Singapore has developed into a world force when it comes to eSports. This development was rapid and unprecedented. Some 15 years ago, the Singaporean eSports scene practically didn’t even exist, but today this small country is emerging as the world’s capital of eSports.
Let’s go through some of the figures and try to explain this remarkable success.
There are more than 1.5 billion gamers in the Asia-Pacific region and Singapore is becoming the gaming capital, not only of the region but of the world. Amazingly, Singapore went from 500 gamers in 2007, to more than 1.4 million today. With such numbers, it is natural that many globally successful gamers came out of Singapore. Some of the bests are Daryl Koh Pei Xiang, who is currently the highest-earning player in Singapore, and Ho Kun Xian, who won first place at the Evolution Championship Series in 2013
Some statistics are staggering. In 2019 alone, Singaporeans invest $327.2 million in games, and gamers on average spend 7.44 hours per week playing video games. According to the Singapore Games Association, the local video game market reached $130 million last year and will hit a further $138 million by 2024.
In May of this year, the city-state hosted the Free Fire World Series, which saw 18 teams from 11 regions of the world competing. The eSports tournament had a peak viewership of 5.4 million – which was the record for a gaming event outside Chinese platform.
But this is not all when it comes to big gaming events happening this year in Singapore. At the end of the year, Singapore will host the first Asian edition of Gamescom. This is currently the largest video game industry event in the world. In addition to that, Singapore will also host the inaugural Global Esports Games.
Further evidence of the popularity of gaming in Singapore can be seen in the rise of the local iGaming market. Here too, we can see a similar fast-paced development: only 15 years ago gambling was strictly forbidden in the country, and just a few years later, Singapore became one of the important iGaming centers in Asia.
A huge variety of online casino games are legally available, as well as online betting on sports and eSports. What is important is that the whole industry greatly benefited from the very developed technological infrastructure, especially since blockchain technology became available, which made all internet transactions much more transparent and safer.
Even though it has very developed eSports and iGaming industries, we should remember that Singapore is a relatively small country – it accounts for only around 5704 million people. Compare this to true Asia-Pacific giants – India and China.
India, for example, is the second most populated country in the world right after China – it counts 1.366 billion people, which is 17.7% of the total world’s population. In terms of the average age of the population, the country is also relatively young – meaning that it can be seen as one of the gaming and iGaming markets with the biggest potential in the world. For example, according to Asiabet, one of the best guides to Asian online gambling sites in the region, it is estimated that the online gambling market in India will soon be worth over $1.1 billion with 630 million online gamers in the country. And the options range from sports betting to casino classics like Poker, Baccarat, or Rummy. These contributions to the global online gambling market can’t be ignored.
Considering the difference in the size of the population between these two countries, in terms of the number of players, Singapore will hardly ever provide such a big contribution to the global online gambling market. However, the percentage of people indulging in these games will surely rise with further investments and tech development. Who knows – maybe they will set another goal: conquering iGaming with tech advancements?
This boom in the Singaporean eSports industry is only possible because of the development of local infrastructure – a massive advantage that Singapore has over countries such as India.
The state has the fastest fixed internet connection in the world, an amazing 200.1 Mbps – Compare that with the world average of mere 73.6 Mbps. Singapore is also the only Asian country that has an eSports gym. It was established to strengthen the local eSports ecosystem, and it hosts the best gaming tech and facilities that can help gamers focus more on nutrition and physical fitness.
But that’s not all, the company Esports Entertainment Asia recently opened a 12,000 sq ft eSports experience center and is planning to open another integrated eSports venue that would include facilities such as a multipurpose eSports arena, eSports business hotel, flexible co-working spaces, themed retail, and even a training academy.
The future for eSports in Singapore is very bright indeed. This success wouldn’t be possible without the huge developments in technological infrastructure. But the eSports ecosystem created by the Singapore Games Association also had very important support from institutions such as the Singapore Tourism Board. Today, the Board’s goal is to position Singapore as the number one global location for international eSports events and an attractive place for gaming businesses to set up their headquarters.
And this strategy is working: in 2019, the first global governing body for eSports, the Global Esports Federation, was launched, and it made Singapore its official headquarters. This move made Singapore quite literally the world’s capital of eSports.