eSports in Asia has mostly existed in a vacuum with foreigners not readily allowed in, but things have been changing. Of course, there have been touching points.
eSports in Asia – The New Horizon
Big tournaments in numerous games, such as League of Legends and Dota 2 reveal how skilled Asian players actually are, and that makes Westerners even more curious about what makes players from that region play so vastly different, and often superior to their peers in the West.
Asia has often been called a new horizon for esports and growth in the region has been tangible. There is a myriad of reasons for this. The availability of gaming devices and people willing to participate in gaming are certainly important factors.
Increased investment in esports overall has also been a boon to these markets. Additionally, Asian populations are bigger and more densely populated than Western countries, you can see how this constant churn of gamers generates many talented players and unique, unseen strategies.
In Southeast Asia, for example, 82% of the urban online population is gamers. They play on mobile (80%), on PC (69%), and on console (57%). There is a good chance that at least 50% of all gamers in Southeast Asia in the country use all available platforms to game.
What Are the eSports Hotbeds in Asia?
There are many markets today that are definitely considered “hotbeds” for esports in the region. We have identified three main ones around which all the action gravitates, although other countries are naturally catching up. Those are:
- South Korea
China has been a true leader in esports. The country has produced some of the best Dota 2 teams and it has a strong tradition in mobile gaming, such as Honor of Kings.
There are millions of fans. In China alone, there must be around 450 million esports fans and they definitely have a lot of pull with video gaming companies, tournament organizers, and investors.
Speaking of hubs, you cannot ignore South Korea. It’s because of South Korea we have competitive video gaming today.
The culture of gaming is rooted in South Korean social norms, and players come together in online cafes known as “bangs” to play together after school or during weekends.
It’s not just that though. South Korea created esports. Back in the 1990s, a few TV stations made a bet that they can televise video gaming and get a decent viewership, and, to their surprise, they did.
People were keen to watch highly-skilled players compete on the small screen and that galvanized many other players into trying even harder. Players quickly started training and many made a career out of it.
Malaysia is an important hotbed for esports in Southeast Asia. The country is home to some excellent competitive formats, including PUBG and Mobile Legends.
Not only that, but Riot Games have been pushing ahead with both Wild Rift and a mobile version of Valorant in the region, hoping to make the experiences even more worthwhile.
eSports in India and the Asian Connection
With the proximity of other countries in Southeast and Eastern Asia, esports in India has picked up quite quickly.
India has many talented players who are competing for some of the biggest esports organizations worldwide these days and they are all accomplished players in top games.
- Dota 2
Tirth Mehta is one of the best Hearthstone players in the world, for example, and he has won praise and admiration from many other top Hearthstone players.
In fact, esports in India is thriving thanks to players such as Mehta who have taken up the profession of video gaming quite seriously and are very happy to show the world what they can do.
Understandably, because of India’s rapidly developing esports scene, Asia is also seeing more countries with esports growth. Until the 2010s video gaming competitions were dominated by Western nationals.
That was mostly because Westerns used to have more gaming platforms, but the scales are now equal.
The Future of eSports Asia?
In the future, Asia will shape up as an even more important esports market. It’s not just gamers who stand to benefit. Sponsors are keen on making the most out of their participation in the Asian esports market.
Big companies are keen to capitalize on the hundreds of millions of players who are tuning in to watch.
Activision Blizzard and Riot Games are competing for more markets in the region; so are big sponsors, such as food and beverages companies and others. eSports in Asia is booming and the time to appreciate it is now!
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