‘Have faith in eSports’

MPL Bang Bang

The Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Season 4 (MPL-MY/SG S4) playoffs take place at the KL Life Centre this weekend.

The US$100,000 total prize pool tournament will culminate after months of competition between Malaysia and Singapore’s best Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) teams, with the final eight teams clashing for the top spot. The top two teams from Malaysia and one from Singapore will play in the inaugural M1 World Championship.

The event is co-organised by eGG Network and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang developer Moonton.

Lee Choong Khay, Head of Sports, eGG Network, Astro shares his insights about the evolution of eGG Network and the eSports industry in Malaysia.

Twentytwo13: Big brands worldwide are investing in eSports. Are Malaysian brands leveraging on this industry?

Lee: We’re still in the early phase but there are already a handful of brands that have jumped on the eSports train. Some of the industries that we have worked with include telco providers, phone manufacturers, and food and beverages outlets. They have seen success in engaging the gaming community. Through our efforts together, they get a better understanding of this industry and its audiences. We hope more brands come along on this eSports journey with us as it has a lot of potential for growth.

Twentytwo13: There are some who are skeptical about eSports. Do you think the stakeholders have not done enough to educate the masses?

Lee: Sports teams are investing in eSports, like football clubs Paris St Germain and FC Schalke. Most of the top sporting organisations in the world have eSports leagues like the NBA, Premier League and Bundesliga. The wider audience will begin to open up as more professional sporting industries dip their toes into eSports, like the upcoming 2019 SEA Games where eSports is a medal sport.

Fight for Change 2019

Twentytwo13: Do you think Malaysia has what it takes to be the eSports hub in Southeast Asia?

Lee: We want to build up the new generation to take eSports to the next level. We believe that there is more to gaming and eSports than just playing games, and we showed this in our Alliance of Campus Esports (ACE), a university initiative to develop eSports professionals among university students. Something that may be lacking is investment and care for our professional players as they need an avenue to grow. Passion drives the eSports industry, and there are many passionate individuals, communities and stakeholders in the country that already have the expertise that can make Malaysia an eSports hub for SEA. When we all work together, it can become a reality.

Twentytwo13: Is it high time for concerted efforts to study the eSports industry in Malaysia, given the booming mobile phone market and rapid increase of Internet penetration in the region?

Lee: The evidence is already clear, with our tournaments like the Kuala Lumpur Major attracting close to 10,000 people who sat in a stadium for almost 10 to 12 hours over three days, and the Mobile Legends Professional League that has millions of views throughout its season. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang has over five million active users in Malaysia. Studies have been done on this booming industry, yet there still is hesitance. We understand why some brands may be cautious, but they need to take a step to experience it for themselves to truly understand the potential of eSports and its audiences.