SEA Gamer Mall widening the mobile esports horizon with Mobile Star League

by Yong Chi Winn

When it comes to esports, my personal experience with it was League of Legends’ North American Championship League that began in 2013. To my surprise, I found out that esports actually started way back in the 1980s! Well, it wasn’t much a scene but more of the birth of competitive gaming, which, is basically what esports is. Back in the days, a company known as Twin Galaxies began promoting and publicizing video game high scores. This went on to the extent of getting recognition from the Guinness Book of World Records.
The internet came around in the 90s bringing along with it even more possibility for players to compete with each other. Fast forward to 2002, we’ve got major international tournaments popping up with Starcraft being the game at the mast. Tournaments such as World Cyber Games and Major League Gaming were some of the most prestigious events that gamers would compete in.

The mobile esports phenomenon

Since then, the scene has grown tremendously, however, we still have some ways to go when it comes to mainstream integration and recognition especially in the South East Asia region. Subsequently, a rise in mobile esports in China seems to have made its way to South East Asia. China, being the world’s largest gaming market by revenue, is a country of gamers. The country alone has double the smartphone population of the United States according to Newzoo’s ranking. Hence, it’s no wonder the trend of mobile esports is making its way in a huge wave all around South East Asia. Just to paint you a picture – smartphones and tablets are now ahead in terms of revenues in comparison to both PC and console. Last year alone, the mobile scene experienced a 32 percent growth, reaching $38 billion.
As part of an effort to grow the esports scene in South East Asia, SEA Gamer Mall has taken upon itself to become an official sponsor of the up and coming Mobile Star League.

Mobile Legends competitive scene in South East Asia

In an effort to cater to the demands for a competitive scene in mobile esports, many local bodies have come together to hold more competitive events for its player base. In South East Asia alone there are already several notable professional teams for Mobile Legends. Now, why are we focusing on Mobile Legends? Well, the game is currently topping the market. Not only is it garnering the most revenue, it’s also the most downloaded app. In Malaysia alone, it has an estimated 4,000,000 downloads with half of that download being daily average users.
Due to the game’s popularity, many full-time professional teams were formed in different regions. Still, there was a lack of tournaments for them to compete in. With the intention to bring forth a competitive scene at an international level, Mobile Star League was founded by Seth & Merv Production, a Malaysian esports event company. With the help of SEA Gamer Mall as an official sponsor, Mobile Star League seeks to reduce the downtime between tournaments for pro teams.

What is the Mobile Star League?

Essentially functioning as an invitation league, Mobile Star League will feature top-tier teams from all around South East Asia. Teams will come together to compete in the span of five weeks. Group stage starts on July 10 using the format of best of two round robin. Winning teams will then qualify for the semi-finals and have to compete in a best of three double elimination. As always, the last two team will go head to head for the title of champion a best of five.
With a $10,000 prize pool on the line, eight teams have been invited to compete in the Mobile Star League. These teams are hailing from all over South East Asia; specifically, Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. Here’s the list of invited teams alongside the region they represent:

  • IDoNotSleep (TH)
  • EVOS (ID)
  • Bigetron (ID)
  • RRQ (ID)
  • AirAsia Saiyan (MY)
  • MyA (MY)
  • Resurgence (SG)
  • Team Solid Gaming (PH)

Hopes for the South East Asian mobile esports scene

There is no doubt that the mobile esports scene will rise further due to the accessible nature of a smartphone. Almost everyone owns a smartphone at this point and just anyone could download and play. Plus, it’s evidently smaller and convenient for people to game on the go. Companies like Razer and Asus already have gaming-focused smartphones on the market. Though, I wouldn’t call them the pioneer since the real OG was Sony who first came up with the Sony Xperia Play, integrating the mobile phone with gaming.
Nevertheless, the amount of hype surrounding esports has yet to reach a large consensus of general PC and mobile users. Hopefully, having more of these leagues will generate more awareness on top of interest and in return, support.
Having a local company such as SEA Gamer Mall stepping up to sponsor an esports company is always a plus for the industry. Surely more companies will follow in their stride to further boost the growth of esports. We can never have too many supports since the growth of esports will benefit all parties including the audience, the players, and the industry.

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