17 July 2019
Maintaining a good relationship with teammates is important for e-sports players to win audience support. Photo: Hong Kong Esports
Maintaining a good relationship with teammates is important for e-sports players to win audience support. Photo: Hong Kong Esports

Asian Games glory boosts Hong Kong e-sports

Hearthstone, a turn-based card game played online, gave Hong Kong its first-ever e-sports medal at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. Hong Kong’s Lo Tsz-kin won the gold medal in the event, helping burnish Hong Kong’s reputation as regional e-sports power.

Derek Cheung, chief executive of Hong Kong Esports, the company that brought the professional e-sports tournament League of Legends Masters Series (LMS) to Hong Kong, recently sat down with the Hong Kong Economic Journal to share his thoughts on how the industry can leverage on the successful staging of the Asian Games.

Here are excerpts from that interview:

HKEJ: As an industry veteran, any thoughts on the current development of Hong Kong’s e-sports industry?

Cheung: The triumph of a Hong Kong e-sports player in the Asian Games tends to enhance the public’s awareness of the industry. However, as for the Hong Kong government, there is currently no specific entity responsible for the development of e-sports, and the development goals outlined by the government remain vague.

To promote e-sports in the city, we can start with enhancing market awareness as well as boosting the industry’s profit.

On market awareness, we can take South Korea, where e-sports were introduced 20 years ago, for example. The government has invested huge resources to support companies like Samsung and Korea Telecom to set up their own teams competing in e-sports games and tournaments. The participation greatly enhanced market recognition of the industry.

As for the industry itself, profit should be the most important goal. For now, industry revenue is largely attributed to major video game publishers and developers. If the Hong Kong government is able to outline its development goals for the industry, and seize the opportunity, we can form a clearer prospect of success.

Q: What are the business opportunities for the e-sports industry in Hong Kong?

A: Major video game publishers and developers are hosting events and tournaments to boost and maintain the popularity of its game titles. For other companies in the industry, they can make a profit by working with these industry giants in hosting events. In addition, the growing streaming and broadcasting platforms open doors to more mergers and acquisitions. Companies in the e-sports industry are set to earn big money.

Q: What advice do you have for the young people who want to enter e-sports as a player?

A: There are three personal characteristics required of an e-sports player: talent, knowledge of the game and the rules of competitions, and the mentality.

There are now about 10 full-time e-sports players in Hong Kong. A full-time e-sports player has to juggle the work with schooling, actively participate in amateur e-sports competitions, maintain a high ranking in the game, and be equipped with knowledge and experience to be successful in the industry.

Secondly, an e-sports player needs to have a certain degree of understanding of the e-sports market and ecosystem, as well as the game and the rules of different competitions. On the other hand, they need to analyze and predict the way their opponents move, and their opponents’ mindset.

Finally, a good attitude is the key to success. It is important for e-sports players to communicate with teammates. In the competition, e-sports players are not only the athletes, they also play the role of an entertainer. A good relationship with teammates is relevant to get audience support for e-sports players.

The full article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Sept 28

Translation by Ben Ng

[Chinese version 中文版]

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