E-sports: Singapore to host US$2 million Free Fire World Series

It is the third e-sports tournament that will take place in Singapore this year. PHOTO: GARENA FREE FIRE/FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Bigger and richer e-sports events are firing their way into Singapore, as local publisher and game developer Garena announced on Friday (March 19) that the Free Fire World Series 2021 Singapore (FFWS 2021 SG) will be held here in May.

It is the third e-sports tournament that will take place in Singapore this year after January's Mobile Legends: Bang Bang M2 World Championship and the upcoming One Esports Dota 2 Singapore Major Presented By PGL, which starts next Saturday and ends on April 4.

The latest event boasts a prize pool of US$2 million (S$2.7 million), making it the richest to be held this year.

The M2 World Championship had a prize pool of US$300,000, while the One Esports Dota 2 Singapore Major will hand out a total of US$500,000.

The event is supported by the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and will be organised in collaboration with various industry experts and organisations, including the Singapore Cybersports and Online Gaming Association (SCOGA).

Free Fire is a battle royale mobile game developed by Garena and the world series will see 22 teams from 14 regions within the game's ecosystem competing for the title.

The regions are Singapore, Bangladesh, India, Latin America, Brazil, Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan, Europe, Thailand, Taiwan, Russia and Commonwealth of Independent States, Middle East and North Africa, as well as Malaysia and Cambodia and Philippines.

The tournament will take place in two stages: the play-ins on May 22 and finals on May 29.

The play-ins will feature 12 teams who placed either first or second in their regional-level tournaments. The top two teams from the play-ins will then join the top 10 seeds from each regional-level tournament in the final.

The series here marks the physical return of the Free Fire tournament after Covid-19 forced it to move online last year. The previous edition of the FFWS was held in Rio de Janeiro in 2019 and was watched by more than two million online viewers at its peak - then the world record for a mobile e-sports tournament.

Garena's global e-sports manager Justin Lye said: "We know how highly anticipated the World Series is to our players and fans, so we've been working together with the relevant authorities to ensure we give them the biggest Free Fire tournament we've ever hosted.

"Safety has been and will continue to be our biggest priority as we carry out the event."

Jean Ng, the STB's executive director for attractions, entertainment and tourism concept development, said: "We are proud to support our homegrown gaming company Garena as they prepare for FFWS 2021 SG - one of the world's leading e-sports tournaments.

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"The return of such events testify to Singapore's growing reputation as an e-sports destination, as well as our ability to host such events safely."

SCOGA co-founder Nicholas Khoo believes that hosting an event like this will be a boon for Singapore's e-sports ambitions, adding: "This is definitely a milestone event and we are looking forward to hosting all the participants safely."

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