eSports competition is back this weekend, bringing thousands to San Jose and boosting business

"And it's really nice to see that every year, it's getting bigger and bigger and bigger."

Amanda del Castillo Image
Saturday, January 21, 2023
Bay Area eSports competition is back, bringing thousands to San Jose
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Video game consoles, competitors and crowds signal the return of a Bay Area-born e-sports battleground: the Genesis 9 gaming convention.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- From a barn at the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds in 2009 to Genesis 9 at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center. The largest grassroots, community-run Super Smash Brothers tournament in the world is bringing thousands to the downtown core this weekend.

Edgard Sheleby, whose tag is 'n0ne' told ABC7 News, "This is one of the big tournaments. If you do good here, it'll probably matter a lot."

The Genesis Gaming event certainly matters in more ways than one. ABC7 News shared coverage of last year's Genesis 8 event.

Matthew Martinucci, VP of Sales and Destination Services for Team San Jose pointed to the anticipated economic boost and the city's on-going effort to bounce back after years under the pandemic.

"Restaurants are full tonight, the hotels are full, bars are full, the airport's seeing traffic," Martinucci described. "It has a tremendous economic impact on the city for the people who live and work here."

MORE: Bay Area-born gaming competition brings convention, crowds to Downtown SJ

David Santos is a co-owner of Guildhouse and the Director of Tech and E-sports. He said the partnership with Genesis Gaming means extra hours and added staff. Both are a welcomed sight.

"Day-to-day business hasn't picked up fully. At least not for businesses like us," Santos said. "So when there's events in town or conventions or anything, any kind of outside events, it's very helpful."

Genesis Gaming is hosting around 5,000 people over the three-day tournament. Genesis 9 marking a record year, with competitors from 36 countries in town to play on-site.

"Not even players, just spectators," Sheleby added. "There's people that just come here to watch their favorite players or personalities. And it's really nice to see that every year, it's getting bigger and bigger and bigger."

MORE: What are competitive gaming eSports tournaments?

Speaking of bigger, Intel is the event's new corporate sponsor and is expected to take the Bay Area-born e-sports competition to another level.

"When you're young and little, you never think 1: you could do this for a living. 2: let alone have fans for playing video games," Juan Debiedma, whose tag is 'Hungrybox' told ABC7 News. "But we live in a really unique time."

He continued, "I'm just thankful that I can do what I love, and people love watching me do it."

The tournament carries on through Sunday, when the top eight gamers will battle to be the best in the world. The winner will walk away with $75,000.

For 14-year-old Florida resident RJ Dodd, whose tag is OG Kid, he's cashing in on the experience. Organizers said he was the youngest commentator in attendance.

"The possibilities are really endless," Dodd shared. "You can take multiple paths. You can be a commentator, you can be a player, you can be backstage manning all work, a TO getting all the players checked into their matches."

"There's a lot of wiggle room to making Smash a full-time career," he added.

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The event is sure to be a 'Smash'-ing success for both the City of San Jose, and the founders who built the competition and brought it to Silicon Valley.

Genesis Gaming Co-founder Ken Silva explained, "A lot of our demographic is younger, tech savvy individuals, coders, people maybe looking to go to school in this certain area. So we definitely are aware that this is probably the best place for us to be situated."

"And NorCal has a very strong history with us," he said.

Here is a link to Genesis Gaming website here.

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