The Next Level: The Rise of Esports in the Philippines

Esports is no longer just an online phenomenon or a niche interest but a growing sporting industry with hundreds of investors, sponsors, and advertisers.

June 2021 , by U-Yun Wong
Esports in the Philippines Download

The Philippine esports market is home to over 43 million active gamers, steadily increasing by 12.9% yearly since 2017. This growth is supported by the growing accessibility of smartphones and mobile internet. Leading the gaming sector is Mobile Legends, one of the country’s most popular Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games, which reached a whopping peak of 2.65 million active users daily in April 2019, and has grown consistently at a CAGR of 8.78% over the past five months.

Other games such as PlayerUnknown's Battleground (PUBG), Tekken 7, DOTA 2, and League of Legends have also created a significant impact on the budding Philippine esports ecosystem. However, the local gaming community's interest has not yet translated in favor of homegrown esports leagues. As a result, gaming publishers have struggled to generate long-term, mainstream success in the Philippine professional realm.

These challenges mainly stem from the difficulty in proving the consistency and lifespan of video games as a professional feature. Esports titles have always been deemed as “just another fad.” However, international leagues such as The Overwatch League and League of Legends: League Championship Series have proven their global success through a stable source of viewer engagement, further inviting outside investments and generating revenue streams—and now serve as a case study for the local esports industry. 

Converting Potential to Measurable Growth

Creating solid esports growth in the Philippines would depend on how both private players and the national government invest in support for tournaments and other esports-related activities. YCP Solidiance's analysis has identified three success drivers to uplift the sector out of the nascent stages: Competition, Production Value, and Accessibility.

All three key drivers highlight the need for coordination and substantial effort for the online game industry in the Philippines to resolve its challenges and gain mainstream success. This study explores how industry players and the government could revolutionize the Philippine esports ecosystem, further converting potential to exponential numbers and priming the industry to succeed in the coming years.

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