What a Filipino team’s win at an International event tells the Pro Gaming Community
2017 opened up gloriously for the Filipino Pro Gaming Scene as Dota 2 Team TNC Pro Team and Hearthstone pro Euneil “Staz” Javiñas both take home the championship gold at the recently concluded World Electronic Sports Games which main event was held last Jan 12-15, 2017 in the Changzhou Olympic Sports Center, Changzhou, China.
Considered a pivotal achievement for both the pro Dota 2 and Hearthstone scenes in the Philippines, these wins look to solidify the rise of Esports talent and support from a country that has long been looked down upon in the competitive gaming field and has put us in the pedestal once more in the pro gaming world.
A Pro Scene’s Long Journey
The history of pro gaming in the Philippines may be totally untraceable as there was no one who took the time to really jot down everything, however, everyone can agree that the history of Philippine pro gaming is one long journey towards claiming its rightful glory with the rest of the world. Before the popularity of Dota 2, its predecessor, the popular WarCraft III mod Defense of the Ancients became one of the major pathways that the Filipinos took towards Esports stardom. Perhaps one could say that Esports was beginning to take off in DotA’s 6.48 era according to a written history archived at the Team Liquid Wiki, or the era of Virtus.pro where stars such as Ivan “Vigoss” Shinkarev and Igor “M.Admiration” Kalnysh solidified their status as DotA legends.
The Philippines’ most prominent teams back then included teams Team Flow and Team 129 with the former netting perhaps what was the first Filipino achievement in Esports that being their 3rd place finish in the Asian Cyber Games 2007. This was then followed by the rise of team Mineski, which organization also kicked off the Mineski Pro Gaming League years later which then led to the rise of notable teams such as Execration, iZONE125, Pacific Revitalize and Happy Feet. With its announcement back in 2011, the Mineski organization then included Dota 2 in their lineup of pro titles and expanded towards South East Asia, which then led to more activity in the region’s pro gaming scene resulting in more exposure and tournaments that not only did benefit Filipino teams but also expanded the country’s pro gaming horizons to newer games, which included Blizzard’s Hearthstone.
However, while the country’s pro gaming scene had its roots traced back to 2007 according to the archived history, it will take nearly a decade before the more notable achievements such as pivotal wins and championship titles come pouring in to help put the industry in the limelight.
Negativity towards video games and gamers
As the Filipinos, no matter what people say about it because of present happenings, consider itself a “conservative” people, the country has long had a divided stance regarding the existence of video games, which many strongly going up against it, going to the extremes like banning certain video game titles and branding them as the cause of violence.
Being greatly misunderstood, most Filipino parents look down upon gaming as some form of addiction which needs to be eradicated and easily points a finger as one of the leading causes of a child’s negative psychological growth, which is then further fueled by the emphasis on negative news regarding gaming which include the ban of certain video games in some districts just because some hothead decides it’s cool to stick a knife into someone else.
Putting pro gaming in the limelight once again
Through their WESG gold place finishes, both TNC Pro Team and Staz has once again shone a huge positive light on what awaits aspiring pro gamers with both well underway on making a living out of playing video games.
True enough, Filipino pros are earning big for EsportsEarnings.com lists a total of USD 2,709,538.50 in combined earnings putting the country in the #17 spot. The coutnry’s top 10 rankings, while dominated by the Dota 2 players from TNC Pro Team, namely Carlo “Kuku” Palad, Marc Polo “Raven” Fausto, Samson “Sam_H” Hidalgo, Timothy “Tims” Randrup and Ryo “ryOr“Hasegawa, welcomed Staz whose total earnings now sit at USD 157,172.89 as of this article’s writing.
But it’s not Pro Gamers that are going to reap the benefit. The popularity and achievements of the likes of TNC Pro Team and Staz will in turn lead to more mainstream support for the video game industry in general which will then result in opening the eyes the public’s eyes towards realizing the potential of gaming as an industry and more than just digital images being controlled by players on the screen.
The Philippines and the Gaming Industry
So just how big is Gaming in the Philippines? According to Newzoo, the Philippines, with its 30 million strong gaming population was able to generate USD 166 Million in revenues across different platforms, making it the 41st largest gaming market in the whole world. In the realm of Electronic Sports, the country lists a total of 1.4 million esports fans, which together led to prestige international events such as ESL One Manila 2016 and the Manila Major being held in the islands and each receiving strong positive reception.
Such numbers hold huge potential not just in Esports but for video games in general provided they receive enough exposure, one of which is through winning major events such as what was done by TNC Pro Team and Staz in the World Electronic Sports Games.
Continuing the growth
Fans of Esports will greatly consider these pros win as a win by a nation’s community who has long struggled to have its pro gaming dreams realized by the mainstream, while the Philippines is basking in the limelight once again, this time, not just in one but in two competitive gaming titles, it’s Esports fans must continue to push through with its support for Esports and gaming as a whole. Esports Communities who wish to achieve what TNC Pro Team and Staz has achieved must open up its doors, not just to its own supporters, but for a larger community as well.
By continuing to build up on what is now a solid foundation that garners support and recognition from the mainstream because of these achievements, Esports and Gaming will become more than just an industry with untapped potential and will be realized as a valid pathway towards an individual’s career growth.