WITH strict safety protocols up for much of 2020 to guard against the spread of the coronavirus, the sporting scene was rendered limited in what it could do. Resilient and flourished, however, were electronic sports, or esports.
In a press release, Mineski Global, a pioneer esports company in Southeast Asia, said despite the tough year, the forward push of the esports and gaming industry stayed the course, propelled by the need to pivot to digital ways of going about things.
Mineski shared that “2020 saw a higher proportion of smartphone users play mobile games, with the global mobile gaming market estimated to have reached $76 billion in worldwide revenue in 2020, a 12% increase from figures recorded the previous year.”
The year also saw a hike in sales of personal computers (PC) and peripherals, with lockdowns all over the world leading to a 10.3% increase in PC gaming hardware.
During the early stages of the pandemic, the World Health Organization even recommended video games as a way to stop the spread of the coronavirus, one year after adding “gaming disorder” to its list of addictive behaviors.
Mineski went on to say that for 2021, prospects remain bright for esports and gaming, including in Southeast Asia where the number of online mobile gamers in the region is expected to increase to 250 million.
The company said it is continuing to shape up to meet the demands of stakeholders moving forward.
“[The year] 2020 was not without its challenges for us at Mineski; however, the work that we began in 2019 to revisit our purpose and reorganize our operations around our mission allowed us to take full advantage of the opportunities for growth despite a difficult year,” said Mineski CEO Ronald Robins.
“We began with realigning our operations across Southeast Asia under one banner, Mineski Global. With that, we upgraded our range of services to offer our partners a more complete end-to-end solution, from running online tournaments and digital broadcasts to integrated marketing, pro team management, and strategic partnerships with engagement platforms that better reach our growing gaming audience,” he added.
BUSY HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES
Here in the Philippines in 2020, Mineski had it busy in various forms.
At the onset of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) earlier in the year, Mineski Philippines made sure it continued broadcasting esports tournaments professionally from home.
The company’s first initiative during ECQ raised $20,000 for Filipino hospitals and front liners through a month-long series of Lockdown Games, which saw professional basketball players who were also esports enthusiasts compete against professional esports athletes and industry personalities, and a clash between collegiate teams in show matches for charity. Several multinational companies and SMEs took part and donated to the thrust.
Mineski also reported record views for its pro tournaments.
Seasons 5 and 6 of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League in the Philippines, both held in 2020, were a hit. MPL Season 6, for one, saw 765,916 peak viewers and over 21 million hours watched for the Philippines, representing a 119% lift in viewership from Season 5.
It also enjoyed viewership success in Southeast Asia with the PUBG Mobile Pro League tournaments.
The year also saw Mineski forging and maintaining collaborations with different groups.
Recently, Riot Games Southeast Asia appointed Mineski to roll out professional and collegiate esports leagues for Valorant and League of Legends: Wild Rift in the Philippines for 2021 with the end view of growing the following for said game titles here.
Mineski Philippines’ three-year partnership with Globe Telecom by way of the Philippine Pro Gaming League, the country’s largest multi-title esports league, continues to be strong. Since 2018, $150,000 in prize money has been awarded by the league to amateur and professional Filipino gamers for multiple game titles.
A collaboration with leading game creator and developer Gameloft, meanwhile, also enabled Mineski to create new opportunities for brands to engage millennial and Gen Z casual gamers.
Southeast Asian esports giant VPGAME, meanwhile, has partnered with Mineski on a multi-stage plan of action that brings together VPGAME’s regional esports app marketing data with Mineski’s strength in event organizing and local marketing.
Moving forward, Mineski Philippines said it is excited to build on the gains of the past year, including shoring up its campus-based Youth Esports Program (YEP) through various events and activities.
YEP is designed to develop future esports talent through students and promote responsible gaming among the youth.
Positive developments have already been achieved on that front with Pilipinas E-Sports Organization (PESO), the national sports association for esports in the country, formalizing a partnership with Pillar Digital E-Commerce, Inc., the parent company of Mineski Philippines, to endorse YEP as one of PESO’s flagship activities in 2021 promoting esports among the grassroots. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo