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22 August 2011

What are Singapore gamers doing wrong?

It's Sunday at Gamescon 2011. Scythe.SG prepares to face China giants EHOME in a fight that could take them to the much coveted USD1 million at the inaugural International DotA 2 Championships. Millions across the world are tuned in on the stream at Veteran game casters slesh and tobiwan keep the crowd's adrenalin high with their soccer-like commentary.

Back home in Singapore, eager fans and friends gather at Colosseum, Iluma with team PMS* to watch the game. When Scythe.SG takes the first game, the crowd goes wild. The girls cheer and the guys grin in silent pride. And even though Scythe eventually falls to be placed third, taking home USD150,000, everyone felt that they had done a good job -- in a face-off that pit the world's top 16 teams against each other.

Watching the game at Colosseum, Iluma.

And then there was silence. As DotA gamers around the world congratulated each other and international sites covered the event's finale most of Singapore was sleeping on without an inkling that five guys - who had trained hard for weeks out of the public's eye - had made Singapore proud in international eSports. They are arguably more famous, more well respected and more well received in countries like China and Germany than in their own country.

When PMS* was crowned the Iron Ladies champion in 2010 January and took home two trophies and a cash prize, the only ones who celebrated with us were our family, friends and fans (with only a handful of Singaporeans). One of the PMS* members even ran into a conflict with her lecturer (despite being officially excused from school) over why she was unable to hand in an assignment due on the day of our homecoming flight. We were more publicised in China, Shanghai and Beijing, than in our own homeland (they covered us in magazines, newspapers, online and even on television).

Aerial Phirkan's emotive and eloquent note on Facebook rouses similar sentiments. He discusses how countries like Korea, China, Germany and even Thailand have not only recognised eSports as an official sport, but have already started treating gaming as a professional career. Phirkhan also brings up another issue - that the media in Singapore frequently brands gaming in a bad light just because of a few black sheep. As there are corrupt politicians, there are going to be gamers with issues.

In addition, as our very own Tammy "furryfish" Tang mentioned in her blog yesterday, it is typical for Singapore gamers who have qualified for regional or international events to be unable to attend because of a lack of funding and support. And we as seasoned competitive gamers who travel yearly for our events can attest to this -- that all the events that we have travelled for so far has never been subsidised by anyone else but our own sponsors (who are ironically based in the United States) and ourselves.

So what is it that Singapore gamers are doing wrong? Why are we not winning the affection of a country that prizes merit? And with local-bred, locally grown up talents.

Gamers and likeminded organisations have banded together with a petition on Vision 2030. Calling for the support of Singaporeans who we know, have not yet had the opportunity to voice out for the cause either because they were unaware, or were misled to think that gamers are a social ill.

It is time. We competitive gamers deserve the recognition we get for the blood, sweat and tears that we put in. And the awards and worldwide trophies we bring back for the country.

We are ready, but is Singapore ready for us?

Rally to the cause. Vote now for eSports in Singapore!


  1. Its been an age old issue to get proper funding as long as 10 years ago - Singapore gaming had a ISP supporting then but even red ink was bled for years. Prize money has come a long way since but like you all have mentioned its still the basic support infrastructure that's pretty much nonexistent.

    ESports in Singapore needs a mastermind group to spearhead it to the next level. Other than sponsorships, regular drives to keep pushing for recognition, donations and tips to help gamers balance their other commitments such as NS and fulltime jobs would help. Research up on how teams in other countries do it, how does their government/country support them and whether the process can be duplicated here. Its a whole package thing which needs to be attacked on many fronts.

    Calls for support is all good, but Someone needs to take charge of the first step and open the way, form the mastermind group to tackle this. Who is going to step up first?

    Don't give up. If a few methods fail, just keep trying. To obtain what you really want, a burning desire is first needed, followed by perseverance (combine the orbs!).

  2. fail country is fail

    they recognize prostitution but they dont recognize esport lololol

  3. Hi Synn,

    You raised many good points, and I agree that this is a project that cannot be taken on by independent parties.

    SCOGA (one of our partners, you can click on their logo on the right panel to find out more about their mission/vision) has been working quietly and chiefly behind the scenes to promote gaming in Singapore. Not just on the competitive front, but gaming in general.

    They have lain the groundwork, and won a fair amount of trust in official channels (that they are sincere about the cause). But that isn't enough as well.

    One way forward could be to catalogue all these case studies - whether it be the success stories, the Licensed2Play/Game2Read events or the CyberWellness talks and roadshows - in a collective space (like an eSports portal) so that anyone and everyone can take a look and find out what we have been doing.

    Another area that could make or break the deal is the way mainstream media in Singapore portrays gamers, which imo requires more accountability. (Yes, please do your research, and be fair not just sensational.)

    Just for the record - this isn't about getting monetary rewards. All we want is the chance to pursue our passion - a passion we also excel in.

  4. wow wtf is this sohaifashion person. i click on the link it shows me some fag with a fail face. what relevance to this post. malaysia recognize esports meh? malaysia only good for me to drive up on weekend pump petrol and eat penang laksa. economy lose, dota lose, football also lose. balek kampung!!

  5. lawls,like some gigolo keep buying branded stuff showoff himself

  6. ur english fail issit??? is sohigh fashion, zzz typical singapork haizz

    how oso malaysia better den sg lorr , we dota lose? we got life lah u think day day play dota meh? no nid work 1 ar? u think all leechers like singapork dota players? at least we malaysian no nid to live in shithole called HDB. summore horrr y all sg guys so pansy skinny2 like gerlgerl 1 ..u all no $$ to subscribe gym membership issit? or too pansy to go gym??, summore our guys we dont shave our armpit like sg guys, u all football win meh?? u all 70% player oso not singaporean , wan tok cock here,good lor next time come msia fill petrol at my station ok? economy lose so wat? i no study economy oso not my problem

    u balek ur shithole hdb la

    wat ?? me very very stylist , yao yeng ok?

    i know u very shy show ur face , coz u no confident 1 lah , at least me face problem oso me not sked let ppl see my face, u ler?? so sked ppl see ur face y hor?? this call manly lah

  7. omg, im so headache after read your england. =,=

  8. Mischz: I read in the papers some time back that there was private group of individuals who funds gamers, you could find who they are get some tips on how they sustain it.

    Another way is to see if it can be operated like a viable business model.

    Definitely get the passion part, however it is hard to balance that with commitments and no basic support, as exemplified by many previous great SG gamers who unfortunately are no longer active due to circumstances which have not changed even after so long.

    Sohighfashion: Just here to flame and seek some attention aren't you? Grow some hair down there aye.

  9. gg sohai fashion and sohai england.