By John Victor D. Ordoñez, Reporter
TWENTY-THREE-YEAR-OLD Kendrick L. Cheah, one of the top Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players in the Philippines, has shown that video games aren’t just a child’s pastime anymore.
Having won the fighting game tournament REV Major in 2018 as PSI Force, the road to becoming a top-ranked electronic sports (esports) player was not a walk in the park.
“I wasn’t sponsored by a team,” Mr. Cheah said in a Facebook Messenger chat. “I had to solely rely on leftover allowances from my mom, as well as the cash prizes I won in previous tournaments to attend upcoming gatherings, tournaments and events.”
Transportation costs to venues were expensive especially when one gets stuck in Manila’s notorious traffic jams.
Money wasn’t easy until a professional esports team sponsored him, but he continues to worry about his team’s finances.
That playing video games competitively could be a salaried profession was nonsense a few years ago. Now, professional gamers make a decent living and turn into millionaires on some occasions.
Salaried pro gamers in the United States earn as much as $60,000 yearly, while tournament prize money can go as high as $50,000, according to Esports Grizzly. Video game streamers earn as much as $2,000 a month.
TNC Predator, a Philippine-based esports team known for their high placings at international Dota 2 tournaments, has won $4.6 million since it started in 2013, according to esports portal GosuGamers.
Several local groups have sought more government support for the Philippine esports industry, including seeing it as a legitimate creative sector and sport.
At a House of Representatives hearing in March, the Philippine Esports Organization proposed an economic zone that will house a studio where esports events can be broadcasted and boot camp facilities where local esports athletes can train.
The group also cited the need to improve internet infrastructure, build more airports for easier foreign…
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