Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: Bonding by gaming together from home

E-sports body aims to back communities by helping to organise and sponsor events

Professional e-sports player Amraan Gani from Team Flash. As part of the #SGPlaysTogether initiative, SGEA will provide support to various gaming communities here to run tournaments. PHOTO: GARENA VIETNAM
Professional e-sports player Amraan Gani from Team Flash. As part of the #SGPlaysTogether initiative, SGEA will provide support to various gaming communities here to run tournaments. PHOTO: GARENA VIETNAM

Gaming enthusiasts who are staying at home during the circuit breaker period will now have a platform to connect with others during this Covid-19 pandemic with the launch of the Singapore E-sports Association's (SGEA) initiative, #SGPlaysTogether, yesterday.

As part of the initiative, SGEA will provide support to various gaming communities here to run tournaments, and conduct school outreach programmes with the Singapore Cybersports & Online Gaming Association (Scoga).

SGEA president Ng Chong Geng said: "#SGPlaysTogether encourages youth to bond online by playing video games that they love, following Singapore's call through the #SGUnited message on the importance of Singaporeans, including youth, to exercise their part in the fight to safeguard one another and save lives amid the pandemic."

SGEA hopes to back up to 10 gaming communities - a community is a gaming title such as Fifa - and engage 300 to 500 gamers per community.

Community leaders submit their proposals through an online form with details such as tournament dates and competition structure, and SGEA will select projects to support based on whether the plans are executable.

Assistance is offered in the form of Care Packages, an assortment of products and vouchers worth $3,000 to $5,000, and help with organising the tournament or event if needed.

Social enterprise SOOS OIO, which uses gaming to empower youth through organising workshops and competitions in the community, is putting together a Dota 2 workshop and tele-matches for 40 to 60 people as part of #SGPlaysTogether.

The online workshop will take place next Tuesday, while the tele-matches will be played on the weekends of May 30-31 and June 6-7.

Ruth Lim, an e-sports coach at SOOS OIO, said: "There are a lot of community events and competitions now, but it may be intimidating for those who play casually. When we found out about the initiative, it was a chance to actually run it as a community event, even for those with no competitive experience."

The National University of Singapore E-gaming Society (NUSEG) is also organising a post-finals celebration event for the school comprising seven games. These are League of Legends, Overwatch, Team Fight Tactics, Super Smash Bros, Rainbow Six Siege, Dota 2 and Hearthstone.

NUSEG president Sean Heng said: "When I first saw it, I was encouraged because there is support for us in the gaming community. Even though NUSEG has been here for 13 years, we did not have support from the Government to organise competitions, we always had to find our own sponsors and people who are like-minded."

"It is nice getting recognition and the help from the initiative, and I am looking forward to more of these initiatives in the future."

  • $5,000 

    Maximum value of care packages the Singapore E-sports Association is offering to gaming communities.

As part of its school outreach efforts, SGEA, together with Scoga, is aiming to reach out to over 10 schools, which include the Institute of Technical Education, polytechnics and universities, to offer e-sports and talent development programmes.

Both associations will also work with students to organise tournaments within the school gaming community.

Additional reporting by Neo Yee Pung

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 19, 2020, with the headline 'Bonding by gaming together from home'. Subscribe