Esports now a medal event at 2019 SEA Games

Gelo Gonzales

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Esports now a medal event at 2019 SEA Games
It’s the first time for esports to be a medal event in sporting events under the International Olympic Committee

MANILA, Philippines – Esports will be a medal event at the 30th SEA Games in 2019, announced Limeng Lee, chief strategy officer from gaming computer and accessory maker Razer at an event on Wednesday, November 28. 

Razer is the official esports partner of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC), and is among those who led the bid to bring esports to the 2019 games. They will be involved in aspects such as marketing events, sponsorships, and choosing the games that will appeal to the SEA community. 

Only one game has been confirmed so far: Mobile Legends Bang Bang from Chinese publisher Moonton. A total of 6 games will be included, comprised of two mobile games, two PC games, and two console games, with esports ad hoc committee member Alvin Juban noting that they want all platforms to be represented. 

The games will be chosen and announced “one or two months” from now, added Juban. 

The chosen games will have to conform to the values of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and “should not promote the culture of violence and gambling,” according to the executive chairman of the SEA Games Federation committee, Celso Dayrit. 

Esport athletes will be chosen via qualifying tournaments, said Juban. There will be no direct invites for established esport athletes, and qualifiers will be open to both amateurs and pros. They will make the “best damned Filipino esports team that will compete against other SEA nations,” promised Joebert Yu, another member of the esports ad hoc committee under the PHISGOC. 

The venue for the esport games is still being decided upon, with New Clark City or Metro Manila being top choices. 

One goal for the addition of esports in the SEA Games is to make these games the most viewed in the regional athletic meet’s history, said Alan Peter Cayetano, chairman of PHISGOC.  

Prior, esports had been included in the 2018 Asian Games but only as a demonstration sport. It’s the first time for it to be a medal event in sporting events under the IOC. – 

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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.