Esports continues to be on an upward growth trajectory despite the challenges of COVID-19. Southeast Asia is still at the head of the pack when it comes to growth, but that is because it has a lot of catching up to do.

With the growing industry, the peripheral market – marketing, influencers, content, streaming and so on – around esports is starting to flourish and one such company looking to capitalise is Ampverse.

The company works with brands to drive awareness, engagement, consideration and purchase among Gen-Z audiences, which they believe are the core drivers of esports growth. From our understanding they have created an ecosystem that includes a suite of owned-and-operated esports teams, gaming channels, original content programming, publishing assets and merchandise.

We had a chance to pick the brain of their Co-Founder and CEO Ferdinand Gutierrez to find out more about the esports industry in the region and what the future holds.

The esports industry in the region is growing but still lags behind more developed markets like the US, China and Korea. How long do you think it would take for Southeast Asia’s esports industry to mature?

Esports in Southeast Asia is on a tremendous growth path. According to Newzoo, Southeast Asia is the fastest growing region globally. The region is still very nascent in terms of monetization and will need some time before it catches up to the more developed markets. However given the region’s growing middle class, and in conjunction with the meteoric rise of mobile games, I believe that Southeast Asia’s esports future is extremely bright.

Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing region for esports. We look at the reasons behind the growth of the industry.

What are some of the factors holding the industry back in Southeast Asia?

Esports revenue is dominated by sponsorships, media and advertising, and Southeast Asian brands are still learning how to use esports as a marketing tool.

As a result of the lockdown, people are spending more time watching esports events. Hence during these challenging times, brands have become more open to esports as a marketing solution in a bid to find effective ways to connect with Gen-Z audiences and build brand equity.

It will take more time and education to bridge the gap in order for brands to get more involved in esports.  

Gen-Z is notoriously fickle as a segment of the audience – how do you plan to stay relevant as the platforms and trends change?

Ampverse believes in the power of the gaming community. The industry is dynamic, so it’s essential that we stay relevant by being an active part of the community through our esports teams, influencers and the authentic content that we create.  We believe that when communities flourish, awesome things happen and the potential to grow gaming to mainstream audiences will be realized.

Where do you see strong potential for growth in esports in the region?

The most promising segment in esports in Southeast Asia is definitely in mobile.  Games like ROV, Free Fire and Mobile Legends have grown rapidly and have lowered the barrier of entry into esports.  Given the socio-economic makeup of the region, gamers no longer need to have expensive equipment to compete at elite levels.  With the increase in players from lower income areas, the popularity of mobile esports will grow as a result of more participation and more support from communities on the back of that.

Growing industries are often driven by personalities. We look at a few of those leading the industry in Southeast Asia.

Which market in Southeast Asia do you see as the dark horse for the esports industry?

Outside of the big six markets in Southeast Asia (namely Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines), we see Myanmar as a dark horse in the region. Myanmar has seen technological advancement at an immense rate, e.g. the jump from 3G to 5G, and the explosion in mobile data usage. Esports is extremely new to Myanmar and we see great potential to add value and grow this sector through our proven blueprint for success in Thailand.

What’s next for Ampverse?

Ampverse believes in the potential of the Southeast Asian region, and we plan to aggressively scale. We have been successful in Thailand and following this, are preparing to expand to other countries. In order to facilitate growth, we are increasing our staff and  investing in technology to keep us ahead of the curve, while exploring various opportunities and partnerships to set ourselves up for success. Stay tuned!