Esports is a rapidly growing industry that’s taking the world by storm. Even traditional sports leagues are starting to get in on the act, as esports increasingly proves to be a more engaging and lucrative experience for fans. So what is esports, exactly? Put simply, it’s video gaming played competitively with professional athletes. And as the industry continues to grow, Malaysia is poised to play a major role in its future. In this blog post, we will explore the current state of esports in Malaysia and what barriers still need to be broken in order to make it a mainstream phenomenon. From grassroots initiatives to big-name sponsorships, read on to learn everything you need to know about esports in Malaysia.
Esports in Malaysia: A Brief History
Esports in Malaysia has experienced an unprecedented growth within the past few years. With multiple tournaments being hosted and broadcast online, as well as in local venues, esports in Malaysia is quickly becoming a popular pastime for Malaysians of all ages.
The origins of esports in Malaysia can be traced back to 2002 when a computer game called “Starcraft” was created by Blizzard Entertainment. At that time, no one knew what esports was or how it would develop into what it is today. In 2009, the first Malaysian national esports tournament took place and since then, more and more people have become attracted to this exciting sport.
In early 2019, Esports Malaysia (ESM) was formed as the governing body for esports in Malaysia. ESM is responsible for developing regulations and standards for the industry while also promoting and protecting the interests of its members – which includes clubs, players, sponsors and media outlets – across all platforms including digital, console and mobile gaming.
Esports has seen rapid growth in Malaysia over the past few years with tournaments being hosted regularly both online and at local venues. This growing popularity has encouraged many locals to try out esports for themselves and see how much fun they can have while also competing against others from around the country.
Malaysia’s Pro Gaming Scene
Malaysia’s pro gaming scene is growing rapidly, with dedicated esports arenas popping up in major cities and tournaments drawing large crowds. With the country set to host its first international Dota 2 championship later this year, there is no doubt that esports is here to stay.
The Malaysian Esports Association (MESA) was founded in 2016 with the aim of fostering professionalism and growth in the Malaysian esports industry. It runs registrations for local tournaments and provides support to teams and players. The association also lobbies lawmakers on behalf of the esports industry, looking to defend it against negative perceptions.
In March this year, MSI Malaysia partnered with GameSport International (GSI) to launch the first-ever professional Dota 2 league in Malaysia. Eight teams from across the country competed in a round-robin format culminating in a playoffs stage where the top two teams advanced to participate in the GSI Dota 2 Battle Royale World Championship later this year.
Esports has flourished due to its ability to bring people together through competition. It’s clear that Malaysians are passionate about esports and are ready to show off their skills on a global stage. There’s plenty of room for growth in Malaysia’s burgeoning esports community, so expect more exciting developments over the next few years!
The Esports Economic Impact in Malaysia
Esports in Malaysia has been growing rapidly since its inception in 2014. The Malaysian Esports Association (MSEA) has been instrumental in the development of esports in Malaysia and esports events are now regularly held across the country.
In 2018, there were 273 registered teams competing in various esports titles, with viewership reaching 638 thousand concurrent viewers on Stadium TV’s League of Legends Season 3 Grand Final. This generated a total revenue of RM5 million from league tournament viewership, sponsorship, advertising and merchandise sales. This is expected to grow exponentially as more people become aware of esports and participate in competitions. In fact, according to research by NewZoo, the global esports market is expected to reach USD2.9 billion by 2021.
This growth has had a positive impact on the economy as esports businesses have been able to create jobs and generate income for participants and organizers alike. Esports companies have also been able to invest in innovative technologies that can be used for other industries such as gaming content distribution or live streaming platforms. As a result, the industry is expected to create around 16 thousand jobs by 2020.
Therefore, while some may see esports as solely an entertainment phenomenon, it is clear that it has far-reaching economic implications and is currently playing a significant role in developing the Malaysian economy.
Competitive Gaming Regulations in Malaysia
Competitive gaming regulation in Malaysia is currently in its nascent phase, with the government only recently recognizing the importance of esports betting and its potential to drive innovation and economic growth. As such, there is still much uncertainty surrounding how esports betting will be regulated and structured in Malaysia.
However, despite this uncertainty, a number of organizations have already started to establish themselves within the esports in Malaysia landscape. These organizations include M1 Games, which was founded in 2016 as the country’s first professional gaming organization; Nazarath Gaming Corporation (NEC), which was founded in 2018 as Malaysia’s first dedicated esports team; and Malaysian Esports Federation (MEF), which was formed in 2019 to promote and develop esports in Malaysia.
Esports is quickly becoming one of the most popular sports around the world, and Malaysia is no exception. With passionate fans and big cash prizes up for grabs, esports betting is on the rise in Malaysia and there’s no sign of it stopping any time soon. If you’re interested in getting involved in esports in Malaysia or just want to follow along with all the action, be sure to check out our list of the best online esport platforms to do so.