being held in March this year. A second event is planned for later this year.

“The whole reason why we do what we do is because we know that our kids are now born with a new skill set and… We’re trying to embrace it and basically help open up these gateways that they can actually make a profession out of it doing something that they love,” he added.

Gamer and content creator Eduardo Flores, 19, welcomed the opportunity to compete on island.

Flores said he was excited to compete in the Fortnite contest and believes more events like these are needed.

“It inspires a lot of kids to learn about the hard work, and if you want to be somewhere or to be someone in life you’ve got to work hard,” he said.

Jefferson said the Department of Tourism and the Ministry of Tourism are going to be partnering with Gamers Bay to help push the event on the international market.

Competitors faced off against each other by playing Fortnite, Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, FIFA 20 and Super Smash Bros.

Digital Cayman’s Alyssa Ebanks said she was pleased to be part of the event.

“If you’re interested in being in the tech community or if you want to do digital marketing, you want to be part of this growing economy that’s happening in Cayman, this is the place to be. We can get you in contact with those special economic zone companies we have on island,” she said.

Ebanks explained that at Cayman Enterprise City, which Digital Cayman is a partner of, young Caymanians have opportunities to explore different career paths, which is why being part of Gamers Bay is important.

“If a young Caymanian wants to be a software programmer we can go through CEC and we can connect you with a company, and then you can kind of get work experience and understand what it’s like to be part of that world,” she added.

Attendees were allowed to play the latest game consoles including PS5 and virtual reality headsets.

The full competition schedule can be found here

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