By Michael Angelo S. Murillo, Senior Reporter
A KEY PLAYER in the continued growth of esports in Southeast Asia, global gaming lifestyle brand Razer is seeking to sustain the gains of the region in the sport by continuously coming up with platforms to showcase what gamers in this part of the world are capable of.
Among the events it has come up with is the upcoming Razer Southeast Asian Invitational 2020, which kicks off on June 22 and culminates in the grand finals on July 3–5.
The Invitational serves as a follow-up to esports’ debut as a medal sport in the Southeast Asian Games held here in the country last year, where Razer was the official esports partner. It is also aimed at preparing gamers for the next edition of the Games in 2021 in Vietnam.
Gamers from the different countries in Southeast Asia will pit their skills in the three games featured at the SEA Invitational, namely, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile (PUBG Mobile), Defense of the Ancients 2 (DOTA 2) and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB).
For Razer Esports Director David Tse, the upcoming Invitational is significant not only to what they want to accomplish as an organization but, more importantly, for the growth of esports in the region, especially coming off the sport’s successful debut in the SEA Games.
“The success of the first medal esports event at the 30th SEA Games in 2019 was not just a historical event for both esports community and audiences of the world sporting stage, it also recognizes esports as medal sports, supported by a proper infrastructure and sustainable development by the esports federations in the region,” said Mr. Tse in an email correspondence with BusinessWorld.
“The Razer SEA-Invitational is planned to be held in-between SEA Games as a platform on which all participating esports federations can continue to leverage on, providing their national teams with the opportunity to compete and gain more experience regionally,” he added.
The Razer official furthered that their experience in the Philippines last year in the SEA Games provided key takeaways for them as they went about preparing for the Invitational and how they are angling their push moving forward.
“With our sights firmly set on our CEO Min Liang Tan’s vision of establishing esports as a medal sport at the Olympics, SEA Games is an important step and one that is necessary for regional success. With the diversity of the countries in the region, along with the growth of their respective esports federations, we have managed to establish the fundamentals of a regional platform to give different levels of esports athletes the opportunity to compete for their nations,” he said.
Adding, “The key learning we have is to continue to reinforce the planning and alignment with the federations, making sure that they all have an equal voice to this platform of ensuring inclusiveness and fairness, and also supporting the objectives of the federations to develop esports in their country as a recognized sport.”
Just like many organizations, Razer laments the toll the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had across the board all over the world.
But it considers itself lucky that gaming is on an electric platform, making adapting to the present circumstances with COVID-19 somehow not as difficult.
“We are fortunate that gaming is an electronic platform and the community has faced no difficulty adapting to the need to shift platforms online — after all, it’s electronic sports for a reason… We have seen a significant increase in esports online viewership and with the presence of well-established online casters and streamers in the ecosystem, we are at the forefront of online tournament capability, bringing esports to more gaming audiences,” Mr. Tse said.
SEA Invitational is held in partnership with Tier One Entertainment. It is also supported by the various esports federations from Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
To view the Razer Southeast Asian Invitational 2020, viewers can tune into Team Razer’s social channels on YouTube, Facebook and Twitch for the live streams.