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Esports Continues to Thrive in Southeast Asia.

Jan 31, 2023

Gaming has come a long way. From a hobby to an official sport in the Olympics, gaming has turned into a lucrative industry thanks to the rise of esports. In Southeast Asia, esports is expected to grow into a US$72.5 million sector, making it one of the fastest-growing segments in the gaming market. 

With its boom, the gaming industry spurred the emergence of new business models and career opportunities, including professional roles such as content creator, analyst, and professional esports player. Many esports teams in the region have also generated huge revenue not only through winning tournaments, but also through brand sponsorships and advertising.

Let’s take a closer look at the rise of esports in Southeast Asia and some of the most popular teams and events!

Fun fact:
The Philippines has over 43 million active gamers, and the most popular game genre is multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA).

The Teams
Esports tournaments attract millions of viewers, and they’re a great way for both the industry and teams to promote the sport and build out fan bases. Note that most fans and followers for every team come from Instagram and TikTok, which are two of the most popular social platforms in the region.

One of the leading teams is Indonesia-based EVOS Esports, with 7 million followers on Instagram at the time of writing. The organization attracted a large fan base thanks to its teams who are actively competing in Thailand and Indonesia. Next is Aura Esports, which is also from Indonesia. It has 4.1 million followers on Instagram and 1.6 million followers on TikTok as of writing. 

Just like EVOS Esports, ONIC Esports has several teams actively participating in tournaments in two countries: Indonesia and the Philippines. In Indonesia, it has 1.5 million followers on Instagram, while its Philippine arm has more than 35,700 followers. Meanwhile on TikTok, ONIC Esports has more than 535,000 followers in Indonesia and upwards of 202,000 followers in the Philippines

The Games
Esports used to be a private pastime within communities of gamers and enthusiasts, but now it has emerged to be one of the most anticipated events in global tournaments. In fact, esports is set to return as a medal sport event at the 32nd SEA Games in Cambodia in 2023, marking the third time that esports has been included in the multi-sport competition supervised by the International Olympic Committee. 

After its successful debut as a demonstration sport in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, esports became a full medal sport at the 30th SEA Games in 2019 in the Philippines. Then, it continued to be a medal event at the 31st SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam. This year, esports will be a full medal sport event at the upcoming 2023 Asian Games for the first time in Hangzhou, China, with as many as 24 medals. 

Southeast Asia’s gaming and esports industries have an undoubtedly bright future owing to  factors propelling its growth, such as new technology adoption and the expansion of young, digital-savvy groups entering the gaming world. It won’t take long until we see esports become more mainstream and turn the region into one of the most important markets for everything gaming!

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