Once perceived as a mere recreational pastime, eSports will be included in the multi-sport 30th SEA Games for the first time this year. Reflecting growing popularity of eSports which has become a lucrative business.
Thai eSports teams are now attending grueling training sessions to gear up for the SEA Games event. The event will be held early December this year in the Philippines. Esports was a demonstration sport last year at Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
As the notion of the cyber game has changed from being a form of recreation to become a professional Esports competition. eSports has created revenues for related companies. Kasikorn Research Center expects Esports to generate at least Bt500 million for businesses directly involved in 2019.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s eSports industry has steadily increased with an average growth of 12.7 percent from 2016 to 2019. Kasikorn Research Center projects that Thailand’s E-gaming industry in 2020 will reach Bt25 billion. An increase of 10-12 percent from last year.
Thailand’s eSports industry Spectacularly Growing
Over the past 4-5 years, Thailand’s eSports industry has seen spectacular growth. The Digital Economy Promotion Agency reported that the industry enjoyed an average expansion of 12.7 percent. Driven by various factors like online games via smartphone become popular.
This is despite some concerns over the young’s addiction to the cyber games. Thai children reportedly spend 35 hours a week online. Of all children using the Internet in Thailand, more than 50 per cent go online to play games.
Such addition raises concerns over the children’s mental and physical health.
However, the trend seems inevitable. The virtual gaming business has now become serious. eSports, a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators. Games are often held in a spacious venue such as stadium with various businesses involved to promote the tournament, Thai PBS reports.
Siam Commercial Bank’s Economic Intelligence Center said that Esports has created new professions related to cyber game such as the e-game reviewers and professional eSports players. Professional Esports clubs have been formed with serious money from sponsors.
Some clubs receives several million baht from their sponsors to nurture the team each year.
Several Thai educational institutions have offered courses to incubate talent for the eSports industry. Namely, team managers, judges and gaming developers. Thailand eSports Federation was formed to manage the eSports in Thailand. Also to send Thai contestants to compete in the international stages and groom the Thai competitors.