eSports all set to take region by storm
PETALING JAYA: With 2.4 million enthusiasts in the country and RM10mil thrown in under Budget 2019, Malaysia is off to a great start to become an eSports hub of the region.
That is the sentiment of the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), which said it looked forward to working with the Youth and Sports Ministry following Friday’s announcement.
MDEC said eSports was more than just playing games as it also provided high-quality jobs such as software developers, engineers, graphic designers, illustrators and marketeers and advertisers.
“The Budget announcement gives legitimacy and empowerment to the youth to pursue their passion,” it said in a statement.
MDEC added that eSports was an important growth sector and its rise came from positive policies put in place, not just in Malaysia but also in countries such as South Korea, China, Russia, Germany and Italy.
South-East Asia, it said, was the fastest growing eSports market in the world.
MDEC said since the gaming industry was worth US$180.1bil (RM749bil), it would give Malaysia the chance to groom new talents.
It also pointed out that Malaysia was attractive as a digital content and creative tech studio due to its youthful demographic and modern education system, coupled with talent that combined eastern and western influences.
“Game companies such as Bandai Namco and Pole To Win are global industries that have taken up root here, joining the ranks of stalwarts such as Codemasters and local champions such as Lemonsky and Passion Republic.
“The ecosystem is further enriched with the active presence of Adobe, Unity, Google and Unreal working in partnership with the industry,” MDEC said.
Rinie Ramli, secretary-general of eSports Malaysia, the country’s governing body for eSports, said most of the grassroots development programmes were focused in the Klang Valley and Selangor at present.
“But we know that there are a lot of other hidden talents in other states. In the recent Selangor Cyber Games, two of the top three players in Pro Evolution Soccer were from Terengganu,” said Rinie.
He also said it was vital to support local competition organisers, as most of the top ones in South-East Asia were from Malaysia.
Thirdly, he spoke of the need to establish eSport centres around the nation so players could be exposed to professional and healthy gaming.
“It’s similar to a cybercafe, but an eSports centre can create content for the industry by holding workshops, tournaments and talent searches.”