Investments still pouring in for Malaysian eSports

Syed Saddiq testing out a gaming rig at The Kuala Lumpur Major in Axiata Arena. — SHAARI CHEMAT

After only just being allocated RM10mil during the recent budget, eSports is still continuing to get more investments, according to the Youth and Sports Ministry.

Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman said “some of the biggest industry players” will be pitching in though he declined to reveal details until the plans are more concrete, most likely by the end of the year.

During Budget 2019, RM10mil was allocated to Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) for use in developing eSports and Syed Saddiq said he was still in talks with the Communications and Multimedia Ministry which MDEC is under.

“I’ve been discussing the matter with (minister) Gobind Singh,” said Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman at the launch of The Kuala Lumpur Major, the first Major status tournament for the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) 2018/2019 season.

“The first step is to support eSports athletes and second is to build the ecosystem into a thriving one where we are not just consumers but also makers and exporters of games,” he said.

On whether the Youth and Sports Ministry should take the role of overseeing state-level eSports development efforts, Syed Saddiq said he would prefer the ministry to take a step back.

Although the ministry could help with coordination, it did not want to overly regulate as it could slow down the progress of eSports.

He said a national league is in the pipeline and would be rolled out next year which would help develop grass roots programmes across the states.  However, he said the role of player development is the responsibility of the association – eSports Malaysia (ESM).

Syed Saddiq said the ESM was still “unstable” and needs to be reformed to be able to address the concerns of eSports athletes and also liaise with the Ministry more effectively.

He said the Ministry was in talks with ESM, and expected the changes to take effect by March, when the association has its elections.

eGG Network and co-organisers PGL and Imba TV said The Kuala Lumpur Major will see 16 international teams battling it out for a total prize pool of US$1mil (RM4.19mil).

The Kuala Lumpur Major is being held from Nov 16 to 18 at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur and is supported by the Youth and Sports Ministry and National Sports Council of Malaysia.

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