From e-sports to e-gaming, the idea of playing games to make an income has become more prevalent in recent years. Both spaces have seen exponential growth in terms of participation and profitability, leading to the country becoming a central hub for online gaming.
Just recently, the Philippines was considered to be the e-sports capital of the world by Arniel Gutierrez, President of the E-Sports World Federation which governs the sport globally. Meanwhile, online gaming or e-gaming have also seen steady growth due to it being an easy and accessible alternative to traditional brick and mortar gaming operations. From smartphone accessibility and a wide range of games to better bonus prizes and more payment options, e-gaming has become a widely convenient option for an always-online population.
“Digitalization has carved out a large space in society, especially during the past few years. It only makes sense given how digital-savvy Filipinos are,” says Calvin Lim, President and CEO of DFNN. “Now, it’s up to us to invest in the future success stories of online gaming and e-sports. We’ve seen how these industries are booming – the potential is already there, we just need to grow it,” he adds.
Esports: From a hobby to a business
The realm of esports usually covers six video game genres, specifically fighting games, real-time strategies, multiplayer online battle arenas or MOBAs, sports games, and digital card games. In the country, the esports scene began as a casual hobby among gamers who hung out at internet cafes or with their friends. However, the sport grew in 2016 when the Philippines’ TNC Gaming team beat the established European team OG at The International Dota 2 Championships.
Since then, more local teams and individuals have taken home multiple awards at international competitions. Team Sibol won silver medals at the recent Southeast Asian Games, while the all-female GrindSky Eris took home a gold. E-gaming competitions typically hand out cash prizes to winners, making it a viable career option for talented gamers. Besides this, player salaries have also been reported to go up to Php 80,000 a month. Sponsorships for established teams also add further profitability to an already strong space.
“Although support for e-sports athletes still has much room for growth, it’s encouraging to see our young gamers succeed and match up to gainst global teams,” notes Lim. “We’re optimistic that we’ll soon see more programs that set them up for success. Of course, we’d love to contribute to those initiatives in some capacity,” he adds.
Online Gaming: From physical to virtual spaces
Although online gaming has had a tumultuous history in the Philippines due to the rise of illegal Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations or POGOs, many major players have still been growing their gaming services.
One of these is DFNN, who launched the country’s first mobile gaming platform InPlay in late-2020 after the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Corporation (PAGCOR) allowed its operation. InPlay enables remote gaming access across all devices making it the first legal mobile gaming platform in the country. It allows players to join a game of Slots, Poker, table games like Blackjack or Baccarat, or arcade games that have integrated gambling elements. The wide variety of available games has made InPlay an attractive gaming platform for both veterans and new players – especially since overall e-gaming demographics now suggest that players aged 25 to 34 are now increasing in number.
InPlay turned out to be a big success for DFNN, who recorded a gross gaming revenue amounting to P269.3 million during the first three quarters of 2021. The company is seeing even greater numbers this year, reporting a net income of ₱144.9 million for the six months ended June 30, 2022, an outstanding performance increase of 288.6% coming from a net loss of ₱76.9 million in the same period in 2021.
“Achieving this performance during InPlay’s early years only shows how strong local online gaming is and how wide its reach is” says Lim. “We’ve given players a better avenue for gaming and we’ve future-proofed the space, especially after the community quarantines over the past two years greatly affected the industry at large” he also states.
With the steady growth of online gaming, DFNN foresees even bigger gains that will eventually surpass the performances of traditional gaming outlets seen before the pandemic. At the same time, the company is also aiming for InPlay to continue combating illegal gaming operators in the country. By providing a legitimate platform where visitors can safely play their favorite games while being able to securely cash in and withdraw their winnings, DFNN is not only upping consumer confidence in online gaming, but also increasing the credibility and profitability of the space.
“The overwhelmingly positive reception to the digital era of gaming tells us that both e-sports, online and mobile gaming are here to stay. As a company that believes in and advocates for technology, we’re committed to guiding Filipinos along these shifts while also creating a larger economic impact,” Lim ends.
Go to the original article published by Esports – Manila Bulletin
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