Esportsify Philippines: Afterthoughts from the Manila Masters

Welcome to the Republic of Esports.

Last week, Filipino Esports fans bear witness to yet another major competitive gaming spectacle, this time organized by a Filipino organization, that is the Manila Masters.

Born from the efforts of the Philippine-based Esports entity, Mineski, the Manila Masters did not only showcase high-caliber Dota 2 from the invited teams, but also flexed the muscle of the Filipino Esports scene when it comes to organizing, promoting, and giving a fruitful result to another major competitive gaming spectacle.

Third in a row

Held at the MoA Arena last May 26 to 28, 2017, the Manila Masters is the third Esports event that was held at the same venue¬†following the success of ESL One Manila by ESL and theManila Majors by Valve and PGL. Albeit not as jam-packed as many would have expected, the event was still able to draw a major crowd involving thousands of Pinoy Dota 2 fans who were there to witness their favorite teams play pro-Dota 2 and to be part of the so-called “legacy in the making”.

A quick glimpse inside the arena during the early hours of Day 3, most of the crowd were present at the arena during noontime and beyond.

Flexing the Philippines’ Esports muscle

Esports has always been a major thing in the Philippines with a huge portion of the new gaming generation being introduced into games like Dota 2 and League of Legends by way of the popularity of Internet or Gaming Cafes, although it did take a while before events of this scale were held in what was described as the “melting pot of Esports” in this region of the world. Although many have once questioned the viability of Esports becoming a potential industry here in the Philippines, one that can offer jobs beyond playing pro, the success of the Manila Masters, together with the other previous events – ESL One Manila and the Manila Major – just proves how much Esports in the country has grown, from what was formerly a grassroots only scene with sparse tournaments happening here and there, into a more centralized community that is able to create major events and fill up stadiums just for the pleasure of watching pro gamers play.

Laying the foundation of creating a new and working Industry

As large as Esports in the Philippines may be, it is still relatively young when compared to the already established Esports industries of developed nations and regions such as the Americas and China, who were the first to establish a relatively reliable and working infrastructure where actual careers can be developed. The success of the Manila Masters, however, may start to make major waves in the Philippines in regards to upgrading Esports from just a scene into a full-fledged industry and open jobs that are related to Esports for fields like Marketing, Promotions, Press and Public Relations and Event Production. The success of Manila Masters, if portrayed properly, would also help open new avenues for partnership with non-gaming endemic brands, such as Bounty Fresh, which was one of the event’s major sponsors, to target their preferred market demographic, despite not being totally related to gaming or Esports brand-wise.

Apart from ad placements in the big screen and in the stream, Bounty Fresh also made their presence felt at the Manila Masters by having a physical booth present where they ran Dota 2-related promotions.

Quick Assessment

Successful as it might be, the Manila Masters was not an event without flaws with some of the major ones made public through a fan complaint regarding the VIP pass holder access, but, that aside, the Manila Masters mostly suffered from production blunders and technical issue which had some of the matches delayed to the disappointment of the viewers, although the delays itself were not as bad as many would think and the event was able to recover and redeem itself during the following days.

As the event is still in its first year, these blunders may be deemed “forgivable” and even with the issues encountered, the Manila Masters was still able to deliver a high-quality Esports event, one that will continue in the coming years as Mineski, the organizers, themselves, did hint that they are planning for the Masters series to happen on a regular basis. Should that be the case then the effects of hosting major Esports events in the Philippines will resonate further, not just in the capital region, but also hopefully towards the other regions and communities, in a good way, and lay down the foundations of a proper Esports infrastructure to upgrade the scene into becoming a full-fledged and sustainable industry.

Banner image credits to: The Masters

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