The Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list is pushing for the national government’s support in developing the gaming and esports industry in the Philippines, noting the massive number of active players in the country and their history of enthusiasm towards video games since the last decade.
“They may not be known or as talked about as athletes in the Olympics and other physical sporting tournaments, but Filipino players have, for years, already been competing to be the best in the various tournaments in the esports world. In fact, some of our local gaming organizations are already globally recognized,” PBA Party-list and spokesperson Atty. Migs Nograles said.
Esports was introduced as a medal event for the first time in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, which the Philippines hosted.
Nograles noted that a white paper published by Asia-focused management consulting firm YCP Solidiance, “The Next Level: The Rise of Esports in the Philippines,” states that the esports industry in the Philippines currently has over 43 million active gamers, a number that has annually grown steadily by 12.9% since 2017. YCP Solidiance attributes the growth to increasing accessibility of smartphones and mobile internet.
“Despite this growth, the very limited number of legislation on esports and its development is glaring. This lack of support is particularly concerning given that the white paper has noted that game publishers have struggled to generate long-term and sustainable success in professional esports leagues despite the country’s sizable gaming community,” she said.
“We plan to remedy this in the next Congress by filing bills that we will be crafting in partnership with the stakeholders. We intend to conduct a thorough dialogue with the different stakeholders in order to craft legislation that can maximize the potential of the esports industry.
In the meantime, Nograles said the PBA Party-list is urging the national government to capitalize on the country’s tremendous enthusiasm towards online gaming and issue executive orders that will boost the establishment of a sustainable esports ecosystem in the Philippines.
“The esports industry is just beginning to flourish. Government support would help create a roadmap that will ensure the viability of the industry and address the challenges it will encounter,” the Davaoeña lawyer said.
Filipino players have, for years, already been competing to be the best in the various tournaments in the esports world.
According to YCP Solidiance’s white paper, the cost to create an esports professional ecosystem would need more than monetary investment to achieve sustainable growth.
“In terms of capital investments, league organizers would need to pay each of their players a salary of an average of $410 annually for pros in the championship series. In addition, they would also typically need to invest in large gaming houses to serve as lodging for players and training grounds supported by coaching staff and a village of supporting teams to ensure its players’ wellbeing,” the paper stated.
Esports was introduced as a medal event for the first time in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games, which the Philippines hosted. A Collegiate Center for Esports has also been established, with several schools are already in the middle of putting together esports teams in anticipation of the regular season.