Hard to earn a living from professional eSports in Malaysia, says millionaire gamer

PETALING JAYA: A dearth of local sponsorship is preventing eSports from becoming a viable career here, says a Malaysian competitive gamer whose team recently won over US$4mil in a tournament.

Yap Jian Wei, who was part of Team PSG.LGD who won US$4.1mil (RM16.82mil) at The International 2018 Dota2 Championship recently, said that Malaysian eSports athletes are joining overseas gaming teams instead.

“I think eSports in Malaysia is still growing but the platform is not good enough for players to sustain this career,” the 21-year-old told The Star on Tuesday (Aug 28).

Yap, who goes by the moniker xNova, added that more should be done for Malaysians aspiring to be eSports athletes, including sponsorship from companies – or even the government – to create teams for international gaming tournaments.

“It is really difficult for new players to earn a living now in Malaysia,” he added.

However, Yap acknowledged that there are efforts to promote eSports in the country.

“It’s a good thing the government has hosted tournaments like the Malaysia Cyber Games,” he said, adding that it would be better if there were efforts to increase participation.

Yap was part of the team that came in second at The International 2018, which saw Team OG emerging as champions over the weekend.

Yap, a professional gamer since 2013, is the only Malaysian in the China-based team.

He added he was proud that his team made it to the finals and thanked his fans and supporters who stayed up late over the weekend to watch the event, which was held in Vancouver, Canada.

Yap said he and his team will take a break first before regrouping to plan and practise for next year's tournament.

Meanwhile, Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, in a series of tweets, pointed out there is a pool of eSports talents in the country.

Acknowledging Yap's achievements as a “momentous night for eSports fans in Malaysia”, he also noted that there were other Malaysians doing well in eSports internationally.

“Two Malaysian PUBG (players), John Choo and Yin Wai from Team Awful Squad, qualified to the Broadcaster Royale Grand Final in Seattle.

“Not only Dota 2 and PUBG, Malaysian athletes Keron and Haikal (Muhamad Khairul Abdul Aziz and Mohamad Norhaikal Mohamad Noh) qualified for the eSports event (PES 2018) in the Jakarta Asian Games on Sept 1,” Syed Saddiq tweeted.

Dota2 and PUBG stands for Defense of the Ancients and PlayerUnknown's Battleground respectively, which are online multiplayer battle games.

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