E-Sports meets the Philippines
by Mark Valmocina
As a gamer for almost 10 years, I have a dream that I can be a professional gamer and make a living by playing my favorite online games and be a representative of our country in the world. But during my time, pursuing this dream is very unlikely to happen because of the negative feedback and misconception about video games. But nowadays, with the explosive popularity of some competitive video games like League of Legends, DOTA 2, Counterstrike: Global Offensive, and even mobile games like Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Arena of Valor fulfilling this dream is not impossible anymore, and anyone can make a lot of money just by playing, provided that they have the skill and dedication on the game.
Competitive video games, or simply E-Sports, have become a multi million-dollar business around the world. In the past years, E-Sport industry makes an impressive increase in revenue, according to Newzoo analysis there is a massive revenue increase of more than 30% annually in this industry. In fact, in 2016 the total E-sport revenue was $493 million and over a year it increases by 33% and gets revenue of $655 million. And last year E-sport industry exceeded the billion dollar revenue mark and it reaches an impressive $1.1 billion. And this is because of brand investment – both direct and indirect, and the impressive audience and viewership growth on traditional media like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitch.
In the Philippines, growth is very noticeable. People like celebrity streamers and professional gamer do game streaming in different social media like Facebook and YouTube, and because of this the launch of The Nationals, the very first franchise-based electronic sports league in the Philippines, sponsored by MVP Group of Companies, the E-Sport industry in the Philippines as a billion-peso industry is slowly starting to take shape.
But despite the popularity of E-Sport and the countless computer shops and Internet Cafe, the E-Sport Industry in the Philippines is still amateur in nature. The lack of funding, investment and infrastructure for training and cultivating talents hindered the progress of E-sport in the country. And this is mainly because of the social stigma of video games in general. Filipino adults see it as an unproductive pastime for children and teens, and there are news and reports showing the negative effects of it like teenagers getting addicted to it and neglecting their studies and responsibilities, even their health. And this is the reason why most of the parents didn’t encourage their child to pursue E-Sport. The main challenge to fully accept the E-Sport industry in the Philippines is to educate everyone about it and how it slowly turning to an actual sport. As of now we in the last 2019 30th SEA Games held in our country, the SEA Games committee acknowledges the E-Sport as a proper sport and held 6 medal event tournaments for Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Arena of Valor, Hearthstone, DOTA 2, StarCraft II and Tekken 7. In which the Philippine squad SIBOL dominated it.
As we speak E-Sport is slowly getting its recognition as a major sport which can be included in some major sports tournament not only in the Philippines but in the whole world. We just need to educate everyone about it and support our rising professional gamer by giving them the right facilities and funds to support their needs and training, and who knows in the near future maybe the Philippines can become the next power house in E-Sport industry.