In this digital age, it is clear that we are constantly embracing modern methods of doing things. This trend is no different when it comes to sports as eSports have truly taken off in the past several years.
In fact, eSports is even prevalent in countries such as Thailand where the industry is expanding rapidly. With Thailand now deemed as a popular eSports region, it is worth exploring eSports infrastructure in Thailand to see how the country is facilitating this growth.
Esports is booming
Firstly, the eSports industry is projected to grow tenfold in Thailand with competitions in a variety of different genres including casino games where people can test out their poker hands.
Naturally, there is a huge interest in eSports in Thailand as those in the country have a common interest in sports and physical activities with 16M people participating in sports and/or exercising regularly.
This trend has translated to the video game sector as Thailand’s eSports sector has grown tremendously thanks to the widespread accessibility of the internet and smartphones which has allowed people to play these types of games from their own home.
There is also the availability of 5G in areas of Thailand which means that people can play video games on the go and on demand. Popular games such as League of Legends and Data 2 can be played in various competitions which has spurred more buzz around eSports.
Esports facilities on the rise
Of course, as a result of this surge of eSports in Thailand, there has been a huge development of infrastructure within Thailand. In fact, gaming arenas have been cropping up ever since the government recognized eSports as an official sport.
For example, Thailand E-Sports Arena (THEA) was created in 2015 and regularly hosts a plethora of tournaments every year in a myriad of platforms such as PC, Mobile, Console and Arcade.
This venue is also known for hosting other events such as concerts and press conferences and a result these audiences have gained a curiosity for the eSports events it holds.
This interest in Thailand for eSports can be reflected by its following with the number of gamers who participate in gaming competitions projected to double from 9.8 million in 2021 to 18.7 million players in 2027.
Also, there are many video game fans and sports enthusiasts who are emotionally invested in the careers of major Thai eSports stars who are featured in the world rankings.
Thailand currently comes in 16th place in the world rankings with Anucha Jirawong hailed as the highest earning Thai player with $1,180,162.99 USD in prize money won overall from playing in Dota 2 tournaments.
Esports stars like these who are making money doing what they love have spurred many fans to forge a eSports career for themselves by live-streaming themselves playing their favourite video games.
Future investment on the horizon
Furthermore, the popularity of eSports in Thailand has been increased by widespread investments in eSports by companies. In fact, sponsorship is the market’s most lucrative category, with a market volume of US $2M generated in 2023. This has coincided with the Thai eSports Federation being set up to monitor eSports in Thailand.
In addition, recently there have been steps made to ensure that eSports teams and athletes are permitted to have access to financial support from the Sports Authority of Thailand and its Professional Sports Promotion Fund.
There is also heavy investment coming from companies such as Tencent into eSports in Thailand as well as into events that have been scheduled to market it. In addition, the DEPA Game Accelerator Program has been put in place to strengthen the prospects of game publishers and developers which has further popularised eSports.
In addition, Thailand has hosted a range of international tournaments relating to eSports which have been successful in getting people all over the world to embrace this activity.
For example, in 2018 Thailand was the hold for the Southeast Asian Games which issued medals to those who performed exceptionally. With games such as Valor, Dota 2 and Starcraft II being played, there were a range of events to choose from.
There has been a significant effort to recognise the credibility of eSports as a legitimate sport as some Thai academic institutions have even included eSport based subjects on their scheme of study. This has helped legitimise eSports as a valid sport in the eyes of the public and has strengthened its fan base in a short space of time.
Ultimately, this surge of eSports has created a number of exciting opportunities for Thailand. From the growth of eSports organisation to the overwhelming public interest in eSports, the future of both eSports and gaming in Thailand seems bright.
In the coming years, as technology evolves even more, we should witness more developments when it comes to eSports infrastructure in Thailand to grapple with this growing eSports demand.