KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 9 — Electronic sports (eSports) athletes at the 2019 Philippines SEA Games, have to deliver medals and take on the role of changing the negative perception of the sport.
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman wanted eSports athletes to repel the perception that electronic games is non-productive and a waste of time by returning with success from the Philippines.
“If we look at them, their performance is very good and I am confident they will bring back many medals for Malaysia,” he said when witnessing the flag-off of eSports athletes to SEA Games in conjunction with the digital games festival, “Level Up KL” organised by the Malaysian Digital Economic Corporation (MDEC) at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) today.
He also stressed that each national eSports athlete would be bearing the Malaysian flag, and should be respected as national heroes and heroines.
There are six gold medals at stake in the first SEA Games competitive eSports from December 5 to 10 at Filoil Flying V Centre, Manila. It is also the first eSports organised as a medal event in a major sports championship after the sport was displayed at the 2018 Asian Games.
The six games in competition are Dota 2, Starcraft II, Tekken 7, Hearthstone, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Arena of Valor.
Meanwhile, Syed Saddiq also hoped to make Malaysia as an Asian eSports industry hub by attracting more investments in the rapidly growing industry.
“I think in Southeast Asia, we are quite good but we have to work harder to become a superpower in Asia. If we look at China, they have Tencent, Alibaba and many more, in Malaysia we need to start cultivating the eSports industry, giving full support to them and at the same time, the sport side of eSports must work collectively together with industry.
“Today alone there are four local gaming studios with us, they have done exceptionally well and this is due to MDEC. Their games are very good, when we play it is as good as western-made game with great graphics,” he said.
Apart from Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios (SIE WWS) which is cooperating with the Communication and Multimedia Ministry for the first studio in Southeast Asia while Razer which opened its head office in Bangsar early this year, is proposing to create an e-Sports centre said to be among the biggest in Southeast Asia in Jalan Ipoh, he added.
Syed Saddiq said when the e-sports industry had expanded, it would open more opportunities for Malaysians, to produce more experts in the industry.
In this regard, Malaysian ESports Association deputy president, Afiq Fadjil Narawi said the new target for the eSports team at the SEA Games is one gold medal via Hearthstone and five bronzes from other games.
List of SEA Games eSports athletes:
Dota 2: Khoo Chong Xin, Denise Danial Abdullah, Bakri Anwar, Ahmad Rizqan Muzakkir Ahmad Nizam, Mohd Helmy Ibrahim and Muhammad Naufal Osman.
Starcraft II: Yap Kien Khun and Jonathan Wong Choon Hoong
Mobile Legends: Ahmad Ali Huzaifi Abdullah, Abdul Wandi Abdul Kadir, Izme Haqeem Hamsjid, Muhammad Hazeem Onn, Jamil Nurolla and Mohd Faris Zakaria.
Arena of Valor: Cham Hong Xin, Poh Jing Sheng, Kok Kar Seng, Loo Yong Leong, Tai Tong and Chan Choung Guan.
Tekken 7: Muhammad Zarif Aiman and Abdul Rahim Abdul Shukor
Hearthstone: Hee Zi Song and Yew Weng Kean. — Bernama