Southeast Asia was expected to hit over 42 million in esports audiences. This showcases the continued growth of esports in the region and with it, brings a whole slew of roles that fit within the wider industry. These include content creators, esports marketers and many more.

Content creators are becoming the backbone of the esports ecosystem as they work with organizations to create and stream their gaming content. This has always been a huge part of the industry since the beginning, which creates an alternate avenue to attract more audiences and fuel the growing esports market. At the same time, digital marketers are leveraging the audience base to work with these content creators and organizations to promote games and non-endemic products to be featured within these content.

To find out more, we speak to Mitch Esguerra, Southeast Asia Operations CEO, Galaxy Racer to find out more about the growing industry and what it means for esports in Southeast Asia.

Galaxy Racer is one of the largest esports, content and lifestyle organizations and operates across the entire esports ecosystem. This includes esports management, content, marketing and more to either establish or grow esports industries.

What is your definition of esports? There has been a lot of conversation about what really encompasses esports, so can we put this to rest.

Other than the traditional definition of it being electronic sports, where it is a form of competition on multiplayer video games, we need to understand that esports is also a new class of spectator entertainment for the consumers which are the fans and audience. 

The entire esports ecosystem primarily encompasses the five main key stakeholders; the game publisher, tournament organizers, esports teams and organizations, both endemic and non-endemic advertising brands, and the gaming fans who are also your consumers.

The heart of the esports ecosystem is driven by gamers just like you and me. Competitive players and teams all start off as casual players that play together as a group of friends, game publishers develop games to attract a player base, and brands tap on esports as an advertising medium through tournament league sponsorships to reach out to the gamer fans who attend the event. On top of that, streaming platforms like Twitch, YouTube Gaming, and Facebook Gaming have provided monetary opportunities to attract numerous players and fans to create gaming content.

Although categorized as such, each component of the ecosystem comes together to create what we know now as esports. For example, competitive players that are part of a team might also be streamers who create gaming content for their fans during the off-season, and esports organizations that manage esports teams might also have a tournament organizer arm to execute esports community events.

Esports is definitely more complex than what it might seem to those that are not in the industry, but to put it simply, almost anything related to gaming has some relevance to esports. 

What does Galaxy Racer do? Maybe give us some insight into how the company impacts esports?

Galaxy Racer is the largest esports, content and lifestyle organization on the planet. We are the only organization to operate across the entire esports ecosystem, and how we are able to do so is by leveraging on market opportunities and building business pillars. 

Specific to Southeast Asia, Nigma Galaxy is our esports competitive team division which manages esports teams. For Galaxy Racer, we have a mix of gaming and lifestyle content creators across the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand, that hosts and organize esports tournaments and gaming events, produce esports and gaming-related shows, manufacture limited-edition merchandise reflecting our content creator’s personalities, and own a music record label that coordinates the production and distribution of music recordings and music videos of our content creators. Through these verticals, Galaxy Racer is able to create original content through in-house content creators, teams, leagues, and IPs. 

Through our content, we are consistently working towards bringing the gaming community from across the world together. We have recently hosted the GAMERS GALAXY: Dota 2 Invitational Series Dubai 2022 where we invited the top Dota 2 teams from around the world to pit their skills against one another. We will be bringing GAMERS GALAXY and other proprietary events into Southeast Asia and we hope to gather both international teams and fans at an on-ground esports tournament, to enjoy the atmosphere together once again. 

Galaxy Racer recently launched a women-focused esports initiative in North America called HER Galaxy, where we are looking to build a multi-platform women-only tournament series. Under HER Galaxy, we aim to empower women in the esports ecosystem by offering a safe platform for teams to grow through a series of tournaments and events and create an avenue for women to excel in what they do best. 

These are just some of the initiatives that Galaxy Racer has under our belt which we leverage to create a positive impact on the esports ecosystem. From a business perspective, what we do at the end of the day at Galaxy Racer is Content Marketing. The largest component of revenue for the esports and gaming industry comes from sponsorship followed by advertising and media rights. We create opportunities through our various verticals to bridge the whole esports ecosystem together, such as connecting game publishers and brands to consumers through our tournament leagues and content creators.

We are constantly innovating and looking for ways to create greater impact and we are excited about the plans we have for Southeast Asia. 

Galaxy racer esports competition
A Galaxy Racer esports competition stage setup. Image courtesy of Galaxy Racer

Southeast Asia’s esports industry has been growing for years, and there’s been some international success. What is next for the region’s esports industry?

We envision the next phase of the region’s esports industry to expand further into mobile-first esports tournaments. According to a report, 39% of gamers in Southeast Asia are mobile-first gamers. This is also unsurprising for the region as we become more digitally connected with improved mobile and network infrastructure. 

With the huge growth potential of mobile gaming, we can expect that there will be more upcoming mobile-first esports tournaments from various organizations and the appeal for mobile-first games is exponential. 

Which country, in your opinion, has the best infrastructure to build the next generation of esports stars?

Every country in Southeast Asia is well poised to be the esports and gaming hub of the world. Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines have their infrastructure and government support, albeit not at the same level as each other, all well underway in terms of development. Considering how infrastructures have rapidly improved over the years and how the Southeast Asian region sees the fastest revenue growth in the global esports industry, we can, however, expect most stars to come from this region. 

We believe that everyone can be an esports star especially as we progress into a mobile-first gaming industry and with most having access to mobile devices. With time and practice, leisure gamers can become competitive gamers. This is critical especially as we continue to grow with the industry and enable more gamers to explore their potential in esports.

We have to also note that there are particular strides happening in the Philippines that are unprecedented. Most global esports organizations look to establish their presence in the Philippines by picking up a Filipino esports roster as part of their expansion into Southeast Asia. At the same time, the Philippines has always been a test market for most game developers and we see more global game publishers launching their local offices there. Global tournament organizers, as well as other gaming verticals, are also making their mark in the Philippines at a hypergrowth pace. 

Are there still significant barriers to growth in Southeast Asia? What are they?

I believe the most important barrier we have across Southeast Asia to claim our immense growth potential is language. Despite being known as one SEA region, there are numerous languages spoken across different countries. Our countries differ from one another significantly due to the differences in cultural habits and consumer behavior. 

For example, in Thailand, it is common for Thai consumers to prefer content that is created in Thai. This poses a limitation as content created in English may not be able to reach a significant group of consumers. Language barriers have always been one thing holding superb talent within their local markets, and as Galaxy Racer, we are also cooking some potential solutions to this to help in boosting the region to greater heights.

What’s next for Galaxy Racer?

Galaxy Racer will be expanding further into Southeast Asia and we can expect this to happen at hypergrowth speed this year. As the planet’s largest esports and content organization, 2022 will be our year of hypergrowth. We are launching numerous content, events, and initiatives that we believe will pave the way for esports and gaming to get closer to their audiences, through the utilization of experiences that create lasting impressions for our fans to enjoy. 

As we have offices set up in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, we will be bringing GAMERS GALAXY to the region as the biggest and most experiential pop culture event Southeast Asia has ever seen. We are also very excited to work with potential brands through partnerships, sponsorships, and collaborations in these countries which will allow us to amplify our original content and support our content creators. 

All of the plans we have in the pipeline will be centered around our mission to build a holistic ecosystem, as we strive to build an identity carried by the hearts of many, driven with the sole purpose of delivering engaging experiences to ignite emotions of joy, pride, and passion.