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Singapore may not compete for gold in many Olympic events, but the tiny city-state is emerging as a force in a different kind of sport: mobile and video games.
Around 100 young gamers now participate in AfroGames, whose activities are sponsored by companies including Brazilian airline GOL and media powerhouse Grupo Globo.
Asia’s most valuable company has set its sights on a billion-dollar eSports arena that already boasts more regular viewers than the National Basketball Association or the National Football League.
Gender diversity in eSports has become a talking point in the industry, with women still under-represented. Honour Of Kings has been the most popular and lucrative mobile game in China in recent years.
It still surprises many people that professional video-game tournaments fill 50,000-seat arenas and that millions of fans watch from their bedrooms, aspiring to compete themselves one day.
Forget about competing on the school track team or hanging out with friends. In the age of a coronavirus pandemic, there's more time for video games.
The Covid-19 crisis has shut down eSports facilities across the country. But in recent years, before the onset of the pandemic, arenas were starting to pop up in unlikely locations — on college campuses and as standalone venues their owners are calling stadiums in places like Arlington, Texas. Nowhere has the trend elicited more excitement than at American shopping malls.
The screams of 18,000 people packed into a Shanghai stadium swell to a crescendo. Slight of figure and mostly bespectacled, 10 young men take their seats in LED-lined boxes straight out of Tron, don headsets, lock thumbs onto giant smartphones – and the battle begins.