PENANG is taking up initiatives to promote eSports in the state, says state Youth and Sports Committee chairman Soon Lip Chee.
“We intend to create an eSports hub at a strategic location in Penang which will also be instrumental in attracting players from the northern region such as Perlis, Kedah and Perak.
“The state government is also promoting eSports at all five districts in the state. Moreover, it is also one of the events in the Sukma which has been postponed to next year from March 6 till 14.
“Currently, we are preparing and selecting athletes to represent Penang in the eSports next year,” said Soon during a virtual discussion on eSports organised by the Penang Young Development Corporation (PYDC).
Soon encouraged the youth to get involved in eSports as it is a current trend as well as gave them a piece of advice regarding the sports.
“Those who are interested, get yourself attached to any eSports club or you can even contact my office . You can also contact PYDC for a clearer guidance on the sports.
“Remember to have a balance lifestyle and do not neglect your health in the pursuit of the sports; make sure you also take part in the physical sports.
“I hope parents can also learn more about the sports to understand it better, and if your children have talent in eSports, please encourage them to step into it,’’ added Soon.
Alan Phang, one of the participants in the discussion, shared that eSports is a professional sports which is totally different from ‘gaming’.
“This is the future of sports, I agree with YB Soon that eSport players must play in moderation without putting their health at stake.
“Perhaps, parents should understand that eSports is also like other physical sports such as football. The players have their own schedule for training sessions and also tournaments, and they are not into the game 24 hours.
“There are other roles that people can explore in the eSports industry apart from becoming a player such as shoutcaster, team manager, coach, game analyst, tournament referee, content creator, graphic designer, marketing, community manager, social media manager, sales team, partnership team, broadcasting, production and even finance,’’ said Phang.
According to Phang, aspiring eSports players can use LinkedIn and Twitter to get to know more about the current happenings in the sports.
“They can also follow eSports facebook, and once the movement control order (MCO) is over, if there are eSports events they should attend and meet those experienced players, keep exploring.
“There is no right age for this sports, we have professional players as young as 12 years old and we even team with players who are 60 years old. But those who are below 18 years old definitely need approval from their parents and guidance.
“I appreciate YB Soon and PYDC for organising eSports event in Penang during the MCO. It is good to see that the state government is being progressive about this sports.
“I hope the youths in Penang can organise mini tournaments in Penang to help the state government to organise bigger tournaments. This sports is all about team spirit and community engagement,’’ he added.
Also joining them were Hakiem Tajudin, the professional eSports player who feels that support received from the government will help to motivate aspiring eSports player.
“I started playing eSports when I was 16 years old. That was when I decided to participate in the ‘Call of Duty’ tournament in which I bagged the second placing.
“Since then, I decided that this would be my career. I wanted to become a professional eSports player. I practise daily from 9pm to 12am or sometimes up to 2am.
“People have the misconception that eSports players do not socialise and that they will be hooked on the game. This is just like the physical sports where they have a schedule. I do have my social time.
“I hope that the eSports industry will have an healthy environment so that more people will join the industry,’’ said Hakiem
Hakiem said that, those who want to train themselves to become a semi-pro players can train at night starting from 8 pm onwards, as players from many countries would be playing during this time.
“You must know how to balance your time, keep practising even if you lose and age is not a barrier for this sports. There are some professional players in PUBG and Mobile Legend who are just 15 and 16 years old.
“Young or old it does not matter, just believe that you can do it and go to right channel. You must get connected to the right people,’’ he added.
Meanwhile, Harry Chai from Penang State Sports Council said that, SUKMA Esports players will be competing in three games namely, Mobile Legend, DOTA 2 and Pro Evolution Soccer.
“The athletes will be undergoing training for four hours everyday, as a preparation for the SUKMA. Those who are keen in this sports, can visit our centre in Batu Uban for us to help you on how to go about in the eSports.
“We hope that you will represent our state or even the country one day,’’ Chai said.
Story by Tanushalini Moroter