It’s no secret that eSports are massive across the globe. They were even due to be part of the Japan 2020 Olympics build-up. In Singapore too, online gaming has reached new heights, and with the popularity of tournaments, this trend is not likely to end anytime soon. With the rise of online gaming in the region, eSports startups in Singapore are establishing themselves as key players in the industry.
Research from Newzoo found that Singapore is going to see a considerable surge in investors and players. The region is now the fastest-growing in the world for eSports, with hubs and academies taking notice and bringing new strategies and techniques centre stage. The recently launched Singapore Games Association (SGGA) aims to encourage the development of the sector, and some heavy-hitters are emerging to tap into the $327.2 million USD local market.
We explore how the gaming industry in Southeast Asia is on the rise
We take a look at some of the emerging players in this industry.
This startup has a hefty stake in community gaming. Ampverse’s mission is to connect players in real-time through the use of eSports teams as well as original content and gaming channels. Its carefully designed platform encourages connection between gamers and gaming audiences. Since 2019, the company has grown by 150% and has a pre-series A funding round in the works.
Big-name investors such as Robert Gilby, Firestartr partner Axel Wehr, Alex Khan of Unruly, Matt Sutton from INSEAD and David Ng of goGame have all chosen to invest in Ampverse. The company will use the funding for expansion across Southeast Asia, increasing its headcount by 100%.
We speak to Ampverse about the future of esports in Southeast Asia
eSports Players League (ESPL)
Founded in 2019, ESPL is a platform designed for eSports tournaments with a focus on “grassroot game community and digital interactivity”. Its expanse reaches across the globe to over 16 countries, and their interactive model connects like-minded gamers to a globally-scaled audience. ESPL wants to make eSports an experience rather than a pastime.
Its recently launched tournament will be the first-ever global amateur championship allowing players from 10 countries to participate, bringing together the gaming community in a big way. It aims to create a gaming ecosystem for novice or amateur players to hone their skills on their way to becoming eSports athletes.
The Sea Group is an umbrella “global consumer internet company”, and it launched online game developer and publisher Garena in 2009 to give users access to all its games. Engagement and interaction are at the forefront of their platform.
In 2019, Garena hosted its largest eSports tournament with 130 million views, while its game Free Fire, became the most downloaded in the world. Recent developments for Free Fire include Halloween events and updates to help get into the spirit of the season.
To enhance the future of mobile strategy games, BattleBrew Productions brought creators together in February of 2017, developing popular games such as BattleSky Brigade.
In August 2020 it won the GDC Pitch Contest, a contest that gives tech startups a chance to pitch their latest idea. BattleBrew Productions won for its latest game, Noodle SouperStar and also took home the first-runner up prize at the August 2020 Digital Big Indie Pitch for the same game.
The future of Singapore gaming is now
As eSports startups in Singapore are continuing to make waves and get investment attention, local game developers have a greater opportunity than ever to create on the world stage. The rise of online gaming in Singapore has led to an extremely lucrative market for those looking to get into the creation, development of communities, tournaments and mobile-style games. With large investments and original content, Singapore may just be where the next big thing in eSports is born.
The current pandemic has fueled this growth further as people have more time at home and are increasing their entertainment hours. Companies such as online shopping giants Lazada, are seeing massive increases in demand for gaming equipment with console sales rising by 200% in the first circuit breaker style lockdowns.
With Singapore now home to a trade body for eSports and the thriving digital gaming industry in the region, local game developers have more opportunity than ever to throw their hat into the ring. In 2019, there was a $7.3 million USD investment into the industry by RAZER CEO Min-Liang Tan to help build and grow the sector over the course of the following 12 months, with the end of initial investment ending around September 2020.
The impact of this funding and the eagerness of international Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors to get into this market, is likely to buoy it up, despite any economic repercussions from the COVID-19 pandemic.