Young people’s obsession with video games is often frowned upon by parents and teachers.
But for former Institute of Vocational Education student Robert Lee, gaming has brought him glory and a promising career prospect.
He was part of the five-member team from the institute that won an Asian e-sports competition last year.
The team beat 10 other competitors from eight countries and regions, including mainland China, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Singapore, to grab the top prize in the League of Legends International Collegiate Championship held in Taipei in November.
Lee has since become a professional player and, of course, his parents no longer viewed his passion for game consoles and virtual warfare in an objectionable light, but rather, as a career path underpinned by a buoyant market demand.
“The older generation thinks playing electronic games is a decadent activity which is not good for health or study,” Lee said.
“Since I brought home the big trophy, they started to change their mindset… After realizing that a famous e-sports player can earn considerable income, they don’t worry about my livelihood anymore.”
League of Legends is a multiplayer online video game with more than 100 million players worldwide.
Working as a team, players devise strategies to destroy the base camp of their opponents. Lee said it is like playing chess as the players have to analyze the moves of their adversaries.
For young people e-sports has given them a new career choice.
Lee and his teammate Isaac Chan have turned professional after winning championship in Taipei.
“From what I know, we are the only professional male team playing League of Legends in Hong Kong. We are lucky that a company discovered our talent and gave us an opportunity to turn our interest into a career,” Chan said.
“There’s no shortage of e-sports talent here in Hong Kong,” he added.
With the rising popularity of e-sports and a HK$35 million funding support from the government, the Hong Kong Tourism Board will hold the e-Sports & Music Festival from Aug. 4 to 6 at the 12,500-seat Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom, a multimillion-dollar tournament for e-sports and gaming enthusiasts around the world.
Just imagine the ambience of such a mega event when thousands of e-sports players, armed with their Xboxes, PlayStations and laptops, joust for the gleaming goblet under the same roof.
Over 50,000 participants as well as a stellar line-up of former League of Legends pro-players from Europe, North America, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau are slated to compete for glory at the event.
Get ready for a legendary showcase of skills as Return of the Legends streams live in Cantonese, English, Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish and Thai.
Team Taiwan/Hong Kong/Macau will face off Team Europe in the semi-final at 10 a.m. on Aug. 4, and Team North America will fight Team Mainland China at 10 a.m. on Aug. 6. The final match, and the presentation of prizes, will be held at 7 p.m. the same night.
K-pop groups will perform on Aug. 5 to support the event.
Tickets are now on sale from HK$80 to HK$480 per match.
Tourism Board Event & Product Development general manager Mason Hung said the festival will appeal to young visitors by mixing video games and music, since more than half of the overnight arrivals to Hong Kong last year were people aged 16 to 35.
“After talking to trade and industry experts, we believe hybrid, carnival-like events of e-sports, concerts and food festivals as a total package will lure them to Hong Kong, or give them the incentive to visit the city again and again.”
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