Gaming hardware manufacturer Razer recently led a joint appeal with 10 participating e-sports federations to bring e-sports as a medal event next year in the Vietnam SEA Games. With the brand’s success in the 30th SEA Games held in the Philippines and the freshly concluded SEA-Invitational event, Razer is now eyeing the tournament model to go global.
In an exclusive interview with Razer’s e-sports director David Tse, he shared that the main focus of the Razer Invitational in Southeast Asia was to provide a more inclusive and fair platform for e-sports athletes, regardless of their levels, to have a shot in representing their countries. Aside from representing their roots, e-sports athletes also gain 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.”
And although bringing e-sports to the Olympic stadium is the primary vision of Razer, the process requires strong fundamentals by the participating countries. This means putting up proper e-sports federations and developing the discipline as a sport in the country.
When e-sports event took center stage 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.”
Even if e-sports events are able to capture a bigger chunk in the audience age range, the dilemma lies in the lifespan of the gaming titles being eyed for grander medal events. Traditional sports disciplines do not change i.e. figure skating before is still the same discipline today.
Games, however, age. Clash of Clans used to be all the rage and was part of many tournaments until the interest died down. Tse believes that 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 favourites – 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.”