PETALING JAYA: eSports is finally getting the recognition it deserves, as it will be a medal sport at the upcoming SEA Games in the Philippines next year.
As reported by ESPN (Philippines edition), the announcement was made by the Philippines Foreign Affairs secretary and South-East Asian Games Organising Committee chairman emeritus Alan Peter Cayetano at a press conference in Pasay City.
The eSports in the SEA Games will be accredited by the Asian Electronic Sports Federation, and six gold medals will be up for contest on three platforms — two each for console, mobile and PC.
Multiplayer online battle arena game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang will be one of the titles that will be featured in SEA Games 2019, while other titles will be finalised by Dec 15.
“We are very thrilled, excited, and honoured to have eSports in the SEA Games with Razer as a partner,” Cayetano was reported saying. “Gamers are an important part of our community.”
Gaming hardware company Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan also tweeted his elation, saying “eSports is now a medal sport in the SEA Games 2019 and @Razer is the official eSports partner. This is incredible news for the region and the community and we’re looking forward to elevating eSports even further.”
Tan also mentioned Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman in a separate tweet, addressing the RM10mil that Razer pledged for investments into eSports locally. The investment was added on top of the RM10mil that was already allocated to the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) in the Budget 2019 for use in developing eSports in the country.
“Part of our eSports budget for Malaysia next year will go toward promoting the qualifiers in the country and Team Malaysia too! @SyedSaddiq” Tan wrote.
eSports Malaysia secretary-general Rinie Ramli is happy that eSports is finally getting its due recognition at a prestigious sporting event like the SEA Games.
“We will hold a national league next year, which will also be the selection process for the SEA Games 2019 eSports squad,” he added.
AirAsia Saiyan general manager Jeffery Chan, whose team represented Malaysia at the recent Mobile Legends SEA Cup in Indonesia, said, “We are really excited that eSports is finally recognised as a medal sport in SEA Games. What more, we are also happy that Mobile Legends is one of the titles that will be contested in the Games.”
“Now, we would continue our hard work to get the opportunity to represent Malaysia at the SEA Games next year,” he added.
In August eSports was featured in the Jakarta Asian Games albeit as a demonstration sport in the lead-up to its full debut as a medal event at the Asian Games 2022 in China.