THE electronic sports or e-sports industry in the Philippines is continuously growing with more than 10 million Filipino players involved in the game, a telecommunication official said.
Smart Communications Inc. Games and Entertainment product manager Anthony E. Esporlas said the growth of e-sports in the Philippines has been noticed in the global arena, with Filipino online gamers bagging awards in international competitions.
Recently, the Philippines from Team Arcanys of Cebu and Manila’s MSI evoGT won the third prize and second price worth $2,000 and $3,000 respectively for Defense of the Ancients (Dota) 2 during the first eSports Asian Championship held in SM City Cebu Trade Hall.
The winning team was South Korea’s MVP Phoenix, which took home $5,000. Competing teams came from Indonesia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines, South Korea, and Thailand.
“It is a huge honor for our country to be chosen as the host of the first ever eSports Asian Championship, which hopefully allows more Filipinos to notice and appreciate our growing eSports industry and the goodness and excitement that come with it,” said Philippine eSports Organization (PeSO) Tyrke Gutierrez.
The team who won first and second places are now qualified to compete in the world e-sports tournament in Baku, Republic of Azerbaijan on November 12 to 17 to vie for a combined prize pool of US$110,000.
Along with the growth of e-sports in the Philippines is the growth of Smart’s Game X, an online portal that allows gamers to purchase ePins through their SUN Prepaid load and Postpaid bill.
Esporlas said that since Smart introduced ePins starting this year, the company has registered 20 percent monthly sales growth.
“Filipinos are among the most passionate players and fans of eSports, which fuses art and technology in promoting teamwork, cooperation, and global interaction. We believe Filipinos have the potential to dominate this space, and it is in supporting leagues and tournaments that we are able to bring out the best in them and lead them to the global arena,” said Smart Innovation and Product Development Group head Mellissa Limcaoco in a statement.
In Korea, International eSports Federation general manager Alex Lim said professional players earn a minimum of $20,000 per year and it can go as high as $100,000 yearly.
Lim said eSports started in South Korea in 1990s.
“The community people (gamers) were just playing games and then they started competing and getting started in competitions,” Lim said.
Esporlas said the money generated by players are pooled by players themselves or through big-time sponsorships.
In the Philippines, less than 10,000 are considered as “professional” players or those who play and earn significant amount out of it.
With more eSports competitions to come, Esporas expressed confidence that the number of Filipino players will also grow.
PC games, according to the official, are mostly developed in the United States and Korea. Most game developers in the Philippines, however, are concentrated in creating mobile games.
The eSports industry is dominated by males, comprising 80 percent of the population and the remaining 20 percent are covered by females. However, despite the gap in number, eSports erases physical requirements of traditional sports in becoming an athlete.