Esports must definitely benefit from the world of acceleration, despite being in 2020, it is continuing to grow. Dr. Sarut Vanichpun, Director of Sea will be joining the conference to tell us how business models and marketers attract the eSports industry, gamers and audiences. Dr. Sarut joined Sea 3 years ago but before that he has been working in a tele company and has always keen his eyes on game and esports. And he’s also a big fan of gaming. Dr. Sarut started explaining the revolution of esports and gaming.
To look back 10 years ago, online gaming is just a pc game. And slowly, you will see the growth starting to change into a mobile game which is a device that everyone must have. Before being a mobile game, gaming was in a form of pc and control that you need to be able to afford to have one. But right now everyone can access it. That is definitely the turning point when we see the gaming industry starting to grow into a mass audience and population, not just a niche group of people anymore.
Fast internet also made a mega change in esports. First with the mobile, it is more individual. You can play the game alone. But right now is the trend of online gaming. You need an online community. You need to play the game with other people. The introduction of 4G and upcoming 5G is going to change the way people interact with each other on online platforms gaming. The game will be more engaging and people will see how fast and easy to download the content to access. It is definitely the new experience for game users.
Garena World 2019 is the example of how esports has grown so much over the years. 10 years ago nobody would believe that one day the world would have an Esport event where people gather to compete in online gaming and also over 200,000 attendees joining the event. It is something you can not imagine but it just happened last year in 2019 by Garena. And Dr. Sarut believes that it is the biggest esports event in SouthEast Asia. The event was for 2 days with the total engagement of 31 millions online views. We also have international competitions joined us as well. As seeing the esports trends shift over the past few years, not only the gamers themselve join the event but also the fans of the esports players and teams join the event. People were truly engaged with the content as they found it entertaining. So it is not just to play the game anymore. This has shown that gaming is starting to move into the mainstream. It’s a new entertainment platform that everyone can enjoy. It is following the direction of a real sport where you don’t have to technically play that sport but you can be a fan and enjoy watching the players play. This could bring a lot of sponsorship and partners to support the esports industry because they also want the same type of engagement that esports could provide.
Dr. Sarut gives an example of how the company brings new experience and collaboration to the audience. Free Fire is the garena development game which received a phenomenon success.
In 2019, Free Fire is the number one download in the gaming industry. And for the second quarter of this year during the lockdown of Covid-19, the number of game users peaked at over a hundred millions users. Free Fire has been a very huge success so it inspired us to always create new content of gaming to offer to the users. Later, garena made a global collaboration with Netflix series ‘Money Heist’. The Characters of the series are very unique, they are all wearing red jumpsuits. We took over the content from Money Heist and put the characters in the Free Fire game which people can create their own characters with costumes. So basically it is not just a game for the audience anymore. Garena brings the whole new experiences to offer to the users through the game platform which could lead to more engagement and a better satisfaction.
Dr. Sarut said that Sea has been working with a few universities with their Esports and Gaming program and plans to expand to more universities in the future. The purpose of the program is to develop their skill and invite them to come train with garena and Sea during the event for example of Garena World 2019. They will have them to learn and experience the real event. Sea not only wants to expand their projects to the university's students but the company also wants to educate high school students for the available career option for them. Garena Academy is a website providing information on career assessment which relates to your interest in order to find the skill you need to improve. They want to be the guide for high school students to choose the right career path they want. This is a very good way to educate outsiders as well that the gaming industry is not just being a gamer but it has plenty of opportunities and options for young generations to discover.
Despite the disruption of Covid-19 affecting various sectors, it seems like it is beneficial to the online gaming industry. Dr. Sarut has given the opinion that one of the reasons that garena rise during this time is that they know how to adapt to the situation. Especially when they have to cancel their Garena World 2020 because of social distancing policy. It is obvious that the majority of gamers are staying home ever since before the lock down. So they have more time to enjoy the game and content we have to offer which leads to our goal to be more creative on the content in order to gain more engagement in return. Including making them stay home more is our intention as well. However, pandemic has made Sea change their strategy in terms of organizing their offline event. Because at the end of the day, gathering people to engage for an online gaming experience live is better than experience online individually. This is an opportunity to improve our ability in creating more creative game content. And we also want to develop our hybrid event which makes people be more engaged and participate with the online platform. For the future and the trend of esports for the rest of 2020 and 2021, Dr. Sarut believes that he only sees people are more and more engaging with the industry both at individual level and business. The business levels can take esports as an opportunity to expand their business and attract the targets. And for those who want to participate in esports, they can learn from a lot of professionals who now make gaming a career. Furthermore, Dr. Sarut would love to see more support from the government in the gaming industry in the future. It will push up the growth of the digital economy. As online gaming is a platform that gathers lots and lots of people together, they will lead to more creative opportunities in making something new and stay relevant to your customers.
This is just a sampling of the great content you’ll find at the Techsauce Global Summit 2020. Check out all the sessions here http://summit.techsauce.co.