The rapid rise of Sri Lankan eSports in 2018 and where it’s going next


The eSports industry has become one of the most valuable industries ever. According to Forbes, a report carried out by Newzoo estimated that this is industry could be valued at around $905 million for 2018. That’s a 38% increase from 2017 where the industry was valued at $655 Million. 

Raveen Wijayatilake – CEO of Ingame Entertainment alongside Indika De Zoysa – Senior Consultant at ICTA at the recently held press conference of the Ingame eSports South Asia Cup (Image credits: Ingame Entertainment)

At a recent press conference, Indika De Zoysa – Senior Consultant at ICTA explained that the growth of this industry in Sri Lanka is an eye opener for those in the IT industry. As a nation, we can look to this new field of sports to contribute to the economy for revenue generation. It can even be used to improve IT literacy. Furthermore, education methodologies such as STEAM can be used in combination to revolutionize the way we learn.

How much money is in this industry?

The biggest indicator is the amount of money that is invested in tournaments and eSports athletes. On average, in the US, a typical single victory can see a team receiving $100,000-$200,000. This is distributed equally amongst the team members. The Dota 2 International 2018 for example, had a prize pool of $25 Million with the winning team taking home $11 Million as their prize money. In addition, eSports athletes also make anywhere from $1000-$5000 as a monthly salary.

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A breakdown of revenue for eSports for 2018 (Image Credits: Newzoo)

While this may seem like the dream job, being an athlete of any nature is no easy task. Just like a regular athlete, these athletes practice for hours a day perfecting their moves and coordination. They need to make split-second decisions and rely on their teammates to work as one living entity.

On the other hand, you also have businesses such as Razer and Twitch who also earn their revenues through gaming. In case you didn’t know, Razer is a high-end gaming peripheral manufacturer that also sponsors eSports tournaments. Their revenue is gained by the sales of peripherals etc. Similarly, Twitch provides a platform that allows gamers to broadcast their gameplay online to viewers.

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A breakdown of how Twitch made their revenue for 2017 (Image Credits: TechCrunch)

Twitch earns its revenue from advertisements, partner programs, and subscriptions. In addition, Twitch streamers can earn by streaming their games and getting people to watch them. The more people watch, the more the streamer earns. For example, Tyle ‘Ninja’ Blevins earns more than $500,000 per month, just by playing Fortnite on Twitch. The popularity of the platform, which rose thanks to eSports, was validated when Amazon acquired it for $970 million.

How has eSports grown in Sri Lanka?

To this extent, GamerLK has been a key advocate for the Sri Lankan eSports culture. From their humble beginnings in 2007, GamerLK has evolved from a simple online forum to a one-stop hub for eSports in Sri Lanka. They organized SLCG or Sri Lanka Cyber Games in 2008. Since then, SLCG has become one of the largest championships in the country, attracting thousands of gamers each year.

This year, we’ve seen Sri Lankan eSports grow phenomenally. Kicking off in June, we saw a group of eSports athletes representing Sri Lanka at the Asian Games 2018. Here, eSports was recognized as a demonstration sport with it being a made into a medal event for the 2022 Asian Games. Added to that, the 2024 Olympics are also slated to have it as a competitive category.

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The cyber athletes who represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Games 2018 (Image Credits: GamerLK)

Following that, we had Team ZeGg Esports of Xiphos eSports representing Sri Lanka at IeSF 10th eSports World Championship. The team gave it their all in each round of Counter-Strike Global Offensive that they played. The team was able to place with the top 16 teams of the tournament. This made it the first time that a team from Sri Lanka made it to the list.

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Team ZeGg of Xiphos Esports went on to place in the top 16 at the 10th World eSports Championship (Image Credits: Facebook)

Alongside these international achievements, we’ve also seen a plethora of local tournaments that have been a regular occurrence for the past few years. One notable example is the recently concluded SLT eSports Championship, which was held at Infotel 2018. Further emphasizing that eSports have a viable future in Sri Lanka, we’re seeing a regional event take place here next month.

What is the InGame eSports South Asia Cup?

The InGame eSports South Asia Cup is a 5-nation League of Legends championship with a prize-pool of Rs. 1,000,000 for the winners of the event. The IGE South Asia Cup is organized in partnership with the Sri Lanka eSports Association and has received support from Sri Lanka’s National Olympic Committee and the ICT Agency of Sri Lanka as well.

The Ingame eSports South Asia Cup brings a regional event to Sri Lanka (Image credits: Gamer.LK)

The National eSports Federations of Maldives and Pakistan held qualifiers in their respective countries to select the best teams to represent them. Furthermore, the teams that attended Asian Games 2018 from India and Bangladesh were given direct invites. Sri Lanka’s representatives for the IGE South Asia Cup will be chosen from SLCG 2018 where it would act as a qualifier itself.

The Ingame Esports South Asia Cup will take place alongside this years SLCG at Play Expo

In addition to the nail-biting action of SLCG 2018, Play Expo 2018 will also be having a plethora of other items such as a fully-fledged cosplay competition, a number of trade stalls and experience centers as well. If you’re a League of Legends fan and you want to see some of the best teams in the region battle it out on the Summoner’s Rift, then keep the dates locked on and come witness history in the making. If you’re also a geek who’s into technology and want to see what Play Expo 2018 is all about, you can come to visit that as well.

For more information on the IGE South Asia Cup, you can click here.


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