Esports Association partners with media organization to promote gaming

by | May 14, 2021 | Sports

This year, the Alberta Esports Association is kicking off the summer with their event, Edmonton Direct. AESA has paired with Edmonton Screen Industries to bring awareness to Canadian developers.

“It made perfect sense for us to combine our efforts and have an event that really has game development as well as playing games [and] discovering games at its core,” said Madison Côté, the Communications & Outreach Officer at Edmonton Screen Industries.

The show also has support from the Community Initiatives Program through the Province of Alberta, Alberta Innovates, Edmonton Regional Innovation Network, and the City of Edmonton.


Saturday, May 15 is the opening day for tournaments, beginning with Rivals of Aether, an indie fighting game based on the four elements: fire, water, air and earth.

Other featured fighting games include:

  • Super Smash Bros. Melee: An all-out brawl between Nintendo characters.
  • Guilty Gear: A cel-shaded anime fighter blasting with heavy metal by Team Neo Blood.
  • Street Fighter V: The stylish martial arts fighter from Capcom.
  • Tough Love Arena: A free web-based indie fighting game with a hand drawn style by Paul Weeks and Amy Xu.
  • Dragonball Fighter Z: An anime fighter based on Dragonball, made by Arc System Works.

Similarly, the Edmonton Direct team is excited about their Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament. Check it out at 2 p.m. to see who picks the unbeatable rock, the undefeated paper, and the unconquered scissors.

In the same vein, there will be a chess tournament at 11 a.m. If you thought Garry Kasparov’s 1997 defeat at the hands of the computer Deep Blue was crazy, buckle up. It simply cannot compete with the high-octane action that will be the Edmonton Direct chess tournament.

Over 400 competitors will be playing and prizes up to $10,000 are available to be won.


If tournaments are not your thing, there will be a number of panels on both May 15 and 16. The panels at Edmonton Direct offer a variety of speakers, from every level of game development.

“We have something from our indie [developers] like Only by Midnight, all the way up to a special Mass Effect Legendary panel. We’ve kind of gone from all the way down to the student level, being able to show off some of the University of Alberta students’ work all the way up to what Bioware’s been working on,” said Côté.

Beginning at 11:25 a.m. on May 15, is a micro-talk about Curved Space. Curved Space is a twin-stick shooter set in neon-soaked space, developed by Edmonton local development studio Only by Midnight.

Other notable panels include:

  • Working with owned IPs
  • University programs
  • UAlberta awards in computer game development
  • Charity in gaming
  • Top 3 events for:
    • Tekken 7, Rocket League & Super Smash Bros. Ultimate

The global pandemic has seen many industries grind to a halt. In contrast, Esports has been able to thrive, estimated to hit a record $296 billion in revenue by 2022.

“That’s one of the really neat things about Edmonton is the fact that we have this history and all this talent that’s here. One of the things I love about the gaming community is the accessibility of it. Those who are new to it, fully in it or the old guard that’s been doing it for 25 years,” says Tom Viinikka, the CEO of Edmonton Screen Industries.

Edmonton Direct takes place from Saturday, May 15 to Sunday, May 16, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.. To check it out visit the E-sports Alberta Twitch page.

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