By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
IN THE 30th Southeast Asian Games, esports is a debuting discipline, a great development for the continued growth of the sport and platform to take it to the next stage, said Razer, the official SEA Games esports sponsor.
Speaking to members of media in a briefing following the start of the esports events in the ongoing edition of the biennial regional sporting meet on Dec. 5, David Tse, global esports director for Razer, said they are excited to be part of the esports competition in the SEA Games, seeing how it provides a solid step to taking the sport further all the way possibly to the Olympics.
“Since being founded in 2005, esports has been in Razer’s DNA. We sponsor a lot of games around the world — US, China, Europe and Asia-Pacific — but that is the professional part of the world, or professionals. But esport needs to be taken to the next stage, the world sporting stage,” said Mr. Tse, whose group has worked its way to becoming a leading lifestyle brand for gamers with its high-performance gaming hardware, software and systems.
“Right now, based on research, esports has 400 million people watching and we believe it’s going to continue to grow,” he added.
The Razer official went on to say that having esports in the SEA Games provides a new dimension to the tremendous growth the sport has been experiencing, which could only lead to even bigger things.
“Southeast Asia is absolutely a great learning ground,” said Mr. Tse.
“Even the Olympics is studying esports athletes — what their regimen is, how they train — to make sure they understand these before they put it in the Olympic Games. So having it in the SEA Games is definitely the first step to the bigger sporting world stage. For me, this is a growth of esports in a different arena,” he added.
Being groundbreaking in the SEA Games, Mr. Tse said mounting such an event presented its challenges, something they were able to overcome with a lot of help coming from the different esports federations in the region, including from host the Philippines.
“It was challenging, of course, nothing is easy in esports. Here we are trying to bring together the traditional sports and esports,” said Mr. Tse.
“There are many protocol infrastructure processes that needed to be understood and come together. But without the help of all the federations this would not be possible. Razer is a sponsor of this but the federations are really working on the ground,” the Razer official further underscored.
Mr. Tse said they will be continuously working with these federations after the Games to ensure that the gains made in the SEA Games would be sustained and built on moving forward.
In the 30th SEA Games, six games are being played, namely, DOTA 2, Starcraft 2, Hearthstone, Tekken 7, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Arena of Valor.
Esports action is happening at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City until tomorrow, Dec. 10.