Today, E-sports has become more than a fad. It is now a full-fledged career for many young Filipinos. But it wasn’t always like this.
Remember how, in your childhood, your parents would scold you for spending long hours playing computer games? That meant trouble back in the day. It’s not quite the same anymore.
What is E-sports, exactly?
CNN in 2018 defined E-sports as the “world of competitive, organized video gaming.” Competitors from different leagues or teams face off in the same games. Examples of these particular games are Mobile Legends, League of Legends, Fortnite, Tekken, Street Fighter, Call of Duty, amongst other popular online games.
It is a spectator type of sport that can be watched by audiences via streaming platforms. Most popular of which are Twitch and YouTube. In addition, E-sports has become a vast ecosystem wherein professional players or teams, game developers, and tournament organizers exist. Simply put, it’s grown to be a world of its own.
Most games mentioned above are played on high-end computers, but that hasn’t stopped E-sports from being inclusive. Games like Mobile Legends and League of Legends can be played in Android phones with mid to high-end specs. The popularity of these games among the general public has led to a boom in gaming computers, laptops, and smartphones in recent years.
Can you guess how many gamers the Philippines has? 10 million? That number should be a couple dozen million off target. According to 2020 data by the Philippine Electronic Sports Organization (PESO), the country had a whopping 52.8 million gamers. That was during the start of the pandemic. The numbers have surely gone up now with students and adults alike having been confined in their homes for two years now.
Covid-19 triggered the awakening of players
Without a doubt, the pandemic accelerated the country’s digital revolution. What was expected to take more than a decade may just turn into a 5-9 year period.
The pandemic forced millions of people to be online. To operate businesses, go to work, and go to school virtually. All of those things fast-tracked everyone to become more tech savvy.
This ensured a boom for the gaming industry, as Filipinos sought not only to kill boredom, but to connect with friends and loved ones. What better way to have fun with everyone? Through gaming, of course.
Many people got hooked into E-sports. The sense of community brought about by online video games made lockdowns more bearable to a lot of players: real-life evidence that physical distancing does not mean social distancing. Life went on.
A Golden Age for gaming
For gamers who want to become professional players of e-sports, the Lyceum of the Philippines now offers the Philippines’ first BS E-sports program. That’s right, professional gaming is now a course which you can be proud of if you are a gamer at heart.
However, if you aren’t one of those gamers who want to take it seriously, but still want to earn serious cash, then there are opportunities for you on social media. Even if you’re not good at a game, if you can make people laugh and love you for your content, then you can monetize streaming through multiple platforms. Many have made millions doing this.
With the growth of the industry comes growth in audience and resources. There are so many ways to get into E-sports right now. You can take the long road to be a pro player and compete in tournaments. You can be a streamer or a content creator. Or, just be a plain gamer and enjoy for personal relaxation.
And what about opportunities in gaming, without actually gaming? These exist, too! As long as you have knowledge about a particular E-sports game.
One good example of this is being a shout-caster of a tournament, a lane for the charismatic ones! Being a shout-caster is just like being a commentator of a regular sports event, which involves describing blow-by-blow account of games and in-depth analysis. Add to that the dozens of other back-end roles and jobs created by the industry, and there’s plenty of work for everyone.
A bright future for the industry
The golden opportunity in E-sports is that it continues to become, more and more, a lucrative venture for sponsorships—both in terms of teams and tournaments. Specially compared to traditional sports due to “wide and diverse” audience reach.
In many ways, the rise of online streaming both by the average gamer and pro players has created numerous opportunities for brands to connect more to the waiting world.
To sum it all up, so many things in the gaming and entertainment world can revolve around E-sports in the future. But beyond fun and entertainment, beyond competition, what we should value most is another newfound opportunity to connect with each other, and even represent the country worldwide.