Would you believe if I say that you can be a millionaire by playing games? Yes, it is true. To be specific, anyone can become a millionaire by playing E-sports games. Most people think E-sports industry is just sucking money from people who play games. It is not wrong but not totally true either. There are gamers who make million dollar income from playing games.
Most people around the world, including those from Myanmar, play video games with small amonts of money. Ever since internet was available in the country, E-sports was already available in places like internet cafés where PC games could be be played by general public. The charges started from 300 Kyats to more than 1,000 Kyats per hour. E-sports is not a new concept to Myanmar.
Journey of E-sports
E-sports started its journey as a small entertaining business with games like “DOTA” and “Counter Strike” in Myanmar. But globally, it started much earlier since when the video game was invented. People play physical games, again and again, are getting bored, and look for excitement, and technology fulfils their needs as it can offer them battlefield and galatic travel experience etc in virtual space.
Until a few years ago in Myanmar, gamers had to go to internet café to play games. Gradually, the number of players increased and most of the internet cafes became E-sports centres. Now, with the mobile and internet penetration, mobile games like Mobile Legends, Clash of Clans (COC), and Player Unknown Battle Ground (PUBG) are hugely popular in the country. PUBG can be played on both PC and Mobile Phones while the others can be played only on PCs. These mobile games have become the most played games among young people. Since there are millions of Gamers (players) around the world, new concepts and practices such as Streamers, Broadcasters, Items trading, Account selling and Game Tournaments have emerged and gradually become norms in the industry. These practices enable smart players to make money.
The Game Tournaments
E-sports has been there over five decades and its very first video game tournament was “Spacewar” hosted at Stanford University in the United States in 1972. Throughout the years, game tournaments were getting bigger and now many of them are being hosted around the world. The International tournament prize money for the winners are as high as US$10 million. But weaker teams lack financial stability and usually break up after failing. In 2015, the global Esports industry generated around US$748.8 million in revenue.
The International (TI) is an annual Dota 2 E-sports tournament which is hosted by Valve Corporation, the game’s developer. The tournament is like the FIFA World Cup of DOTA 2. It consists of 18 teams, and a year-long tournament series known as the Dota Pro Circuit. The prize pool is crowdfunded by players of the game via the “Compendium” which is a battle pass system in the game that was introduced on 2013. Winners receive the largest percentage of the prize pool, as well as the Aegis of Champions trophy, with their names engraved on the back. To ensure that enough players would take up Dota 2 and to promote the game to a new audience, Valve invited sixteen accomplished DotA esports teams to compete at a Dota 2 tournament at Gamescom in August 2011, which later became The International. Each of The International has since surpassed the previous one’s prize pool in succession.
Tournaments in Myanmar
Myanmar is also hosting a number of local tournaments. The prizes of some of them can attract a lot of players. Galaxy Challenge Samsung 2019 PUBG Tournament announced that the winners would receive 10 Million Kyats. Another tournament was the HOGCon 2018 which was hosted by HOG e-sports centre, who partnered with Ooredoo Myanmar with a prize pool of nearly 10 Million Kyats.
Alok Verma, Chief Commercial Officer of Ooredoo Myanmar said, “We are proud to partner with HOG in promoting, developing and growing esports in Myanmar.
Competitions like HOGCon 2018 bring the best in esports talent in Myanmar together to display their skill and expertise. It is our endeavour to develop the industry in Myanmar and help youth to represent the country at international competitions.
At Ooredoo Myanmar, we remain committed to a digital Myanmar and supporting youth to achieve their dreams.” So Pyae Aung, co-founder of HOG e-sports center, also said, “We are very pleased to gather very talented gamers from different parts of the country, and our mission is to bring these talented gamers to world’s stage e-sport competitions to represent Myanmar in the future because gaming can be more than an entertainment but an occupation for Myanmar youths.”
Five Celebrities Who Invested in the E-Sports Industry
Since the E-Sports industry is developing faster than expected, it draws a lot of investments from different types of investors and that include some celebrities.
Mike Tyson, World Heavy Weight Champion, has invested in Fade 2 Karma, an E-Sports team of Hearthstone. He invested in Gaming Building which would be built in California, U.S. According to ESPN News, the building is named as “The Ranch House” and will include private live streaming rooms, tournament areas, party areas, and production studios.
Drake, a famous rapper, is well-known among gamers since a streamer called “Ninja” plays his song “In My Feelings” while he is streaming. Drake also invested in E-Sports industry, and according to Forbes Magazine, he has co-ownership to “100 Thieves,” a gaming clothing brand. The founder of 100 Thieves is Matt Nadeshot Hagg, an ex-player of Call of Duty. After Drake joined 100 Thieves, the company improved a lot, and made contracts with new players and sponsored to some E-Sports Team.
Michael Jordan, a legend of NBA basketball, also invested in E-Sports. Last year, his investment company, Charlotte Hornets, made $26 Million investment in aXiomatic Gaming. “aXiomatic Gaming” is the owner of Team Liquid, winner of 2017 The International (TI7). According to Forbes Magazine, Team Liquid is worth more than $ 200 Million.
Shaquille O’Neal, a famous ex-player of NBA Basketball, invested in Team RNG which plays “League of Legends.” So the co-founder and the chairman of Team RNG were able to have the co-ownership of an NBA team, “Sacramento Kings.”
Ashton Kutcher, a Hollywood star who starred in “No Strings Attached” and “Texas Rangers” films, also invested in E-Sports. The company he invested is a betting and entertainment company, “Unikrn.”
Gaming as a Job
It was impossible to say gaming as a job ten years ago. But now players can make big earnings depending on their skills in playing games. Now Facebook has a tab named Facebook Gaming. In that tab, players can stream how they play, broadcasters can broadcast the games and matches, and viewers can donate money to the streamers and broadcasters through the stars that Facebook Created. In that way, players can also make money.