SINGAPORE - Singaporean gaming hardware manufacturing company Razer announced on Wednesday (Nov 28) it will be the official e-sports partner for next year's SEA Games in the Philippines, where e-sports is set to make its debut in the biennial meet.
In a media statement, Razer revealed that its co-founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Min-Liang has "led the rally to elevate e-sports to a recognised medal event at SEA Games 2019" over the past year, and a Razer delegation met with the Philippine SEA Games Organising Committee (PhilSGOC) and the Philippine Olympic Committee on multiple occasions to work towards this goal.
Tan said: "E-sports has been the essence of Razer ever since we were founded, and we have supported countless global events, tournaments, teams, and athletes over the past decade and a half.
"The sportsmanship and fighting spirit seen in e-sports is no less than that of other sports, and we've fought hard for its inclusion in an international sporting event like the SEA Games 2019."
Razer currently supports 18 champion teams with players from 25 countries. Team Razer gamers have won over US$10 million (S$13.7 million) in prize money in the past two years.
As the official e-sports partner of SEA Games 2019, Razer will draw upon its expertise and experience in e-sports, as well as its ecosystem of hardware, software and services to support the e-sports tournament at the meet.
This includes facilitating discussions between PhilSGOC and various game publishers to select the games that will be featured at the SEA Games e-sports tournament.
The final line-up of titles will be revealed in the next few months, but the first game partner that Razer and PhilSGOC are announcing for the SEA Games 2019 is Moonton, the publisher behind the popular Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.
In addition, Razer will be supporting the final crop of Team Philippines e-sports athletes who will represent the host country at the finals.
Justin Yuan, CEO and co-founder of Moonton Games, said: "SEA Games 2019 is the perfect platform to propel Mobile Legends: Bang Bang into the big leagues, given our strong user base here as well as the region's fast-growing youth and millennial population.
"Razer's role as the official e-sports partner gives us confidence that the tournament will be nothing short of phenomenal. We look forward to seeing South-east Asia's best Mobile Legends: Bang Bang players face off against each other."
While e-sports is on the list of 56 sports slated for the upcoming SEA Games, Singapore National Olympic Council secretary-general Chris Chan clarified that e-sports, ju-jitsu, kurash, skateboarding and surfing still have to submit their application forms, complete with endorsement either from their international federations or Asian bodies by Dec 7 to be approved as 2019 SEA Games sports.
According to market researchers Newzoo, there are more than 2.3 billion gamers worldwide, including 71 percent of millennials. The global e-sports audience is expected to reach 276 million by 2022, and e-sports itself is projected to be a billion-dollar industry by next year.