First e-sports academy here a game changer

Local group ties up with streaming website Twitch to train gamers, event organisers

Local gamers who aspire to be Singapore's next top pro-gamer, or those who want to make a living streaming to and entertaining a global audience, can count on more support with the launch of an e-sports academy, a first here.

The Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association (Scoga), a non-profit organisation supported by the National Youth Council, launched Esports Academy yesterday, in partnership with the world's largest streaming website, Twitch. The academy will hold classes to train gamers hoping to go professional and on other gaming-related fields, including live- streaming and shoutcasting, which involves a play-by-play commentary during a gaming session.

Scoga chairman Nicholas Khoo said: "It's not just about being a professional gamer. There are so many more opportunities in the growing e-sports industry, like streaming, coaching and organising events."

This comes as the global e-sports market continues to expand to more mainstream channels.

Game-market research firm Newzoo estimates that the global e-sports market, which includes advertising, sponsorship fees and merchandise, will hit almost US$700 million ($978 million) this year and reach US$1.5 billion by 2020.

E-sports will also reach the mainstream audience, following an announcement earlier this week by the Olympic Council of Asia that it will be officially included as a medal sport in the 2022 Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China.

The academy's classes are open to the public, who can sign up for lessons through Scoga's Facebook page or website. There will be a mix of free and paid classes.

Classes and boot camps on how to better game mechanics and strategies will be run by professional game coaches. There will also be practice sessions with higher-level players.

Those who prefer to stream games and entertain audiences can opt for classes on how to do it professionally, with proper lighting and camera set-up.

Over the past three months, about 350 young people have signed up for trial classes ahead of the academy's official launch.

The partnership with Twitch will see the streaming company lend its expertise in live-streaming and gaming to Scoga's programmes.

Mr Raiford Cockfield III, Twitch's director for Asia-Pacific partnership, said: "We are looking to support the region by investing in the Singaporean e-sports scene and by providing local content creators with the opportunity to make a living on our platform."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2017, with the headline 'First e-sports academy here a game changer'. Print Edition | Subscribe