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Esports Is (Finally) an Official Medal Sport for the 2019 SEA Games

In a press conference held by the Philippines Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (PhilSGOC) in Pasay City on Wednesday, it was announced that with a partnership between the Philippines Olympic Committee and gaming hardware giant Razer, esports will be a part of the 2019 SEA Games officially as a full-fledged medal sport.

With six gold medals to be won across a series of different titles over three platforms (two titles for consoles, mobile and PC each), there is no doubt that esports is an integral part of the upcoming 2019 SEA Games. So far, the only title confirmed is the mobile multiplayer online battle arena published by Moonton – Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.

In a press release from Razer, Razer CEO and co-founder Min-Liang Tan has over the past year “led the rally to elevate esports to a recognised medal event at SEA Games 2019.” to reach that goal, Razer sent delegations which met with the Philippines Southeast Asian Games Organising Committee on multiple occasions to reach that goal. Coupled with a recent meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when he was in Singapore for the 33rd ASEAN Summit, Razer and their CEO has shown their commitment to their self-proclaimed quest to “boost the global status of esports”.

Esports was last featured in the Jakarta Asian Games 2018 as a demonstration sport, so its inclusion as a medal sport in the SEA Games 2019 is a huge step forward for esports.

The biennially held SEA Games will see its 30th iteration held in the Philippines across various venues between 30 November and 11 December 2019. Eleven Southeast Asian nations will participate: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.

Asia has seen massive growth in the esports market, with PC and mobile games revenues hitting USD 2.2b in 2017 and set to double by 2021. With major backing by tech giants like Alibaba’s Alisports, along with massive and widespread popularity as a spectator sport, the Paris 2024 Olympics might just see esports included as an exhibition event.

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