The inclusion of esports as a school extracurricular activity has been gaining support in the U.S. albeit some educators and parents still oppose this concept. The reality is that since 2018, a number of esports leagues are now collaborating with schools to help facilitate high school esport activities.
The High School eSports League (HSEL), touted as the largest league in the country, has been facilitating esport activities in more than 1,500 schools since 2018. Another example is PlayVS, which has gained prominence in the field of school esports, in light of its exclusive contract with the National Federation of State High Schools (NFSHS). NFSHS is the official body tasked to supervise and govern the sports and extracurricular activities in U.S. high schools.
eSports Activities in Asian Schools
The governments of several Asian countries support the idea of including esports in schools by holding gaming competitions in high schools and universities. The goal is to motivate casual video gamers to develop their playing skills, if looking to land future careers as esports athletes. Statistically, several Asian countries rank highly in a list of countries whose esports players are among the highest prize-earners. The U.S. tops the list with a total of $169,185,680.00 earned as tournament prizes by 19,475 players.
Among Asian countries, China ranks second in the global list, whilst the highest ranked among Asian countries; with 4,837 Chinese players winning as much as $120,311,937.00, South Korea ranks third with 4,160 SoKor players amassing $100,497,527.00.
Taiwan ranks 16th with 974 players with total earnings of $12,442,521.00; followed by Japan at No. 17 with 1,732 players collecting $10, 825,221
Malaysia comes next as No. 19 with 732 players earning $10,421,426, while the Philippines is not far behind at No. 20th, with 729 players collecting $9,231,866.
Thailand and Vietnam still made it to the Top 30 list at No. 21 and No.26, respectively.
Apparently Asian countries have embraced the gaming phenomenon, as esports in the region made its debut as a medal game in the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEAG) held in the Philippines. This year, the 31st SEAG esports tournaments will also include mobile games Free Fire, Mobile Legend, LOL: Wild Rift and Bang,Bang.
Mobile eSports Tournaments are Giving Thailand Gamers Additional Opportunities to Improve The Country’s Ranking
In Bangkok, Thailand, Internet cafes are full, especially in the evening, where students still in their school uniforms practice playing with online games as a team. Older gamers, coming straight from universities or workplaces, also file in, many of whom are actually moonlighting as profile (โปรฟีฟาย) account gamers. This is actually an underground career of playing in behalf of online players located in different countries, looking to overcome their frustrations in not being able to level up in their games.
The advent of mobile multiplayer games have somehow eased the build up of gamers in Thailand’s Internet cafes, since they participate with just their smartphones as gaming device. In fact, the news that the 31st SEA Games to be held in Hanoi, Vietnam in November will include mobile esports, has sent many Free Fire players joining local school competitions, vying to become members of Thailand’s mobile esports delegates in regional and Free Fire international tournaments.
Actually, Garena, the publisher of Free Fire held the first Free Fire World Series in Singapore last May, in which Thailand’s Pro-League EVOS Esports TH team, Phoenix Force, emerged as Champion and took home $500,000 of the $2 million prize money at stake.