Esports took a huge step forward when it will be a medaled sport at the 2022 Asian Games in China. But before that, esports will be a demonstration sport at this year's Asian Games scheduled to be held in Indonesia. During our time at ESL One Genting Minor Main Event, we got a chance to grab several iconic individuals who know the scene from front to back- Mushi, Ninjaboogie, and Jabz from Mineski, Ah Fu from LGD Forever Young, as well as Fnatic's coach, and we asked for their opinion on esports being a medaled event in a traditional sports event.
As we all know, esports will be a medaled event in Asian Games, and it’s under consideration for Olympics as well. What are your thoughts about it?
Mushi: It’s always good to play in a tournament with medals instead of just prize money. You can spend all your money just like that but a medal is like a memory that you can cherish forever.
Ninjaboogie: I don’t really care too much about, I feel that esports should not be included in the Asian Games or Olympics. We have to wait for four years before we can take part in these events and four years is a very long time for an esports player. Furthermore, you wouldn’t know which team you’re gonna be in. Even though your nationality will remain the same, but so many teams have rosters with mixed nationalities, so the team dynamic will be broken since you have to sacrifice a period of time to train with a national team.
Jabz: I think it’s hard to form a team for this event. Every pro player is in a different team and with all the minors and majors, we won’t have the time to practice for the country.
Ah Fu: I like this move for esports, it really solidifies the professional status for us players and making it a legitimate career, unlike the past where parents will object their children from playing too much video games.
Adam: I’m not sure how the pro players will react to it. Most Dota 2 tournaments carry prize pool and I believe Asian Games and Olympics don’t. I’m not sure if the players will play for the prestige, or rather the prestige of Dota 2 in Olympics can be compared to something like winning The International.
How do you think the selection process should be done for players to fill up the country’s roster?
Mushi: I don’t know how they will choose the players but one thing is for sure, I will not be playing in it as I plan to retire one or two years later.
Ninjaboogie: All-Star voting should be a good option. Compile a list of players from the same country and let fan votes do the talking. If it was done by management pick, obviously it wouldn’t be fair. For instance the Philippines, without a doubt the team will be filled with TNC players, and it wouldn’t be fair for other potential players.
Jabz: They should ask the players they have in mind whether these players want to be part of the team. I don’t think players like Ah Fu, MidOne, or Mushi will join as well.
Ah Fu: Malaysia has fewer pro players compared to many countries out there but if we add it up we can form a team of pro players. We may not be the best team even with all the pro players we have, but we definitely have a fighting chance.
Adam: Right now I don’t know anything about it. The ideal way to do it is to select a captain, someone like Mushi, the face of Malaysian Dota, I think he should have the luxury of picking his teammates.
Government support is not very strong in this region, do you think that having esports being recognized as a medal event will change their stance? What do you hope to see from the government?
Mushi: Whenever you see the Malaysian flag on a jersey, the government will definitely do their best to support them since the players will be carrying the pride of the country.
Ninjaboogie: Definitely, it will draw more attention and that’s a proven fact. However, I have always been against the idea of esports becoming an official sport. We have been doing well without it and it has been improving as well. The first thing that comes to mind is to have easier access to visa for players but it requires them to be athletes to obtain athlete visas.
Jabz: I am not sure but please help us with visa, make it easier for us pro players.
Ah Fu: I cannot comment much on this because I’m don’t have much input on this. But I do want to see the government getting involved more in esports, once there’s a value to it, parents will have a different perspective towards esports.
Adam: It will for sure. Right now, people who don’t know about esports thinks that it is just computer games, but for people who attend esports events, they see how big this actually is. If esports goes on a global scale, people will start taking more notice on esports. I don’t really have any complains right now. I think they are quite supportive where they organized events like Malaysia Cyber Games and stuff. Maybe a bit more amateur tournaments for new players to come up. The problem right now with SEA Dota is that there is little to none platforms for lower tier teams to shine.
Which player from your country will you pick to fill up your team?
Mushi: MidOne, Nana, Ohaiyo. Who don’t know if any new talents will be discovered in the near future but these three players are good, if not the best in Malaysia at the moment.
Ninjaboogie: DJ, Raven, me, Abed.
Jabz: My previous teammates from Signature.Trust. I’ve played with them for almost two years and we are all from Thailand.
Ah Fu: Any Malaysian players except Nana *laughing*.
Adam: Mushi, MidOne, Ohaiyo, Ah Fu, and me.
Which country do you think will have the strongest roster?
Mushi: China for sure. China is a very big country and new talents can be found easily, and most China teams are made out of China players only. If we take China out of the question, I would say Malaysia or Philippines.
Ninjaboogie: China, they’re pretty good. Malaysia will also have a chance with the likes of MidOne, Mushi, Nana, I think Malaysia will have an all-star team.
Jabz: China will have the best team in Asia, but I think Malaysia and Philippines are up there too.
Ah Fu: China, they have the most players in the world. The Philippines are also a force to be reckoned with.
Adam: China is really strong for sure, but Malaysia and Philippines can also do well.