alberguesahagun.com – Since the burst of enthusiasm in the Philippines Local Area Network (LAN) gaming centers in the late 1990s, the number of active gamers has not shown any signs of slowing down; the country has recorded a constant growth of 12.0% per year since 2017, reaching 43 million users today.
Moreover, users are spreading across game genre such as Mobile Legends–as the leader of the esports industry in the nation, PlayerUnknown’s Underground (PUBG)–as the country’s most-played battle royale, and fighting games like Tekken 7, DOTA 2, and League of Legends (LoL) to name a few.
In the case of the Philippine esports market, Mobile Legends takes the top position in the gaming industry.
The Shanghai-based game publisher Moonton Technology has succeeded in attracting thousands of people to watch their favorite teams compete for the winner of the Season 4 Finals of the Mobile Legends Professional League (MPL) held in Manila’s SMX Convention Center in October 2019.
The league’s grand prize reached over USD 25,000 and was streamed by over 40,000 people through Facebook Live.
According to YCP Solidiance’s recent publication, “The Next Level: The Rise of Esports in the Philippines” since Mobile Legends’ introduction in 2016, the Philippines has grown to become the second-largest market, reaching 2.65 million active users daily from the Google Play Store and growing at a CAGR of 8.78% over the past five months.
The Untouched Goldmine
However, unlike Mobile Legends, other esports companies in the Philippines have struggled to generate long-term, mainstream success in the professional realm.
The country’s esports industry has yet to prove the consistency and lifespan of video games as a professional feature.
Esports titles have always held negative connotations, as Filipinos still mainly identify video gaming as a hobby or an addictive activity.
Gamers must proceed with caution to not underperform in their professional work or education while indulging in esports.
Reflecting from the Global Philippine Esports Industry
However, the global esports industry has proven its ability to convert viewership numbers into investments that produce tangible returns for its stakeholders.
Hundreds of esports organizations worldwide are chipping in the industry early, hoping to capture great talents around them.
Among its investors are Mastercard, Coca-Cola, BMW, and Nike, who have been esports sponsors in the league’s activities in the past years.
According to Newzoo, esports global revenues could have reached an estimated USD 1.1 billion in 2020, with USD 822.4 million of it coming from brand investments in the form of media rights, advertising, and sponsorships. However, the industry’s milestone was tethered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, even with the COVID-19 pandemic severing various industries globally, the esports sector has logged a -0.8% decrease from its projection of USD 1.1 billion to USD 950.3 million.
The rate was relatively insignificant compared to many other industries that have severely experienced a stalemate due to the global pandemic.
In addition, Goldman Sachs has reported a positive outlook for the worldwide esports industry of over USD 2.92 billion worth of revenues by 2022.
Esports is no longer just an online phenomenon or a niche interest but a legitimate, growing sporting industry with many investors, sponsors, and advertisers. It is a global ecosystem filled with tens of thousands of professionals.
It is up to the Philippines esports ecosystem to awaken its potential as the esports industry leader or wait until it loses its competitive advantage as countries all over the world start to pique their interest towards the professional realm of the industry.