Dota 2. Ultra Street Fighter. CS:GO. FIFA16. If you can relate to these, congratulations. Welcome to the world of gaming and e-sports. Angry Birds. Fallout Shelter. Crossy Road. Heard of them? Congratulations, you’re also a gamer. Casual or hardcore, gaming isn’t anything new. Did you know Malaysia has 15 million gamers? So, we technically have 15 million potential e-sports athletes.
Over the weekend, I attended Malaysia’s first ever national gaming festival – Malaysia Cyber Games (MCG) – fully supported by the Ministry of Communication and Media (KKMM). MCG is the platform for youths to hone their gaming skills and showcase their talent.
The team with fangs
The first step to developing local talent is the set-up of the official Taring e-sports team, specially tailored for Dota 2. Team Taring will be the national representative to all Dota 2 competitions.
The national e-sports team will be granted financial backing to groom and develop their skills in order to compete with the best of the world.
Malaysia’s first national e-playground
Held at the Stadium Negara over three days, MCG was officiated by none other than our Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Organised by Suara Anak Muda 1Malaysia and Tune Advertising, the inaugural gaming event is backed by Kementerian Komunikasi dan Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM), Kementerian Belia & Sukan (KBS), MDEC, MCMC, TM and Astro.
While teams slugged it out on the battlefront, visitors also had the opportunity to check out partner booths at the event. MDEC, MCMC and others had product showcases and demos running.
Driving the games industry with MDEC
Talking about MDEC, the organization is on a game-changing mission to spur the creative content landscape in Malaysia, especially in the gaming industry. It recently partnered Google to kick-off a ‘Made For YouTube’ program to grow Malaysia’s talent pool in content creation.
Seeing that the creative content industry is estimated to be worth MYR7 billion, the market is poised for growth.
MDEC also recently hosted Level UP KL 2015, one of Southeast Asia’s premier gaming conferences in Kuala Lumpur. The conference is one of the first steps to build a world-class gaming ecosystem in Malaysia.
In March this year, MDEC also partnered Gamefounders, the first gaming startup accelerator in Europe – to help raise the bar of the Malaysian game ecosystem.
The search for Taring
It was no surprise though, that the main draw of MCG was Dota 2. In the quest to find the best Dota 2 team in Malaysia, 64 five-man teams battled it out over three days. Based on a group stage round-robin and subsequent playoff rounds, there were also Sabah and Sarawak; Peninsula Malaysia qualifiers in the previous month.
The Grand Finals held at Stadium Negara got the crowd cheering, where Team SatuDuaTiga faced-off with Who2bet. Team SatuDuaTiga eventually took the throne, raking in MYR125,000 in prize money and becoming the first-ever MCG Dota 2 national champions. All five members of the winning team will be rolled into Team Taring.
Apart from the main Dota 2 tournament, there were also FIFA16, Ultra Street Fighter, CS:GO tournaments with prize money totalling MYR100,000.
The future of Malaysian e-sports
In January this year, e-sports received the official recognition and support of the Government, operating under the Sports Commission of Malaysia as Esports Malaysia (eSM). The move is a baby step towards global acceptance of e-sports as a ‘real sport.’
The just-concluded Malaysia Cyber Games is a crucial subsequent step to give e-sports the recognition and encouragement it needs to grow. Let’s hope Team Taring will show the Government’s endeavour into the sport doesn’t go in vain, and make us proud in the global arena.