M’sia Cyber Games 2018 to boost e-sports presence

As of 2017, the creative industry has contributed RM2.8b, says president

By KEVIN WONG / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM

The growing and lucrative world of digital gaming is getting larger as Malaysia plans to host the Malaysia Cyber Games 2018 (MCG18).

The once obscure and “time-wasting” activity has become a multibillion contributor to the country’s creative industry, while local gamers are sparring their talents at international competitions.

MCG18 — which will be organised by Suara Anak Muda 1Malaysia (SAM1M) and Tune Advertising Sdn Bhd — will boost the presence of e-sports in the country.

SAM1M president Datuk Armand Azha Abu Hanifah said the e-sports industry is rising into a popular platform and Malaysia’s economy.

“As of 2017, the creative industry has contributed RM2.8 billion (US$700 million) and it is estimated to reach about RM6 billion by 2020.

“With the support from the Communications and Multimedia Ministry (MCMC) via Malaysia Digital Economy Corp (MDEC), the industry is able to provide a positive perspective for the country and to attract foreign investors to be part of the e-sports industry in Malaysia,” he said during the MCG18 soft launch in Putrajaya yesterday.

He added that the e-sports event is aiming to attract more amateurs into digital gaming.

“Unlike the Malaysia e-Sports League which targets professional gamers, we are looking to attract the amateur gamers as MCG18 is a platform for them to put their abilities to the test and find top gamers in the e-sports community,” he said.

Armand said the event is expected to receive more than 10,000 visitors, adding that 1,081 individuals have registered as gamers within the first two days since the launch of the MCG18 website.

MCG18 participants will battle in nine different games with a total prize money of RM300,000 to be won.

Visitors will have the opportunity to experiment with various computer and video games, as well as visit the digital technology exhibition. Entry will be free.

It is noted that MCG18 will be held at the Putra World Trade Centre from Jan 13 to 14.

The inaugural MCG in December 2015 was recognised by the Malaysia Book of Records as it had recorded the largest group participation in the “Dota 2” video game with 792 teams and 64 teams to reach the finals.

Recognising the huge potential and opportunity for the digital gaming sector, MCMC has also taken various efforts to develop the sector.

Vis MDEC, the ministry created a conducive ecosystem to further the development of cyber games and e-sports in the country.

“We have noticed the interest of the Malaysian youth for this industry, where the government has thrown in their support for e-sports and kick- start several key initiatives such as making e-sports as an official sport in 2015.

“We also launched an e-sports academy in 2017 and supported events such as MCG to raise awareness and development of the digital gaming sector,” MCMC Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak told reporters after officiating the soft launch of MCG18.

He said that based on the latest market information, the sector has seen a year-on-year growth of 16.3% and generated a revenue of RM2.3 billion in 2017.

Currently, there are over 14 million players in the country, of which 7.8 million are paid subscribers.

“Meanwhile, the industry has recorded 2.9 times of its export growth — where it nearly doubled the sales value from RM262 million back in 2014 to RM516 million as of 2016.

“With that said, it is vital to bring Malaysia to a global stage by organising international-level events and introducing platforms such as Level Up KL and Kre8tif!,” Salleh said.

Level Up KL is a premier gaming development industry event in South-East Asia, while Kre8tif! is a major platform for the animation industry and visual effects.

While Malaysia has attracted some several international gam- ing developing companies such as Bandai Namco Studios Inc to set office here, the local gaming developing industry has experienced substantial growth.

“The main names in this sector like LemonSky, Passion Republic and Streamline Studios are doing well as they are partnered with international studios such as Sony, Naughty Dog and Square Enix.

“In addition, we have launched a game hub called Level Up Inc in Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur,” he said.

He added that e-sports has become one of the world’s sporting events as it is expected to be a medal event in the upcoming 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.