The Rise of Philippine eSports

Video Games have always been looked at either as a hobby or a way to spend time and not something a person can do professionally. If you told people years ago that you can earn money or get medals for your country by playing video games, most people will think you're crazy and just laugh at you. But today, gaming has transcended from being just a hobby into something more: eSports.

eSports in general has become one of the biggest industry around the globe and with the amount of talented gamers Philippines has, we may just become one of the best gaming country in the world. There's a reason why computer shops is one of the most popular form of business in our country and I'm willing to wager that you have been on one already. It's because Filipinos love and enjoy playing video games. And we don't just love it. We are good at it. And with the popularity of eSports in our country today, opportunities for talented gamers are more accessible than ever, breeding a new generation of athletes.

When it was announced that eSports will now become a medal sport and will be included in the 2019 SEA Games which will be held in our country, people were excited. Last Monday, Sibol Esports, our country's representative for the eSports events for the 2019 SEA Games, took gold medals against their SEA adversaries in the tests events in every game category: Dota2, Tekken and Mobile Legends. Giving us a hint of what to expect on December when the true games start. With the introduction of eSports as a medal sport, there will be more opportunities for players to showcase their talent and represent our country in international tournaments like SEA Games to rake in those gold medals and bring home glory.

On the international stage the Philippines eSports scene is also making noise right now. TNC, a Philippine Dota2 team, recently took home the first place in Electronic Sports League (ESL) which was held on Hamburg, Germany and along with it a prize of $125,000 and one of it's members was also named MVP and as a reward, got a brand new car. TNC also won the finals of World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) South East Asia Finals and will defend their title as champions in WESG Global Finals which will be held on March of 2020. Last year in the WESG Global Finals when TNC won, they pocketed a prize of $890,000. As evident already, eSports has no shortage on prizes and the rewards on future tournaments will surely rise.

Even mobile games are generating friction in our country. Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League - Philippines (MPL) is already on it's fourth season, and it doesn't show signs of slowing down. The last season of MPL had a prize pool of $100,000 - roughly 5,000,000 PHP.

The Philippine gaming scene is now on the rise more than ever and people who love playing and are talented in video games now have opportunities and more avenues to take it as a form of a job, but like every other sports, dedication and lots of practice is must to be successful in the eSports scene.