Razer to set aside $10 million over the next year for local e-sports and gaming scene

SINGAPORE (The Straits Times/ANN) - The sum is the largest amount that Razer has ever committed to developing e-sports

 In a win for video gamers in the Republic, home-grown gaming hardware firm Razer announced that it will be committing $10 million to e-sports and gaming activities here over the next year.

In a Facebook post on Monday (Sept 9), the firm's co-founder and chief executive Tan Min-Liang said that the money will go towards supporting local e-sports teams and as investments in gaming or e-sports companies in Singapore or those founded by Singaporeans.

He added that the sum includes funding for Team Singapore, which Razer is supporting in the SEA Games in the Philippines.

The event, due to start on Nov 10, will for the first time, feature video games as a medalled sport. Razer is the official e-sports partner for the SEA Games this year.

Said Mr Tan: "We are one of the largest e-sports brands in the world, and personally as a Singaporean, I'm looking forward to giving back and doing more for my country."

The sum is the largest amount that Razer has ever committed to developing e-sports.

Last year, in a move to spearhead the growth of e-sports in the region, the company announced that RM10 million (S$3.3 million) would be set aside for e-sports in Malaysia.

E-sports refers to competitive video gaming, which sees players battling one another, usually in teams, in video games like League Of Legends, Dota 2 and Fortnite.

The field has its own leagues and celebrity athletes, all of whom contribute to a lucrative competitive gaming scene.

E-sports is widely seen as one of the fastest-growing industries worldwide.

Market research firm Newzoo said in a report earlier this year that global e-sports revenue will hit US$1.1 billion (S$1.51 billion) this year - a 27 per cent increase from last year.

It added that the economic potential for e-sports is huge in South-east Asia, the industry's fastest-growing region, and said that e-sports currently has more than 9.5 million enthusiasts in the region.

This number, Newzoo said, is expected to double by this year.

Singapore has been levelling up its efforts to woo e-sports and gaming events here and grow the local scene.

The Republic will host the first Asian edition of the world's largest gaming festival, gamescom, on Oct 15 next year - a move that will attract people from around the world.

Besides e-sports events, the festival also showcases emerging technologies in video games, as well as gaming workshops and meet-and-greet sessions.

The Straits Times had reported that the Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre is branding itself as the preferred e-sports and gaming destination here by being the first exhibition space to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In Parliament last week, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said Singapore has several financial and non-financial measures in place to support start-ups and companies in the nascent video gaming and e-sports industries.

They include programmes to build a robust talent pipeline for the video games industry.

He noted that the two industries generated more than US$140 billion globally in 2018, with almost half coming from the Asia-Pacific region.

In 2017, the development and distribution of video games contributed $1.95 billion to the Singapore economy.