Brunei needs gaming association for local e-sports scene to flourish

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A gamer competes in a qualifier match at BEST 2017. Image: Haadi Bakar

Waqiuddin Rajak
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Brunei must have an e-sports regulatory body if it wants to further capitalise on the popularity of competitive gaming in the region, said a local esports event manager.

BruGames founder Hawaii Yee said as more attention has been given to the local e-sports scene in recent times, the need for an association is crucial if the country wants to see more teams competing at major international events.

“An official esports association here could represent Brunei to deal with its counterparts overseas such as in Malaysia or Indonesia, especially on matters concerning participation for various competitions,” said Yee.

Brunei recently missed out on a gaming tournament in Palembang due to the absence of an official representative, said Yee.

“If we had an official association to represent, we could select our strongest teams and send them to compete there. Brunei isn’t short of top players, considering the number of talents that has surfaced since last year.”

“But we still need to accommodate them by way of providing internationally-approved tournament settings in order for them to practice and contest,” Yee added.

Yee also manages Brunei’s elite Counterstrike: Go (CSGO) team GoodFellas, who have been actively competing at international events and won several matches abroad, including the Borneo E-Arena Tournament in 2017.

“With the association, we could learn the how tournaments are held overseas, and apply them here. At least the association could also become a commissioning body to ensure all tournaments are held accordingly to the internationally set standards,” said Yee.

Some of the competitors in the TechXpo Cybergames Tournament 2018. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

Amar Agus Din, founder of gaming event management startup GameOn, said that an association for competitive gaming can help event organisers gain sponsorship.

He said that a common problem shared by most esports event managing companies here is on getting sponsors, especially when those tournaments were pitched by small-scale startups.

Without sponsors, Amar said, it would require at least $100,000 to run a proper gaming tournament smoothly.

“A gaming PC cost at most $2,000, gaming consoles $500 and TVs that go with them about $400 each.

“From my experience, at least a proper e-sports tournament would require around 20 PCs, 15 gaming consoles and 15 TVs to come with it,” said Amar, adding that other event logistics jack up the cost further.

“But it would be more credible if it came from an official association; the body is endorsed by government as well as international e-sports governing bodies,” he added.

GameOn has organised several gaming events including the Brunei E-sports Tournament (BEST) 2017 in December last year.

Amar said that the e-sports industry is still at its infancy in Brunei and that the government has yet to see its potential of generating jobs and business opportunities.

“But of course, that will slowly change. We’ve submitted an application to start an association few weeks ago, hoping it would be approved by end of this month.”

The Bruneian