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Unleashing Innovation and Seizing Opportunities in the Esports and Games Sector

Speech by Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry Of Culture, Community And Youth & Ministry Of Trade And Industry, at the Asia Esports Summit 2023


  1. Good afternoon, everyone. I see many familiar faces here today. It’s great to be here at the Asia Esports Summit - a gathering of key players, international experts, and professionals in esports from across the region.
  2. When the organisers asked me to do this during a meeting a couple of months ago, I told them that I will attend for a few different reasons. One is because I deeply believe in this sector. I am also a gamer – in fact, I just completed a game and am starting another one. But I believe it is not just about the games, it is about the whole ecosystem. And that’s why when the industry starts to move, I think we also have a role to support, grow, and take that chance.
  3. That is very important and therefore this Summit is timely. The growing popularity of esports as all of you may know is partly due to COVID. According to Dutch research firm Newzoo, the global esports audience is estimated to reach 640.8 million by the end of 2025.
    1. Many of you know that Southeast Asia has a population of about 650 million people and growing, with some of the youngest populations here. Southeast Asia will be the heart of this as the fastest growing esports market in the world. The Southeast Asia regional market is expected to grow from $39.2 million in 2021 to $72.5 million in 2024.
  4. Complementary to esports, Asia’s metaverse landscape is also rapidly evolving. You have social VR platforms to blockchain-based virtual worlds – these metaverses are breeding creativity and also entrepreneurship. The metaverse is also not new to the world of esports and games.
  5. In Singapore, we have been very active in the esports arena. Let me share with you what we have been doing in this space.
  6. We have successfully hosted major esports events, including:
    1. the Mobile Legends: Bang Bang M2 and M3 World Championships;
    2. the DOTA2 Singapore Major;
    3. Free Fire World Series;
    4. Wild Rift Horizon Cup;
    5. the Asian edition of Gamescom, the world’s largest video games industry event and business platform;
    6. The International 11;
    7. And most recently, the inaugural Olympic Esports Week, in partnership with the International Olympic Council. This featured top virtual sports as well as esports players worldwide.
  7. Singapore is jam packed with these events – we are trying to bring all of these here so that we can build a vibrant ecosystem. And these events show a growing interest not just in Singapore but also the region.
  8. Unleashing Innovation and Possibilities in Technology

  9. We know that tech innovation allows us to push the frontier of technology and gamification in active virtual sports. Let me dive into this world of virtual sports as well.
    1. Active virtual sports such as virtual cycling allows participants to not just sit down but also work out in big sweats – it helps physiologically as well as psychologically.
    2. Participation in esports as well as virtual sports can also ignite people’s interest in sports – it is a gateway for some people to also participate in sports.

    Seizing Opportunities in the Esports and Games Industries

  10. Let me switch over to the growth of the esports sector and how it builds and create exciting job opportunities. From software developers and graphic designers, to event managers and marketing specialists, to shoutcasters and production crews.
  11. These and also many different jobs that we have yet to imagine in the esports sector will start to grow.
  12. Our esports and tech sector has continued to attract investments from game companies, and it is adding to our tech ecosystem diversity. Efforts in adjacent sectors such as sports have also helped to grow Singapore’s esports and gaming sector.
    1. Singapore is now home to over 200 game-developing and publishing companies, making us one of Asia’s leading media and entertainment hubs.
    2. This also provides opportunities for more games to be developed by local companies.
    3. For example, the Olympic Esports Week featured two locally developed game titles, Tic Tac Bow (Archery) and Virtual Taekwondo. They are very new but I am sure as they grow and have new versions, they will be even better.
    4. Singapore companies are actively in the game – building the games, doing shoutcasting, event organisation, and developing games. The talent is growing and is abundant for startups and businesses.

    Esports as a Youth Engagement Platform

  13. Many of you know that esports can be an incredible platform for us to engage on, including for our youths.
    1. We thus work closely with industry and community partners such as the Singapore Cybersports & Online Gaming Association (SCOGA), Singapore Esports Association (SGEA), Singapore Games Association (SGGA), and the Global Esports Federation (GEF) that are all critical to our ecosystem.
    2. We do this and we work with many of you to educate, engage and create opportunities for youths. For example, the National Youth Council (NYC) partnered with SGEA, as well as sports and event management company IMG to run the Esports Youth Programme.
    3. The Esports Youth Programme gave 100 students from various polytechnics, ITEs and partner organisations hands- on experience at the 2021 Global Esports Games. They attended workshops and panel discussions with industry leaders, and were directly involved in running the event.
  14. It is important that while we recognise the growth of the esports sector, there are still people in our society who are concerned about the downside that technology and gaming bring. And I think we have to be alert to it and we have to work with the industry to address it.
  15. For example, potential issues with regard to gaming addiction. But if we can manage these concerns well and carefully, I think esports can have a positive effect on our youths’ social, physical, and mental development.
    1. For example, instituting a structured and regulated playing environment, and cultivating prominent gamers as positive role models can help instil responsible gaming behaviour.
    2. When I play games with my kids, I will ask “Oh look at this character, what can you learn from it?”. And if it’s already 10 o’clock, I will ask them to stop. And so, it is about how we can nurture our youths, our gamers and how do we draw some good examples. How do you build a game that not just expose our gamers to Greek and Norse gods but also to regional characters so that our youths can understand the rich cultural history through games.
    3. I think the game has just started and many of you can help with the well being, economic, tech as well as cultural aspects towards gaming.


  16. The growth of Asia’s esports and the metaverse landscape is brimming with potential.
  17. So please join us to continue innovating and I hope that this Summit – it’s not just a gaming Summit but one where you can talk and learn about all these issues. And I think once you have that base, that foundation, you will build a very strong, enduring, and sustainable esports and gaming ecosystem here in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
  18. I wish you all of you a wonderful summit ahead.
Last updated on 07 December 2023