THE Filipinos’ liking for esports and gaming has been steadily on the rise in the past few years and continues to do so in 2021.

In recent data released by Twitter Gaming Insights, the Philippines ranks sixth among countries that have Tweeted about gaming most often this year so far.

It is an improvement from the ninth spot it was at in 2020.

As per the data shared, the Philippines is bested only by Japan, United States, South Korea, Brazil and Thailand in countries that Tweeted most about gaming in the first of the year.

India, United Kingdom, France and Spain ranked seventh to 10th, in that order.

Mainstay games remain in the hearts and discussion of Filipinos, Twitter said, but Filipino gamers also showed their support for their favorite teams and players.

Most Tweeted about games in the Philippines in the first half of 2021 are Genshin Impact, Valorant, Roblox, Minecraft and Among Us.

Genshin Impact is an action role-playing game developed and published by miHoYo and released in 2020. The game features an open-world environment and action-based battle system using elemental and character-switching.

“The game (Genshin Impact) was well received by the Pinoy gaming society due to its easy to play and open-world environment. What made it more fun was the wish system where you have a chance to get characters that would help you with the challenges in-game,” said Pio Garcia, local gamer and former esports PR manager, in an interview with BusinessWorld.

“I think another factor that helped its popularity was that not only are the characters visualized very well in its JRPG (Japan role playing game) style, but also because of the immersive storyline it is set in and the overall world design… There is also the co-op mode where you can play with friends to be able to clear high-level dungeons and earn more rewards. Great art, cool world exploration, not much of a hit on the wallet, it’s definitely one of the games to relax with,” he added.

Twitter data also show DotA 2 team T1 is the most Tweeted about esports team in the Philippines, followed by Sentinels, OG, Team Secret and Cloud9.

Mr. Garcia shared that it is not at all surprising, considering the Philippine connection in T1.

“T1 received quite the Pinoy Pride boost as the DotA 2 team formerly known as SK Telecom 1 has employed the services of Carlo Palad and Karl Baldovino, who are more popularly known as KuKu and Karl, respectively. KuKu currently serves as T1’s captain and has helped the team earn a gold finish in this year’s ESL ONE Summer 2021 major. With no TNC and Mineski in the field, KuKu and Karl are carrying the flag high and mighty in what we can consider, the granddaddy of all esports in the country,” he said.

Twitter noted how the steady resiliency of the esports industry has served it well amid the pandemic with online play and plenty of leagues ramping up since the beginning of 2021. It is a situation it sees being maintained for the rest of the year. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo