When you think “esports” and “Southeast Asia”, you think The Philippines, Vietnam, and even Malaysia. Singapore? Well, apart from names like Xian, SCOGA and Resurgence, not so much. In fact, no Singaporean esports team has appeared during the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, arguably one of the biggest Southeast Asian esports events of last year.
Which is why the latter name is taking great pains and putting a huge amount of effort to make esports great again on the little red dot. According to a Straits Times interview featuring Singapore team Resurgence, the team founder and CEO Jayf “Babel” Soh said that it’s because of the lack of support. Specifically, the discipline and funds to support teams. In a country known for being risk-averse and having a different cultural mindset than other SEA countries in something esoteric like competitive gaming, it’s understandable.
To put his money where his mouth is, the two year-old team will invest broadly in the country’s esports scene via running 12 teams that will be playing 9 games which includes Hearthstone, League of Legends, Dota 2, Fortnite, Arena of Valor, and Mobile Legends.
Costly? Yes, so here’s a quote regarding his rationale:
“When I was starting [Resurgence], people asked me why I wanted to be based in Singapore, with its small market and high costs. And yes, if Resurgence was a full-fledged business, it’d have made sense to go for emerging markets in the region. But I’m a Singaporean, my heart is here, and I wanted to help plug the gaps in Singapore [esports]. The most obvious gap then and now is the support for players.”
“We’re giving players basic support. We manage them on tight training routines, give them a place to train and structured contracts with incentive clauses. The money is not enough to be called a salary, but it’s enough so that they don’t have to worry about working part-time to support themselves.”
According to Jayf, Resurgence is the only one doing this in Singapore and also wishes that other organisations step up and support promising local players. And so far, it’s paying off: the team has 17 championship wins and 36 podium finishes last year.
Things are indeed looking up for Singapore esports; they might even show up in future Olympic-level esports events.
Top image credit: Resurgence