Malaysia has the potential to become the Asian hub for eSports, the Youth and Sports Minister of the country Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman says.
He was speaking at a function organised to greet Malaysian diaspora. He was bullish about Malaysia’s prospects of striking it big in the eSports arena:  “eSports is about the present and future. No one can beat Malaysia. We are centrally located in relation to Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia. It is a big market. We can capture (the market comprising) all three.”
Syed Saddiq said Malaysia had the critical mass with a population of 32 million people while its nearest competitor only had 4 million.
“We have more players than Singapore as well as more land to develop the eSports industry,” he noted.
Syed Saddiq also said a lot of investors, including from China, were keen to sponsor Malaysian eSports players.
“Malaysia has many expert players. AirAsia has become a sponsor. Corporates from China are also interested, but we have not created an industry structure,” he added.
Syed Saddiq said he wanted to change the stigma that eSports was about “just playing a game.”
“The notion that eSports involves solely playing games is wrong. It is a large industry that can potentially provide high-quality jobs for the youth.
“We are talking from (those involved in) sport infrastructure to viewers, advertisers, coaches, trainers, software engineers, software developers, and gaming developers,” he added.
Syed Saddiq noted the recent Mobile Legends Southeast Asia Cup 2018, which saw the participation of Malaysian team AirAsia Saiyan, attracted about 100,000 spectators who were physically present, but the online platform reached more than a million viewers.
It was reported that eSports would be included as a full-medal event in the 2022 Asian Games, while the International Olympic Committee is mulling over its inclusion in the 2024 Olympics in France. – Bernama

By Niji Narayan

Niji Narayan has been in the writing industry for well over a decade or so. He prides himself as one of the few survivors left in the world who have actually mastered the impossible art of copy editing. Niji graduated in Physics and obtained his Master’s degree in Communication and Journalism. He has always interested in sports writing and travel writing. He has written for numerous websites and his in-depth analytical articles top sports magazines like Cricket Today and Sports Today. He reports gaming industry headlines from all around the globe.