Esports has been see-sawing between the East and the West, tackling its regional challenges and hoping to chart a future where the discipline is more readily accepted. Now, the SEA Games in 2019 will feature competitive gaming as a medal sport.
Accepting Esports into the Mainstream with SEA Games 2019
The Philippines have caused a furore in the world of competitive video gaming with the country’s Foreign Affairs secretary announcing esports as an official discipline in the upcoming SEA Games in 2019. The statement was made jointly with the South-East Asian Games Organizing Committee Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano during a press conference held in Pasay City.
Esports is now a medal sport in the SEA Games 2019 and @Razer is the official esports partner! This is incredible news for the region and the community and we're looking forward to elevating esports even further! pic.twitter.com/d3jPu5b7ry
— Min-Liang Tan (@minliangtan) November 28, 2018
This is the first official sporting competition that has recognized esports as a medal discipline, and six medals will be prepared for the upcoming event with the Asian Electronic Sports Federation fully throwing its support behind the decision. The medals will be divvied up between console, mobile, and PC players, attesting to the region’s esports maturity and inclusiveness.
While anticipating the full list of titles, it has to be said that Mobile Legends has already been confirmed, with the other games on the list to be confirmed by mid-December at the latest.
We are very thrilled, excited, and honoured to have eSports in the SEA Games with Razer as a partner. Gamers are an important part of our community. – South-East Asian Games Organizing Committee Chairman Alan Peter Cayetano
Meanwhile, Cayetano has expressed his satisfaction with the developments, specifically thanking Razer for agreeing to become the first official sponsor of the Philippines-backed event. Razer has already promised $2.4 million to develop esports in Malaysia, topping off a similar investment by the Malaysian government.
eSports is now a medal sport in the SEA Games 2019 and @Razer is the official eSports partner. This is incredible news for the region and the community and we’re looking forward to elevating eSports even further. Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan
Razer CEO Min Liang Tan also took to Twitter to respond to the developments and confirm his company’s commitment to the segment.
Specifically, Tan and Razer will seek to bolster the local preparation of Malaysian teams for the upcoming SEA Games.
Meanwhile, other heavyweights, including AirAsia, the low-cost airline with an active esports arm, have been thrilled with the developments, with the company’s General Manager Jeffrey Chan expressing his endorsement of Mobile Legends and the further developments in esports in the country as a whole. AirAsia have been involved in various esports endeavors themselves, running a successful gaming hub.
We are really excited that eSports is finally recognised as a medal sport in SEA Games. What more, we are also happy that Mobile Legends is one of the titles that will be contested in the Games. AirAsia’s Jeffrey Chan
AirAsia are themselves active on multiple social fronts, including esports. AirAsia currently has active partnerships with a number of gaming companies, including Alienware, Secretlab, and tournament hosts WESG. Back in June, 2018 AirAsia acquired mobile esports team Team Saiyan.
The preparations for the upcoming Games are only beginning, but they’re already associated with spectacular and scalable events. An unofficial esports stream hit 500,000 views in 2018 and it led to the shut-down of Twitch in China. How will things pen out when they are fully authorized?