40shares Southeast Asia in particular, boasts the fastest growing market, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 36.1%, with esports enthusiasts in the region expected to grow to almost 20 million viewers by 2019. Set up by the Singapore Government as the coordinating body for youth affairs in Singapore, the National Youth Council (NYC) has put its clout behind an esports academy to take the nation’s gamers to the next level. Run by the Cybersports & Online Gaming Association (SCOGA), the Esports Academy was set up to identify and train gamers like professional athletes in various aspects of esports, peak performance and soft skills. “In our Esports Academy, we use competitive video games to teach skills such as leadership, team work and communications. We hope that this prepares them for the jobs of the future and help them achieve their aspirations. Recently, one of our academy trainees, Justin Bersamin drew more than 4,000 total views per session while streaming. Daryl Koh aka iceiceice, the top Singaporean earner in esports has won over US$1 million in prize money.” In addition to gaming skills, the Esports Academy aims to build a career path in other aspects of the industry, such as training the commentators, trainers and coaches of tomorrow, by providing training to more than 2,000 Singapore youths, with plans to engage more than 50,000 youths through game festivals, events and academy programmes. Once gaming was purely recreational for the most of us, the academy and its focus on developing careers around esports is just one of the latest shifts in the industry. With the advancements in technology, potential gamers have access to games like never before. Where once some serious investment in a gaming rig (computer) was required to compete, the advent of mobile gaming now allows anyone with the interest to clock ‘training hours’ almost anywhere. Forget high-end gaming laptops, card games such as Hearthstone were one of the first to bring tournament ready games into the palm of your hands and on the on the move. Now traditionally ‘rooted’ games such as Multiplayer Online Battle Arenas (MOBAs) are evolving as well. Vainglory, developed by Super Evil Megacorp, is one of the most exciting, fastest-growing, MOBAs is developed for touchscreen iOS and Android mobile devices allowing you to get into the action anywhere you care to sit, stand or squat. Vainglory tripled its active player community on Android and generated more than 450 million minutes of competition watched on streaming platforms, 1 billion matches played, and leagues in North America, Europe, Japan, China, Korea and Southeast Asia. With 20-minute matches, delivered at beautifully rendered 60 frames per second, it’s developed for the gamer who’s not only on the constant move, but for one that does not need a high cost of entry to be competitive as it’ll run well on most mobile devices that you might already own without need for added financial investment in terms of hardware. “Asia in general is very mobile first. People are very centered around their mobile devices rather than their PCs and lots of people already have, and use these devices in their daily lives. This allows a wider group of players to start gaming and even playing competitively.” explained Akane Yoshizaki, Marketing and Communications Manager of Super Evil Megacorp. With competitive mobile gaming gaining traction, and with its rising popularity in Singapore, SCOGA’s Esports Academy has even conducted Vainglory Mastery Courses where players had the opportunity to discover what it takes to make the leap from playing recreationally to professionally. With the push for Esports to be a medal event in the 2022 Asian games, it might just be the next medal event for the country.