Esports is a rapidly growing industry all over the world. In Malaysia, however, it has taken off in a particularly big way. Esports is a form of electronic sports that involves players competing against one another in real time. The competitions can be in a variety of different games, including first-person shooters (FPS), fighting games, and MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games. As the esports industry continues to grow, so too does the opportunity for brands to get involved. In this blog post, we will discuss how esports is growing in Malaysia and what opportunities there are for brands looking to get involved.
A Brief History of Esports in Malaysia
Esports in Malaysia has seen a gradual growth since its inception in 2009, as the Malaysian gaming industry grows. The Malaysian Esports Association (MESA) was formed in 2017 as the governing body for esports in Malaysia.
The early days of esports saw a handful of small tournaments and leagues held at universities or other venues around the country. In 2009, MESA was founded as an umbrella organisation to manage and promote esports locally and internationally.
In 2013, the first professional team, PK Gaming, was formed in Malaysia. The team is now one of the most successful teams in Southeast Asia with multiple championships to their name. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that esports really started to take off in Malaysia when MESA organised the inaugural Mineski Pro-Gaming League (MPGL). This tournament gathered some of the best teams from Southeast Asia and international organisations such as MVP Phoenix and Team Liquid to compete for a $200,000 grand prize. Since then, esports has rapidly grown in popularity among Malaysians with several more MPGLs being organised over the past two years alone.
Looking into the future, MESA is eyeing up opportunities to grow esports beyond competitive gaming by expanding into lifestyle brands such as apparel and accessories, hosting events such as cosplay competitions and creating digital content such as videos and blogs about esports in Malaysia culture and players. With mounting interest from both fans and businesses alike, it looks like esports in Malaysia is here to stay!
The Current State of Esports in Malaysia
In the early 2000s, esports was barely even a thing. It wasn’t until South Korea started to dominate the gaming industry that esports began to take off. Slowly but surely, Southeast Asia followed suit and now, esports is an ever-growing industry with Malaysia leading the pack.
Malaysia’s Esports Scene
According to NewZoo’s 2018 report on the global esports market, Malaysia ranks first in terms of viewership of locally produced content. This is thanks to organizations like MOBAs team MVP Phoenix and CS:GO team Red Bull Honor as well as streaming platforms Astro SuperSport and Eleven Sports. Malaysian viewers also prefer live broadcasts over pre-recorded ones, which indicates that the country’s Esports scene is thriving and growing rapidly.
Governmental Support for Esports in Malaysia
The Malaysian government has been supportive of Esports since its inception. In March 2019, Minister of Youth and Sport Youth and Sports Development Mohd Shafeeq Ibrahim announced plans to build a state-of-the-art gaming stadium that would be used primarily for Esports events. Additionally, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has spoken positively about Esports and pledged her support for it during an interview with Reuters in May 2019. This positive outlook from the government is likely responsible for keeping the Esports industry healthy in Malaysia despite some challenges (discussed below).
Challenges Facing The Malaysian Esports Industry
Despite the government’s support, the Esports industry faces a few challenges. The first is that Malaysia doesn’t have a large population of gamers, which could make it difficult to generate enough traffic to sustain long-term Esports leagues and tournaments. Additionally, the country’s infrastructure is not well-equipped to support Esports events. This was highlighted in March 2019 when the government announced that it would need to build a state-of-the-art gaming stadium in order to host major Esports events. Despite these challenges, the esports in Malaysia industry is growing rapidly and there are indications that it will continue to do so in the future.
Future Outlook of Esports in Malaysia
As the global esports industry continues to grow, Malaysia is starting to show its potential. Esports organizations and stadiums are being built here, and viewership is on the rise. The Malaysian market has the potential to be one of the biggest in Asia.
There are several reasons why the Malaysian market could be successful. First, there is a large population of avid gamers who are already familiar with esports. Second, Malaysia has a thriving gaming culture that can be exploited. Finally, esports venues and infrastructure are being built here, which will help increase viewership and interest in the sport.
The Malaysian government is also supportive of esports. In February 2018, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that the government wants Malaysia to become an international hub for esports. This endorsement from the government will help ensure that esports betting continues to grow in Malaysia and becomes a mainstream sport.
There are some challenges that must be overcome before esports in Malaysia can become a major success story. For example, it will take time for infrastructure such as stadiums and leagues to be established. Additionally, broadcasters and sponsorships will need to be secured in order for esports competitions to gain traction among mainstream viewers. However, given the growth of the global esports betting industry and Malaysia’s enthusiastic gamer base, it seems likely that esports in Malaysia will soon become a major player on the scene.
Esports is quickly becoming one of the most popular esports in Malaysia. With the country sporting a population of over 30 million people, it only makes sense that esports would be embraced by so many. Recently, Astro’s Resorts launched the world’s first ever dedicated esports resort – The Arena at Sunway Pyramid — which just goes to show how seriously Malaysian businesses are taking esports. There is still plenty of room for growth in Malaysia’s burgeoning esports industry and we hope to see more innovation and investment in this space in the future.