Game for it? The Emerging e-sports Industry

e-sports competitive gaming

Gaming, in general or in a competitive setting, is somewhat closely linked to addiction which is frowned upon by many parents. But increasingly, e-sports or competitive gaming is increasingly recognized as a potential career path for some. In the recent Southeast Asian (SEA) Games held in Hanoi, Singapore bagged a total of one silver and three bronze medals for e-sports. E-sports was first recognized at the SEA Games in 2019, when it was hosted by the Philippines.

This coming October, Singapore is slated to be the first Southeast Asian nation to host The International (TI), the biggest global tournament for multiplayer online game Dota 2, which offered more than US$40 million in total prize money in 2021. The e-sports became a billion-dollar industry in 2021, and its growth is expected to reach US$1.38 billion in 2022, and US$1.6 billion in 2023. This projected figure in 2023 is almost double of the figure in 2018 – and East Asia contributes one third of this revenue.

Singapore is not sitting idle on this economic opportunity as it seizes on its growing reputation as an e-sports destination to continue attracting gaming companies with regional ambitions to Singapore. The industry brings added opportunities to other industries as well, for example, the live telecast or streaming services for its events.

Singapore’s excellent technology and business infrastructure is what makes it attractive to tournament organizers. These are great strengths which Singapore can capitalize on, to boost the e-sports industry and boost the tourism sector that has lost ground during the worst days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Infrastructure alone is not enough – much work must be done to build up Singapore’s domestic talent pool in e-sports and the attractiveness of it as a career option. Other industries avail opportunities to e-sports players too, for example, being a content creator to attract sponsorships and endorsements.

While Singapore can capitalize on its advantages, we should be aware that other countries are building up their capabilities too – and they will be a formidable force to be reckoned with if they catch up to Singapore’s infrastructure in terms of technology and business. Nevertheless, it is an industry to watch in the years to come.

About Author

A young Singaporean concerned about issues workers face. As humans, we spend a third of our lives sleeping and recharging, and another third for our personal life, and the last third at work (based on a 24-hr distribution). That's why we should pay attention to issues surrounding work.