Sounds a little strange to have a mobile game headlining with the SEA Games, but yes it’s true – eSports has joined the ranks of official competition. The news comes fresh off ESPN just awhile ago that there will be six gold medal allocated for eSports at next year’s games. Two golds will be for console games, two for PC and two for mobile, but at the moment the only officially announced title will be Mobile Legends Bang Bang.
According to ESPN, the announcement came at a press conference by Foreign Affairs Secretary and Philippines South East Asian Games Organizing Committee Chairman Emeritus Alan Peter Cayetano.
The move comes as no major surprise, given the quick rise to prominence of eSports, even in Malaysia. Just earlier this month, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation mentioned that eSports was “an important growth sector” here and is on track to become part of the $180 billion industry.
Razer has also mentioned that it would be an official sponsor for eSports at the 2019 SEA Games. A Facebook post by Razer CEO Min-Liang Tan said “Today is a momentous day for gamers. Our talks with the SEA Games committee have paid off — esports will be recognized as a medaled sport in one of the most revered multi-sport event in South East Asia.”
MDEC has of late been extremely vocal in the support of eSports, citing Malaysia as an attractive location for digital content and creative tech studios due to its youthful demographic, education system that is increasingly modernised and updated and access to talent that has cultural influences from both Eastern and Western hemispheres.