e-Sports has experienced an explosion in popularity in the past few years. This has created some viable careers. Today, e-sports is no longer just a career path; it is already here to stay, powered by a very young fanbase that is backed by some of the biggest names in today’s business world.
A viable career choice worth considering
Electronic Sports (e-Sports) has been a long-established industry since the 1990s and was first started in South Korea. Though the first video game competition was held in 1972 California, e-Sports became an eminent industry with the arrival of the 21st century.
Largely attributed to the advancement of technology, broadband internet services and live streaming capabilities, e-Sports developed into an economic industry with the emergence of professional players who were paid to play video games.
FVPEsports club co-founder, Syazwan Heikle Bakry, said that the global development of the industry is also fast becoming prominent in Malaysia, especially in Sarawak. “e-Sports has reached the shores of Sarawak when the game ‘PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ (PUBG) was released in 2016. And today, our local players are progressing well in the industry compared to previous years.”
According to Syazwan, who also doubles as the club’s coach, the development of the e-gaming industry locally has seen a strong increase in terms of games such as PUBG, Fifa and Pro Evolution Soccer (PES). “After FVPEsports took over the development of gamers in Sarawak, we could see vast improvement among the local players. Under our club, there was even a player who represented the country at the international arena for Fifa.”
Endorsed by Sarawak e-Sports Association (Sesa), the gaming club was established in 2019 to train local players into becoming professional players. “Those with potentials will be given the chance to represent the state and the country for tournaments,” assured Syazwan.
He added that under FVP, there are many talented players honing their craft in the industry.
Especially in games such as PUBG, Mobile Legends and PES, I can see promising talents within the young generations to participate in the upcoming Sukan Malaysia (Sukma) competition.” Currently, there are a total of 18 professional players to who are signed to FVPEsports.
Though the e-Sports industry had gained a steady foothold in Sarawak, many parents are still skeptical about its future. As parents hope for the brightest future for their children, many still have doubts about the future of e-Sports as a career choice.
As a gamer himself, Syazwan could understand the woes felt by most parents. “Of course, many would hope their children land a money-making job. However, these days it is hard to say that a career in gaming could not make money. But this notion is normal. Many parents had approached me with such worries,” he said.
For most parents, if their children are weak in studies, they would often encourage them to go for sports. Understanding this, Syazwan disclosed that student players under FVP are usually given a schedule to follow through.
“When we sign a contract with young players, their parents would usually sign too. At the end of the day, we still value their parents’ opinions when nurturing young players,” he said.
According to him, FVP would set up a schedule for young players to follow, “Our student gamers will have specific times to study, and train. The coaches would monitor their online progress and ensure that there is a balance between the two,” added Syazwan.
Contracted players under the club would also receive monthly allowances, and insurance cover.
While becoming a gamer sounds easy, Syazwan disagreed. To qualify as a professional gamer that earns a monthly income, Syazwan said one has to have achievements. “Such achievements are defined as when a player reaches the national and international arena.”
According to the professional player, a contract gamer can earn a basic income of RM1,500. “And that is not their only income. Gamers can increase their earnings through tournaments and competitions where the standard prize money can be between a few hundred up to thousands of ringgit,” he shared.
Besides that, gamers also earn through live streaming on popular platforms. To reach a wider network of audience, platforms such as Facebook Gaming, NimoTV and YouTube Gaming pay good money for creators to share their content on the platform exclusively, and gamers often stream their game sessions live.
Taking Facebook as a streaming platform example, Syazwan revealed that for every accumulated total of 15,000 gaming stars a gamer received from their viewers, the platform would pay them RM3,000 per month.
“Another way that streamers can earn through the platform is when viewers share and like their video. For every like and share, the gamer receives RM1 each. However, the requirements for streaming are to stream at least four hours a day and have 100 followers on their page, before the gamers can be declared a streamer or partner,” said Syazwan.
Apart from earning, gamers would also learn numerous, useful skills. Elaborating further, Syazwan said such skills include map reading, tactical skills, individual skills, team skills, strategic planning skills and many others.
For retired players or players who are unable to continue playing, Syazwan said their careers do not stop. “With experience gathered throughout their time as professional players, they can opt to be a manager for their team. It does not mean that when you stop playing, your career would end as well. There are many available positions that you can apply your experience to such as being a manager, a coach, tactical analyst, and many more.”
Industry of the century
Once known as a leisure time or just a hobby, gaming has gone a long way since its first introduction. With advanced technologies, gaming in general has revolutionised the global market with a plethora of profitable opportunities.
Syazwan recalled his first time playing Fifa 18, a version released in 2017. Having been a football and futsal player himself, he felt a strong interest in playing the game via a gaming console. Now a professional gamer, he felt that his time playing games had been worthwhile as the exposure had introduced him to different opportunities.
Most recently, Syazwan represented Malaysia in the SEA Nations Cup 2021, competing against players from Singapore, Indonesia, Brunei, Myanmar Vietnam and others. He emerged as the champion, and continued his journey into the Asian Games, beating players from countries such as Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
As the co-founder, Syazwan alongside his peers at FVPEsports have set their target to nurture young talents and turn them into professional gamers. Seeing a bright future ahead for the e-Sports industry, the Sarawak government had also shown support for the industry by organising championships, supporting development programmes and other initiatives.
“We would like to thank the Sarawak government for their tremendous support, and the federal government for recognising e-Sports as part of the upcoming Sukma, as well as Sesa for their constant support,” said Syazwan.
Among the games that will be contested in the next SUKMA would be Dota 2, Mobile Legends and PES.