Razer sees Olympics as future for e-sports

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With the success of e-sports in the 30th SEA Games held in the Philippines where it was included as a medal event for the first time, gaming hardware manufacturer Razer is now eyeing the tournament model to go global.

Razer recently led a joint appeal with 10 participating e-sports federations to bring e-sports again as a medal event next year in the Vietnam SEA Games.

In an exclusive interview with Newsbytes.PH, Razer’ e-sports director David Tse said the main focus of its recent Razer Invitational in Southeast Asia was to provide a more inclusive and fair platform for e-sports athletes — regardless of their skills level — to have a shot in representing their countries. Aside from representing their roots, he said e-sports athletes also gained regional tournament experience that can help catapult any gamer to more major medal e-sports events.

“We want to work with different countries to bridge the gaps they might have in having an all-inclusive platform to enable amateur players to gain experience in a regional tournament, further developing the e-sports ecosystem there. The format of competition could be different, depending on the region, but the value of what the Razer Invitational stands for remains the same,” Tse said.

Although bringing e-sports to the Olympic stadium is the primary goal of Razer, Tse said the process requires possessing strong fundamentals by participating countries. This means putting up proper e-sports federations and developing the discipline as a sport in the country, the executive said.   

When e-sports took centerstage at the San Juan Arena, Razer’s streaming platforms registered 20 million impressions with 90,000 concurrent viewers. Audiences also spent over 200,000 hours watching the streams on YouTube as the event made its way to the top 10 trending gaming videos on the platform.

“E-sports making its debut as a medal event at SEA Games was an important step towards that aim — one that has already resulted in changing mindsets. As the first e-sports medal event, fans from all walks of life tuned in remotely or visited the San Juan Arena in the Philippines to watch the competitions live,” Tse said.

The Razer official noted, however, that even if e-sports events are now able to capture more audiences, there is the problem on the lifespan of the gaming titles being eyed for medal events. This is unlike traditional sports disciplines which do not change such as figure skating which has not changed over time.

Tse said games are quickly replaced in a short period of time. Clash of Clans used to be all the rage and was part of many tournaments until the interest died down, he said. He, however, said the variety of games is an advantage and can reach different gaming communities, which results in sparking new interest, unlike a traditional sport.

“There will always be a strong core base of games that remain fan favorites such as Dota2 and LOL, who still maintain a strong showing in their major tournaments worldwide. New games attract new audiences and e-sports will always have a sense of freshness and excitement because of that,” he said.

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