Monday, May 23

Organiser: Upcoming expo to set benchmark for Sarawak esports

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Afiq Fadhli Narawi

KUCHING: Local esports enthusiasts should mark Jan 25 to 27 on their calendars this year, because it is when the city will host the first-ever ‘Sarawak Esports Expo’.

Organised by Sarawak Esports Association (Sesa), the event at CityONE Megamall here will highlight the theme ‘Feel the Experience and Knowledge’.

Its key objectives are to promote esports in Sarawak, and also to raise awareness of the games to both the government and the public, says Sesa president Afiq Fadhli Narawi.

Moreover, he believes that the expo would also set the benchmark in Sarawak as far as esports are concerned.

“Esports is not just about gaming – there is value behind it. This area can be a career by becoming a professional gamer or a game app (application) developer; it can also generate income in the tourism sector should we get to host an international (esports) event here where all gamers, domestic and overseas, would come and participate,” he told The Borneo Post recently.

For Sarawak Esports Expo 2019, Afiq said Sesa has invited a speaker from AirAsia, Alan Phang – known widely as the founder of esports in AirAsia and also the one leading the Malaysian esports.

He said Phang has been using esports as the branding platform.

“It’s a new platform to do branding. Nowadays, you hardly see many youngsters read newspapers – they are more into playing games. These youngsters can see this (esports) as a channel to obtain information,” said Afiq.

It is learnt that Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah would officiate at the opening ceremony of the expo.

On esports in Sarawak, Afiq said the ecosystem currently houses many players.

“For now, we are looking at the statistics from the mobile element between March and December of 2018 – there are about 300 participants, based on the ‘Mobile Legends’ (an esports platform using mobile phones) tournament covering Kuching, Samarahan, Bintulu, Miri, Sri Aman and even Brunei. This figure, however, does not include gamers who use personal computers or game consoles.

“Another avenue where you can see the statistics of Sarawak esports, which is on the rise, is our Facebook page (Sarawak Esports Association) which features events and teaser videos.

“We have gained around 13,000 viewers, mostly young people – (based on) statistics between Nov 9 and Dec 9 of 2018. We have also registered 56, 500 people who read the event posts,” he said.

Sesa, which is endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports, has 12 executive committee members.

It was officially registered on April 17 last year.

On the activities during the upcoming expo at CityONE Megamall, Afiq said the programme line-up would include PC gaming tournaments, ‘VR Experience’, PS4 (Fifa and fight games), streaming-casting activities, as well as a forum/dialogue on esports.