The Philippine Southeast Games Organizing Committee (PHISGOC) and Razer officially announced the five of six shortlisted games for the inaugural esports tournament at the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games). The game titles announced so far include Dota 2, Starcraft 2, Tekken 7, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, and Arena of Valor.
The sixth and final esports title is undergoing evaluation and will be revealed in the coming weeks.
"We are thrilled to see the momentum that our partnership with Razer has achieved in such a short period of time," said PHISGOC Executive Director Ramon Suzara. "We are working with all involved publishers and partners to lock down the titles within the next few weeks, and look forward to watching the region's best esports athletes face off in the arena next year."
Razer co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan said, "In the three weeks since we announced esports as a medal event at SEA Games 2019, we've seen a phenomenal level of interest from all segments of the industry, most of all game publishers. The shortlisting of six games in such a short time is evidence that the notion of esports as a legitimate sporting event is no longer a fad. We look forward to having more partners come on board and join us in defining a new generation of sporting heroes for the youth and millennials."
According to the announcement, the key criterion for the selection of the shortlisted games is the diversity of the titles. The most popular and competitive games were represented. The strategy and teamwork demanded by the games were also considered. Lastly, these games take into account the physical and mental intensity needed to persevere through marathon matches.
It was also announced that the games are gender inclusive, teams of both men and women will be open to participate. All esports athletes will have to go through their respective qualifying tournaments.
Abraham Tolentino, Director for Sports of Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee, said "The Sports Department of PHISGOC has long been keen on including sports that will appeal to the young, tech-savvy spectators, including esports."
It was previously announced that six titles would be included at the 2019 SEA Games as a medal event comprised of two PC titles (Dota 2 and StarCraft II), two gaming console titles (Tekken 7), and two mobile titles (Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and Arena of Valor). Mobile Legends: Bang Bang was the first to be announced with the developer, Moonton announced as the first partner.
Joebert Yu, member of the Esports Ad-hoc Committee and President of the Esports National Association of the Philippines (ESNAP), is looking forward to the games. "It is a truly inspiring development for esports, and we will do our best to set a good precedent and to pave the way for many more esports events in future sporting events", he remarked.
The number of games mirrors the 2018 Asian Games where esports was featured as a demonstration sport. Unlike the 2018 Asian Games, esports will be included in the final medal count at 2019 SEA Games.
Sebastian Lau, Director-General of Asian Electronic Sports Federation commended PHISGOC for their efforts of including esports into their Sports Program. He said, "Esports is the sport of the future. We are glad to partner with PHISGOC in bringing esports to Southeast Asia."
Vincent "Chot" Reyes, President of TV5, said, "The Philippines is excited to welcome esports as one of the crowd-drawers in the coming SEA Games. Gamers will surely look forward to these six games as medal events."
The inclusion of esports in the 2019 SEA Games marks the first time esports will be included as a medal event in a multi-sport event of this caliber and marks a big step forward towards legitimizing esports as world-class sporting event.
The 2019 SEA Games will be held from November 30 to December 11, 2019, at several locations in the Philippines including Manila, Clark, Subic, Batangas, La Union, and Tagaytay.