Unearthing Sabah's esport potential
Published on: Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Sabah may be on course to becoming a force in the emerging esport arena with the staging of the Immortals Cup in March next year which, initially, will be restricted to participation by gamers within Malaysian Borneo and Brunei. Announcing this at a press conference, Monday, the inaugural event's Organising Committee Chairman Lawrence Yeh said the event is also in line with Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman's vision to transform Malaysia into an esport powerhouse in Asia.

Esport involves players pitting their online and/or LAN skills in specific video games that requires sharp reflexes, quick thinking and strategy in order to win. Several young gaming buffs in the peninsula are already making an impact in this sport that is taking the world by storm, with some reportedly earning millions of ringgit.

"Youth development is another area that Syed Saddiq is very passionate about. These are the driving forces behind organising this event," Lawrence said.

He noted that Sabah and Sarawak have many potential esport athletes but lack platforms to showcase their talents to the nation, region or world.

"We plan to create that platform and give them the recognition they deserve as the Immortals Cup will also serve as a centre stage for companies or Individuals scouting for gifted and talented players from these two states."

Lawrence, who is also Sabah Publishing House (SPH) Deputy General Manager, said the ultimate goal is to one day affiliate with Valve Corporation, the company responsible for overseeing the developments of the popular Dota 2 game. Valve is also responsible for many other award winning video games.

Event co-ordinator Sean Chong said the qualifying stage would take place at Enigma Cyber Café Damai in Luyang on Feb. 23 and 24 where 64 teams would have to compete with the current Meta or seasonal trend.

The strongest four teams would then proceed to the main stage at the Karamunsing Exhibition Hall where a huge turnout is expected to see the teams do battle in the semi-final and final on March 2 and 3.

The event offers an attractive prize pool of RM22,000. The champion would take home RM10,000.

The first runner-up would get RM5,000 while second and third runner-up RM3,000 and RM2,000, respectively. Teams ranked fifth to eighth would earn RM500 each.

To add to the excitement, there would also be "mini games" as part of the main event with participants, including the public, receiving goodies.

There would also be a Dota 2 theme Cosplay Competition with its own judging to entertain the public. World renowned cosplayer Yugana Senshi Uon will be making a special appearance as the judge of the competition.

Hobbycon Founder cum Organising Chairman Johan Julian Lee said the Immortals Cup has also opened up a platform for local cosplayers to showcase their costume and talents.

"esports and cosplaying are something youths are into today. It adds some spice. We believe cosplay is something that people will enjoy, especially parents and their children.

"It also opens up the cosplay community to work hand-in-hand with the esports community, and I think this collaboration will benefit both parties and bring a bigger attraction to the venue which will be a win-win for everybody," he added.

The competition consists of two categories: Solo Cosplay (Day 1) and Group Cosplay (Day 2), where a minimum of two to seven cosplayers would showcase their costumes and conduct performances as a group.

For Solo Cosplay, the winner would get RM600 cash while second and third placings RM300 and RM100. For Group Cosplay, the winning team would get RM1,000 cash prize while second and third RM500 and RM300.

"Hopefully we will see at least 50 cosplayers," he said.

Gamers who wish to be part of this exciting event may contact Sean Chong at 016 – 831 1495 or for registration and more information. - Locksley Ng


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