Southeast Asia is becoming ground zero for eSports with over 9.5 million people in the region partaking as participants and many more in a host of ancillary support roles like casters, game developers and others. The competitive aspect of eSports also makes for popular viewing, with televised matches of the world’s best eSports players seeing viewership and interest that are growing in size and scope year by year.
To date, Malaysia has about 2.4 million eSports enthusiasts and made an estimated US$633 million in global game revenue in 2018 alone. The Pantheon Group, which founded Malaysia’s first eSports arena in 2018 aims to nurture and expand the industry to new heights and is one of the key sponsors of The Elite Championship Series (TECS) – Counterstrike: Global Offensive that took place at The Top, Komtar, Pulau Pinang.
In a special briefing, The Pantheon Group reaffirmed its commitment to support and grow Malaysia’s eSports industry. “A better way to understand the flourishing industry is to view its entirety as an ecosystem. Just as nature’s ecosystem is tightly interrelated and depends on each aspect to maintain life as a whole, success of the eSports industry also has its own intricate ecosystem,” said Franky How, Managing Director of the Pantheon Group.
He emphasised that a holistic ecosystem needs to be established first by growing five interdependent components – publishers, teams, leagues, events as well as streaming channels and platforms; all of these components are intricately tied to each other but the main driving force that drives all these components are brands and fans.
“No single component would be able to carry the eSports industry on its own as each aspect acts as a catalyst to encourage growth and the success of the next. Publishers and developers create the games that the eSports teams play; teams compete in tournaments and events organised by the leagues; these tournaments are then filmed and broadcasted live on channels or streaming platforms, which would then attract worldwide views to tune-in and form a fanbase,” added Franky.
The eSports industry isn’t just a spectator sport nor is it just playing games for the personal edification. The entire industry offers a significant nation building aspect as well. “The rapidly maturing eSports industry is already bigger than many realise. Newzoo reported that global eSports revenue will grow to USD 1.1 billion this year, YoY growth of +26.7% while the global games market is expected to grow to USD # 180.1 billion in wordpress 2021. The positive numbers show great potential for the industry, including providing career opportunities in the areas of games design and development, illustrators, graphic designers, VR and AR programmers right down to marketers specialising in the eSports industry,” said Franky.
A key catalyst of getting Malaysia’s eSports industry to expand and prosper is the establishment of a high-profile, quality tournament circuit and The Pantheon has played a role in this aspect by hosting the likes of the NVIDIA GEXT Qualifiers, Asus Join the Republic, the TML Qualifier Championed by Celcom tournament and, of course, today’s The Elite Championship Series (TECS) – Counterstrike: Global Offensive’ tournament which sees teams from far away as Mongolia, Thailand and Singapore duking it out to determine the ultimate champion.
What makes TECS special is that it is the quintessential example of the collaborative aspect of what The Pantheon Group is espousing as it enjoys official support by the Penang Youth Development Corporation (PYDC), the Penang State Government and is also co-sponsored by a coalition of manufacturers that consists of Predator, Phidisk Thermaltake, Zowie and The Top, Komtar who is acting as the venue sponsor. According to the Pantheon Group, future events of this size, scale and scope are on the cards.
For 2019, The Pantheon Group os planning to open a second eSports centre in Toppen, Johor as well as opening two eSports clubs in Centrust Mall, Cyberjaya and at Mesa Mall, Nilai sometime in Q3 2019. They also aim for further collaboration with the eSports Selangor Association and the eSports Kuala Lumpur Association. Ultimately, over the course of the next 3 years, the plan to develop a total of 4 eSports centres, 14 eSports clubs and 100 eSports cafe across Malaysia.
“Much work still needs to be done to ensure the industry is progressing on the right track. We acknowledge the importance of collaboration and we will facilitate this by organising more tournaments and developing educational and training programmes for players with interested parties,” concluded Franky. For more on the Pantheon Group, swing by www.thepantheon.co