After being denied entry to the Olympics and other international sporting events, eSports is about to make its official debut in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, to be held in the Philippines this November. Most of it is thanks to Min-Liang Tan, CEO of Singaporean gaming company Razer. He initiated a campaign that lobbied for the inclusion of eSports in the SEA Games back in December 2018 — one that was successful.
However, another huge part of the success of Razer’s campaign goes to the SEA Games’ venue for the year: the Philippines. Unlike most countries, the Philippines is one of the few that put eSports on the same pedestal as traditional sports likes volleyball.
It all started when Ronald Robins, a former professional Dota 2 player, was encouraged to improve the local eSports infrastructure. He expanded his then-small business Mineski, or what used to be a small internet café, into three brands: the Mineski Infinity internet cafés, the Mineski Pro Teams, and the Mineski Events Team. All these developed the local community of casual and competitive gamers alike for titles like Dota 2, League of Legends (LoL), Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO). In 2017, his effort bore fruit when the Gaming and Amusement Board of the Philippines allowed its citizens to secure athletic licenses for eSports. The decision of the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) to include eSports as a medal event to the 2019 SEA Games was the natural next step.
And after dropping the last of six titles only recently, we now have a complete list of all games in the eSports category for the upcoming SEA Games. Let’s take a look:
Arena Of Valor
(Image Credit: Variety)
Arena of Valor (AoL) is a 5v5 multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) game created by Riot Games, the genius behind the world-famous PC MOBA game LoL. It recently got re-released for the Nintendo Switch, but the SEA Games will naturally host it in its reigning platform: mobile.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang
(Image Credit: Andrio d Tutorial)
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) is something of an obsession in the Southeast, inspiring its own structured leagues, such as the 2019 MLBB World Championships, throughout the region.
The main difference between MLBB and AoL, despite both being MOBA games, is in MLBB’s fast gameplay (5~10 minutes). As a result, the game calls for a different set of skills and strategies.
(Image Credit: Engadget)
It’s no surprise to see one of Valve’s titles on the list. Especially when said company is the host of “The International” — the eSports tournament with the biggest prize pool to date, amounting to more than $30 million.
Dota 2 is yet another MOBA title that made the list, this time for PC, so we’ll be seeing plenty of team maneuvers and tactical plots in the upcoming SEA Games.
(Image Credit: Pocket Gamer)
It was a choice between Hearthstone and NBA2k, but since PHISGOC was unable to secure the license for NBA2k, Hearthstone made the cut. Hearthstone is a digital card game based on World of Warcraft — one that has balanced its archetypes and meta playing field well for gamers to duke it out on relatively equal grounds.
(Image Credit: ArchDaily)
The Starcraft franchise has been one of the veteran titles on the shelf, with origins dating back to 1998, but it wasn’t until Blizzard remastered it two decades later that it became the PC staple that it is today.
Though it has its co-op multiplayer modes, competitive Starcraft II is mostly known for its 1v1 matches campaigns —so expect exactly that for the upcoming medal event.
(Image Credit: Gamesplanet)
The announcement of Tekken 7 has reignited an old discourse that has stemmed from the Olympic Council and the Asian Games’ preference to exclude “violent” games for any international sporting event — not that it stopped the PHISGOC. Tekken is one of few games that requires absolute mastery of a single character, which means that it’ll be more skill-based compared to others on this list.
The 30th SEA Asian Games will open on November 30 and will last for eleven days. The awarding ceremony will be held in the Philippine Arena, a newly built stadium in Tarlac.
Written by Ginger Mitchell for nonfictiongaming.com