Field notes

E-sports explodes into big business in the Philippines

Filipinos tipped to clean up inaugural events at SEA Games in a country where close to 50 million, or about half the population, play video games

A rising power in the e-sports arena, the Philippines now has its own e-sports league, with competitions drawing a larger audience than the local basketball league.

MANILA • Eighteen-year-old Alexandre "AK" Laverez can't sit still. He has the kinetic energy of a spinning top, always moving.

But when he's in front of a screen and playing Tekken, his focus is razor-sharp. He has been playing Tekken - a video game where two players duke it out with fantasy karate skills - since he was four, when an uncle handed him a PlayStation controller and showed him the ropes.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 26, 2019, with the headline 'E-sports explodes into big business in the Philippines'. Subscribe