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Esports: 2019 and Beyond - An overview of what to expect in the gaming and Esports scene in the near future
2019 has been an exciting year for Esports, which sees it garnering a wider reach and acceptance thanks to several major milestones in 2018, alongside several more achieved in the early phases of the current year. The successful implementation of the Esports Demonstration Games at the 2018 Asian Games provided a much needed impetus which propelled the scene to unexpected heights with the promise of a bright future.
 
While we lack a time machine to accurately predict what’s next on the horizon, we have adequate information, confidence and a general idea of what’s to come, thanks to trends, positive shift in perception and the rapid rise in acceptance of Esports in the present day. Today, we are discussing about what is to expect in the world of Esports in the short to medium term; activities which are set to take place around us that will break new grounds for this exciting and highly promising scene.
 
More Pro Gaming Circuits to Implement Traditional Approaches Such as Season-Long Leagues
Following the steps of the Overwatch League which is well into its second season, publishers Activision recently announced the first five teams for the upcoming Call of Duty league. This move does not only signal the viability of Esports circuits being run like traditional sports leagues, it also shows a long term commitment from stakeholders which eventually lead to a trickle down effect benefiting everyone involved on every level.
 
Hopefully, many more titles and publishers can adopt this approach, allowing enthusiasts and participants to be involved.  At present, team owners in North America have been the most receptive to this approach. We expect Asian-based Esports organisations to follow suit.   
 
Esports As the Leading Gaming Trend in Southeast Asia
A recent finding by Niko Partners indicate that a high percentage of gamers in the Southeast Asian region - almost two-thirds of them - engage in Esports-related activities. Not only are players getting into the scene early, the demographic of the participants show a diverse mix involving casual players, semi-competitive and those focusing on the entertainment aspect.
 
The highly competitive nature of Esports, coupled with accessible tech and prevalence of free-to-play titles, contribute immensely to this surge in player count. We do not see it slowing down anytime soon.
 
Expanding the Horizons: More Games For More People
A potential shift away from a handful of titles may also be on the horizon. While legacy games such as League of Legends and DotA which have reached maturity will remain relevant for many years to come, should serve as templates for new games to not only emulate but to improve on.
 
Considering the current climate, Esports will only reach its full potential by being more inclusive and diverse. Stakeholders would be wise to cast their focus on emerging yet less popular titles with high potential in Esports such as Rainbow Six Siege, PUBG, and  Apex Legends as champions of the future are moulded today.
 
Esports At 2019 SEA Games to Break New Ground In Mainstream Consciousness
Treading unfamiliar ground, sports networks in North America has taken to broadcasting Esports matches live in televisions to mixed reactions. While some fans of traditional sports were bemused to watch an unconventional tournament played on their screen, the reaction has been generally positive.
 
And then comes Esports’ inclusion in a multi-sport global event such as the 2019 SEA Games this November. Having tested the waters during the 2018 Asian Games, Esports can now stand proud, shoulder to shoulder with other sporting categories in the international stage, sharing the limelight it rightfully earned.
 
Set to be broadcasted to millions of viewers during that period, this is a major step in introducing itself to the uninitiated, as well as impart confidence to the hopefuls who see a future in Esports. Granted, the community play a pivotal role in driving Esports forward, with its growth reliant on the involvement of commercial partners. As such, there is no better platform to showcase the current state and potential of Esports than at the one set at the Manila SEA Games.
 
Seeing Esports on the grandest stage of all - the Olympics- may seem a bit far fetched at the moment. However, given the right attitude, approach, and diligent management by everyone involved, what seemed like a distant dream at first may be a glorious reality that is within reach.