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[B-SIDE Podcast] Building an esports empire

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In the future, esports players with handles like “Eric Eruption” and “Hypebits” could be as big as sports stars like Steph Curry, Rafael Nadal, or  Lionel Messi.

And esports itself, an empire that touches fashion, music, and lifestyle.

In this B-Side episode, Ferdinand M. Gutierrez, chief executive officer of esports company Ampverse, tells BusinessWorld Patricia B. Mirasol how mobile gaming lowered the barrier to entry for esports in Southeast Asia. 

Before founding Ampverse, Mr. Gutierrez was an advertising executive and, at one point, head of marketing at Twitch, an interactive livestreaming service.

This August, Ampverse announced that it would invest P100 million in its Philippine expansion.


Mobile gaming democratized esports in Southeast Asia (SEA). 

“In PC gaming, it depends on how good your PC and your connection is,” Mr. Gutierrez said. “In mobile gaming, [you] need less power, and more players can get involved with it.” 

“Mobile gaming’s democratized e-sports in a sense where there’s more people who can get involved versus just maybe the middle to upper class getting access to high-end equipment that cost a lot of money.”  

Brands that want to talk to Gen Z and Gen Alpha should get into esports.  

“We’re trying to build a culture around gaming, and that culture includes music and fashion. We have to build that engagement layer which I believe is important,” said Mr. Gutierrez of Ampverse.

“We understand how to take players and everybody around the teams to become marketing tools for the next generation of audience, which is Gen Z and Gen Alpha,” he added. 

Ampverse aims to build a gaming ecosystem that includes collaborations with Filipino celebrities who are esports enthusiasts and Philippine streetwear brands. 

This September, Filipino gaming creator Edgar “ChooxTV” Dumali became an investor and brand ambassador for Minana, Ampverse’s Philippine e-sports team and lifestyle brand. 

Esports is just like any other sport, it just so happens that it’s played on a screen instead of a field.

“It’s just as exciting as any other sports event I’ve been at, and I’ve been to some crazy ones. … It’s the same level or even higher,” said Mr. Gutierrez, a football and basketball fan who compared the “eletric atmosphere” of an esports world championship in Los Angeles to other sporting events he’s witnessed, among them a Liverpool match and a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden.

The esports market is expected to register a compound annual growth rate of 20% during the forecast period of 2021 to 2026, and countries that are supportive of esports will have a slice of that pie. 

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