Axiata’s eSports tournament a major success

48 gamers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Cambodia played their hearts out in the 2-day grand finale

by NG MIN SHEN

AXIATA Group Bhd’s first eSports tournament, Axiata Game Hero, ended with a bang over the weekend as participants from Axiata’s operating companies across Asia, namely Boost (Malaysia), Smart Axiata Co Ltd (Cambodia), PT XL Axiata Tbk (Indonesia) and Robi Axiata Ltd (Bangladesh), came together in Kuala Lumpur (KL) for the grand finale.

Held at the KL Convention Centre on Dec 21-22 in conjunction with Comic Fiesta, the finale of Axiata Game Hero 2019 saw players of “Free Fire — Battlegrounds” battle it out for a chance to win a share of RM500,000 in prize money.

The tournament, which was launched in May 2019, is the first mobile gaming tournament of its kind in the region.

“Free Fire — Battlegrounds” is a mobile battle royale game developed by Garena and licensed by Axiata’s partner, Techninier Sdn Bhd, a homegrown Malaysian company.

Leading up to the grand finale, nearly 50,000 gamers took part in the tournament in over 500,000 games played, with a social media reach of two million.

Participants competed in tournament trials until Oct 31, 2019, following which the top three squads from each participating country were flown to KL for the Final Grand Championship.

Fourty eight gamers from Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Cambodia played their hearts out in the two-day grand finale.

Each squad comprised four players, with the top three squads from each country selected to battle it out at the final championship.

Following several rounds of live matches, RRQ Hades from Indonesia prevailed, outplaying all the players from 12 squads at the final level.

The team took home a grand cash prize of RM65,000.

“We’re so happy to win!” said 20-year-old Richard William Manurung, team leader of RRQ Hades.

“Our last win was quite some time ago and we have not been ranked too well, so this win is such a booster and motivation for us and the squad,” he added.

Present at the closing ceremony to award the cash prizes were Axiata group strategy and marketing division assistant VP Aravin Kumar and Techninier CEO Datuk Lion Peh.

eSports has seen rapid growth in recent times, driven by easy access to mobile devices and high-speed Internet connections.

In 2019, eSports are projected to have a market value of over US$74.4 billion (RM308.02 billion).

Since it was revealed that Malaysia would be participating in eSports during the recently concluded SEA Games, Axiata and Techninier has invested over RM6 million to support and encourage digitally savvy youth across Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Bangladesh to take advantage of new opportunities in this digital age.

As a major telecommunications player in Asia, Axiata is “naturally excited” about the possibilities uncovered by digital and technological shifts, Axiata head of product innovation and partnerships Peggie Lim said.

Axiata Game Hero is an excellent opportunity to encourage greater talents to emerge in the eSport space, she added.

“Professional gaming is already a career in several countries and we hope the concept of reward-based income from tournament prizes will drive and inspire gamers in our country,” Lim said.

Lifestyle e-Wallet Boost, which has over 4.5 million users including a substantial portion of gamers and gaming enthusiasts, served as the official payment channel in Malaysia for the mobile gaming tournament.

Axiata Game Hero will be back for a second season in 2020, with bigger and more exciting challenges to pave the way for more players to be inspired towards becoming eSports professionals.