Razer CEO to set aside $10m for Singapore's gaming industry, partly to spite an esports nonbeliever

PHOTO: Facebook/Min-Liang Tan

You just can't stop the rise of the global competitive gaming industry as it undergoes constant explosive growth, with esports and gaming culture going mainstream, reaching out to new corners of the market.

Closer to home, local professional gamers have been creating ripples in Singapore's esports scene. Soon, they'll stand a chance to make some waves globally following a major investment by gaming hardware firm Razer. Min-Liang Tan, the company's affable co-founder and CEO, today pledged to drop $10 million into his country's gaming industry across the next 12 months. Whoa. 

The massive funding extends to supporting and investing in local esports teams and gaming companies based here or founded by Singaporeans. This includes Team Singapore, which will be participating in the medalled esports events of the SEA Games this year. 

While I’m in Berlin for IFA 2019, I read about Minister Chan Chun Sing’s comments on supporting gaming and esports in...

Posted by Min-Liang Tan on Sunday, 8 September 2019

"We are one of the largest esports brands in the world, and personally as a Singaporean, I'm looking forward to giving back and doing more for my country," Tan wrote, calling out for like-minded Singaporeans to get in touch and work with him on projects together.

Tan's big financial undertaking is mainly motivated by public-spiritedness, but Razer's chief gamer (lightheartedly) added that the decision was partly carried out to spite a Straits Times Forum letter writer who dismissed the accomplishments of esports athletes and suggested that esports should not even be considered a real sport.

The letter writer, Juliana Foo, defined that the widely accepted definition of a sport is an activity that requires both physical effort and skills. Gaming arguably does require both, but she questions its physical challenges, likening it to knitting or baking in terms of mental exertion. 

Well given that I pretty much led the pitch to get esports as a medalled sport at the SEA Games (so technically I'm the...

Posted by Min-Liang Tan on Thursday, 5 September 2019

Wanting to "troll the letter writer", Tan decided that dropping $10 million to help the local esports industry flourish would be a good way to make her mad. Well played, good sir. 

To help further push the gaming and esports scene in Singapore, Razer will be moving its headquarters to One North in 2020, where it will develop new gaming and esports initiatives. Razer — the official esports partner in SEA Games 2019 — has already contributed quite a bit recently when the company brought in esports legends Evil Geniuses to train regional teams in improving their Dota 2 game. 

mabelkhoo@asiaone.com

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