Syed Saddiq sees potential in Malaysia's esports scene

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It has only been ten days since the historical election that went down on May 9 and Malaysia shows no signs of slowing down when it comes to moving forward. The local gaming scene has always been growing. Last year, we held a DotA 2 tournament with the biggest prize pool yet in SEA and this year, gaming events has been popping up left and right. Apart from the usual ESL matches, the Mobile Legends Professional League 2018 also brought along more esports hype locally.
The transcendence of esports can be equated to that of an analog clock being replaced by digital clock. No idea what I mean? Well, in America, schools are removing analog clock from exam halls. These are to be replaced with digital clocks instead. Why? Because teenagers cannot tell time for the life of them. When this news first came out, many people were quick to judge, talking down to the youth of our time. You could call them lazy but honestly, sure. However, if you take a moment to think about, the analog clock we have today, was an innovation from the early days sundial. The sundial was the OG of all clocks, bruh.
My point is, as a society, we should always be moving forward. So when people dismiss esports as a real sport, go ahead and yell “The sundial was the OG of all clocks bruh but now we have digital – get with the time!” at them. I’m kidding – but really, disregarding esport just because it was played different, is a regressive attitude and our local Youth Chief of the Malaysian United Indigenous Party, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, agrees.

Moving onto a new phase of the future

Saddiq’s intention are clear as day in his recent interview where he touch on the potential of esports. He wants to cultivate the growth of local gamers by building an e-stadium. According to him though, when he says e-stadium, he’s not saying we have to build a literal building. Instead, it was more towards means to facilitate esport players. Here’s what he has to say during an interview with a local news channel, Astro AWANI:
“We mustn’t forget about the gamers because they make up a big majority, especially the young adults below 25 years old. We need to help them. For example, (the government can) provide training and infrastructure for those who wish to represent the country at an international level. (We have to) make sure they have substantial allowance so they can continue to sustain their daily living while making Malaysia proud internationally”
It’s great to see a political figure sharing the same sentiments as most of us in the gaming industry do. That’s not to say the government has not been actively pushing the local gaming scene. The Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) has always been an active advocate of local game development. Plus, we’ve had esports tournament held locally from time to time. At the end of the day though, it still feels pretty great to be acknowledge by the big guy, y’know?

What’s next for esports?

If you didn’t already know, building an e-stadium was also part of (Pakatan Harapan) Alliance of Hope’s manifesto. Here’s what Saddiq explain in the interview:
“Maybe there’ll be some who question why we want to help those (gamers) who sits around doing nothing on their chair. But, sports evolve. If we were to look back at the 18th or 19th century, the sports we play today didn’t exist back then. We have to look forward to the future. We are entering a new phase and it involves esports.”
Just look at how big League of Legends is getting. It’s so big that it even won an award that was meant for sports event. Just last week, Riot Games took home a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Live Graphic Design at the 39th Annual Sports Emmy Awards. Esports has already begun to be accepted into the mainstream world in the west thanks to Riot Games. Every single year, the World Championship is an event to look forward too. Even if you’re not a fan of the game, just check it out for the opening ceremony because they are epic. If you don’t believe me, check out last year’s final opening ceremony that gave them that Sports Emmy here.
Time is changing and we need to change with it. If Malaysia wants to advance in the eye of the world, we have to show that we can keep up with the flow. All in all, as an avid gamer myself, the show of support from Saddiq, makes me glad. I look forward to seeing bigger events happening locally. Heck, maybe Riot Games would even consider hosting one of the group stages here then I can die happy.

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