Friday, April 19, 2024

PH gov’t dips hand in e-gaming as DOST ties up with Esports World Federation

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has just put its proverbial hat into the e-gaming ring by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Esports World Federation (ESWF), an international umbrella body of electronic and digital sports organizations and members of the gaming community.

The signing ceremony, held at the DOST main building in Taguig City on Feb. 19, formalizes the Philippine government’s interest in developing the country’s growing e-gaming sector.

The Philippine e-sports market alone has 43 million active members and rising since 2017, an ever-growing slice of a very lucrative global market.

In 2020, total revenues from esports worldwide hit $1.26 billion, with mobile games accounting for $900 million, according to DOST undersecretary for regional operations Sancho A. Mabborang.

He also noted that the e-sports industry is “skyrocketing” in the country, functioning as both a hobby and a potential source of income for the youth – so much so that it was introduced as an official event at the Philippine-hosted 2019 Southeast Asian Games.

Moreover, the collaboration aims to spearhead programs, projects, and activities focused on educational, cultural, and science and technology-based digital games and sports across the country’s sixteen DOST regions, local government units (LGUs), and State Universities and Colleges (SUCs).

The alliance also seeks to implement training sessions, workshops, and seminars to help attract local and foreign investments in the Philippine e-sports and gaming landscape.

“This MOU is an important step in bringing science, technology and innovation to address the fast-growing industry of e-sports,” Mabborang said in his opening remarks.

On behalf of the DOST, secretary Renato Solidum Jr. welcomed the partnership, building on Mabborang’s earlier comments by underscoring the agency’s commitment to building up the Philippine e-gaming industry as an extension of its mandate to uplift the country’s scientific and technological capacities.

“E-sports has the potential to energize the economy, providing jobs and boosting the ICT and startup industries. The e-sports industry can produce job opportunities in game design, animation, and many related fields,” Solidum said.

“We should boast that we have a thriving local e-sports scene thriving with practitioners and fans, and we should develop it into a global force. We can help the (local) e-sports industry contribute to economic growth and national pride,” he added.

Meanwhile, ESWF founder and president Arnel Gutierrez welcomed the government’s interest in e-sports, which he said is in much need of greater public appreciation and industrial support. He also thanked the DOST for recognizing the potential for developing localized e-sport technologies.

“By fostering better collaboration, we can drive innovation and education in Philippine e-sports and technology,” he said.

“This is an untaped industry where we can really harness the potential of Filipinos,” Gutierrez concluded.

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