Gold, glory and great adversity in Malaysian e-sports

Gold, glory and great adversity in Malaysian e-sports

Gold, glory and great adversity in Malaysian e-sports

Lee Way Loon & Lu Wei Hoong | 4 April 2017

At an indoor stadium in Seattle, United States, last August, thousands gathered on the dimly-lit stands, focusing intently on the gigantic digital screens hanging over the center-stage.

Under the giant screens was not a game of basketball or ice hockey, which the KeyArena would normally host, but two isolation rooms.

In one room were four Malaysians and a Filipino glued to their computers, controlling their mix of wizards, warriors and beasts with flicks of the mouse and furious keyboard clacks.

Pix FB Adam Erwann Shah

The quintet swooped in for an ambush, locking their opponents with a spell that stops time. But alas, their opponents were ready and showered them with a barrage of meteors and magic spells.

Amidst the chaos, the Malaysian team scatters and their American opponents steamrolled into their defenseless base to destroy it and claim victory.

The crescendo from the crowd reaches a furious climax, marking the end of the road for Team Fnatic’s dramatic run at The International 2016, the world’s most prestigious Dota 2 tournament.

Although the loss meant that they were placed fourth in the tournament, the players walked away with a whopping US$1.45 million (RM5.81 million).

They would have received US$9.14 million (RM40.56 million), had they won first place, or US$3.43 million (RM15.22 million) for second place and US$2.18 million (RM9.67 million) for third place.

Nonetheless, the five still walked away with an equal portion of US$174,471.80 (RM774,000) each, after US tax and management deductions.

Dota 2 The International Flickr Pix

From pastime to career

Since 2011, The International (TI) has emerged as the most lucrative annual e-sports tournament, beating even prestigious sporting events such as the recent US PGA Tour or Tour de France.

The total prize pool has consistently increased throughout the years and in The International 2016, reached US$20.77 million (RM92.17 million).

Some 150 million viewers across the world tuned into The International 2016 and broadcasters, including Malaysian satellite television provider Astro, have begun offering dedicated channels to air such tournaments.

To fans, The International is to Dota 2 what the World Cup is to football. What was once perceived as mere time-waster has transformed into a professional industry.

As the name suggests, professionally e-sports require a high level of dedication and rigorous training to be in peak competitive shape for a shot at gold and glory.

One such player is 22-year-old Adam Erwann Shah, who goes by the handle “343”. He was part of Team Fnatic, which secured the highly respectable fourth place at The International 2016.

To the uninitiated, this psychology student at Segi University is just like any other student.

But on the Dota 2 professional gaming scene, Adam is a giant of sorts and is listed as the fifth highest-earning player in Malaysia by tracking service esportsearnings.com.

Adam has amassed a total of US$357,158.63 (RM1.42 million) from 18 Dota 2 tournaments since his professional career began in 2015.

His fellow Malaysians on Team Fnatic, namely Mushi, Ohaiyo and MidOne have raked in US$773,450.02 (RM3.43 million), US$739,183.13 (RM3.28 million) and US$412,748.80 (RM1.83 million) respectively from their Dota 2 career.

Their Filipino teammate DJ is the highest earning player in the Philippines, with US$474,121.51 (RM2.1 million) to date.

Top five Malaysian Gamers

And their prize money in US Dollars

Chai Yee Fung a.k.a Mushi

Wong Hock Chuan

Khoo Chong Xin a.k.a Ohaiyo

Yeik Nai Zheng a.k. Midone

Adam Erwann Shah a.k.a 343

Gruelling training

Adam was introduced to Defence of the Ancients – the predecessor to Dota 2 – when he was in primary five. What started as a casual past time eventually became a career.

But after The International 2016 and despite his passion for the game, fatigue eventually set in.

“After I played TI, I come back and I just don’t want to play Dota. I just want to be away from it.

“I want to do stuff I haven’t done in a while, I want to see my friends, I want to go to the mamak. Maybe after a week, then I will play Dota. I still enjoy the game.”

He recalled the regimented training – better known as boot camp – he had to undergo in the lead up to The International 2016.

Along with his teammates, they had to live in a dedicated team house, away from their families, to train full time. The team’s management even supplied a cook.

“In the morning, we come down, we eat and talk, watch replays of our games or play the game. It’s just Dota. We have no time for Facebook or anything else. Dota is the only thing on your computer.

“Usually, by 1pm or 2pm, we will play like two best of three games a day. In between, we usually just have 90 minutes of rest, then we either have to go for a swim or spend time in the gym,” said Adam.

At night, Adam and his teammates will have to play more games as part of their training. This goes on for seven days a week during boot camp. To Adam and his teammates, this is essentially “full-time work”.

Adam concedes that the training regime is gruelling. The trade-off is the opportunity to travel the world as a competitive e-sports player.

The only breaks he gets to enjoy are a few days after each tournament, which he would spend with his biggest fans: His girlfriend, family and his 84-year-old grandmother.

“They all watch it on TV, even though they don’t really understand what’s going on. They’ll just be shouting at the TV. It’s really touching. When I lose, I kind of feel like I have let them down.

“I think it’s really helpful, it’s a source of motivation.”

Much like professional football, Dota 2 players can be traded or loaned, bought or sold, depending on the contract.

Since The International 2016, Adam left Team Fnatic for a Manila-based team before heading to Europe to join a team called B)ears, which consists of a German, a South Korean and two Jordanians.

Is e-sports ‘sports’?

Unlike Adam’s family, which has been open to the idea of competitive e-sports, another professional Malaysian Dota 2 player Byron Young, better known as Syeonix, struggled to convince his parents to let him pursue his dream.

Byron (photo above), from Kuala Lumpur, is the youngest in the family. His father Jefferson Young is a businessman who specialises in firefighting equipment.

Initially, the 61-year-old could not agree with Byron’s dream of playing computer games, which he believed was a waste of time, to earn a living.

Jefferson and his wife Janet Wong are avid sports fans. They enjoy squash and golf. Both of them rather have their son playing golf instead of Dota 2.

“Is e-sports even a sport? Sports means sweating and moving your muscles. You need to be fit. Do you think you can be fit by sitting around?” asked Jefferson, who interrupted Malaysiakini’s interview with his son.

Jefferson’s opinion on e-sports that they do not produce true athletes persists to this day. His opinion on his son’s career choice, on the other hand, has changed.

In December 2015, Malaysia played host to the inaugural Malaysia Cyber Games tournament and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and cabinet minister Salleh Said Keruak were guests of honour.

For Jefferson, the presence of Malaysia’s chief executive was enough to convince him that e-sports was going places.

“Even the Youth and the Sports Ministry backed MCG. From there, we learned that they may have a future. Ah Jib Gor was there. It means there is a future (in e-sports),” he quipped.

Spread your eggs

Following this, Jefferson and his wife Janet sponsored a computer for their son’s training, while Janet set up a joint account to help manage their son’s prize money.

Eventually, Byron was selected as a member of Team Taring, a team with government backing that was supposed to represent Malaysia abroad. Players drew a monthly salary of RM4,000 and lived in a training facility in Johor Baru.

Despite the media attention and government endorsement, Team Taring never made an impact on the competitive scene. It was disbanded last year.

Without a team and a source of income, Bryon is still determined to pursue his dream.

“I will give myself two years to make it. If I don’t, I’ll return to my studies. Everything must be completed before I’m 20,” said Bryon, who is now with a Kuala Lumpur-based team, Geek Fam.

Adam, who has made it in e-sports, advised all aspiring professional e-sports players not to put all their eggs in the e-sports basket.

The risks involved in e-sports are tremendously high and many will not achieve anything.

“You shouldn’t give up your life for gaming until the opportunity comes up. For me, I did it when Fnatic came to me. That was my opportunity to leave everything behind and put in my 100 percent.”

“Until such an opportunity comes up, you shouldn’t sacrifice your life. It’s kind of unstable in the sense that you can put in 200 percent everyday, but you might not make it.”

First Competitive Gaming (eSports) Academy in Malaysia

First Competitive Gaming (eSports) Academy in Malaysia

First Competitive Gaming (eSports) Academy in Malaysia – APU eSports Malaysia Academy

Kuala Lumpur,
23
February 2017

The Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) and eSports Malaysia (eSM) launched the APU eSports Malaysia Academy at APU’s new campus in Technology Park Malaysia, Bukit Jalil today.

A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between Datuk Dr. Parmjit Singh, CEO of APIIT Education Group, and Dato’ Latt Shariman Abdullah, President of eSM today.

This is the first partnership of eSM with a Malaysian university to establish an eSports academy within the university’s campus.

Deputy Higher Education Minister, Y.B. Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching witnessed the MoA signing and officiated the launching ceremony.

Jussi Pekka Tuomi (left), Computer Games Development student of APU, demonstrated his creation, Flail Rider during the launching ceremony. To date, Flail Rider has accumulated 7.5 million downloads globally.

Apart from the launch, a full-day exhibition by APU students from the Multimedia, Computer Games Development and Creative Design programmes also took place.

eSports Malaysia representative, Rinie Ramli, APIIT alumni, Wan Hazmer, who is now the Lead Game Designer of Final Fantasy XV, and APU Computer Games Development student, who is the developer of the mobile game – Flail Rider, Jussi Pekka Tuomi, also conducted talks to the participants of the event.

A MoA was signed between APIIT Education Group CEO, Datuk Dr. Parmjit Singh (right) and eSports Malaysia (eSM) President, Dato’ Latt Shariman Abdullah (left), witnessed by Deputy Minster of Higher Education, Y.B. Datuk Dr. Mary Yap Kain Ching (center).

Upon its establishment, the APU eSports Malaysia Academy will serve as a platform for students to develop and channel their passion for competitive gaming. APU and eSM will partner in giving support, training and proper guidelines to the students, in order to equip them with essential skills to be a professional game, eSports shoutcasters, team managers and so on, thus creating new opportunities and talents within the Malaysian eSports industry.

Some of the upcoming activities that will be organized by the academy include: game tournaments, seminars, industry talks and more.

Wan Hazmer, notable alumni of APIIT & Lead Game Designer of Final Fantasy XV, conducted an industrial talk to share his valuable experiences in the games industry

Prior to the initiation of the academy, the relationship between APU and eSM started in January 2015, in which APU received official endorsement from eSM to establish the APU eSports Club. To date, the eSports Club has 280 members, in which some of them represented APU and Malaysia in the global arena of eSports, such as the IEF International Collegiate Esports League 2016 held in Korea, as well as the League of Legends International Collegiate Championship 2016 in Taipei.

In his opening speech, Datuk Dr. Parmjit Singh, CEO of APIIT Education Group, said,

“ Today is a meaningful day. It is truly an honour, and a privilege for APU to be the first university in Malaysia to launch an eSports academy together with ESM. I have no doubt in my mind, that this partnership will be an amazing journey ahead. With the launch of the APU eSports Malaysia Academy, we believe that we can deliver the best programmes and activities to the students, to prepare them for their future careers in the eSports and gaming industry.”

“The Esports Academy vision is to be one of the leading Esports Academies in the world providing talents not just to our local industry but also to the international scene as well. It is well known that our local players such as Mushi, Chuan, AmTuah and many more have been competing in many international tournament all over the world so we know that our local talents are able to compete with the best in the world. However, without proper guidance and a development program, only a few are able to compete at that level and we hope with APU Esports Malaysia Academy we are able to change that. Our mission is to ensure that the students of the academy are able to master the basic skills, act professionally and are competition ready. We want the academy to be able to raise the standard of our local competitive scene to the next natural level.”

said Dato’ Latt Shariman Abdullah, President of eSM.

The event received wonderful remarks from the attendees,

“ It is about time that we establish a healthy environment for our university and school students to participate in competitive gaming, while instilling soft skills such as communication skills, leadership skills and critical thinking skills within them. We are very glad that eSM and APU came up with this initiative to establish the eSports academy within the university’s environment,”

said Deputy Higher Education Minister, Y.B. Datuk Mary Yap Kain Ching

at the launching ceremony.

Playing computer games has been a popular after-school activity for students of all ages, it is about time that we create a healthy gaming environment for the students, to ensure their privacy, safety and security.

APU also offers the BSc (Hons) in Computer Games Development & BSc (Hons) in Computer Games Development with a specialism in Games Concept Art under their School of Computing & Technology.

For more information, please visit our website

or contact student services at
+603 8996 1000 / hotline 1 300 888 278.

To be connected, join us on APU Facebook

About Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)

The Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) is amongst Malaysia’s Premier Private Universities. APU offers a wide range of degree programmes in collaboration with Staffordshire University, UK with Technology. These programmes nurture students into professionals and prepare them for challenging careers and roles in business and society globally. Professionalism, problem-solving skills, and creativity & innovation are some of the key attributes of APU graduates. The multi-cultural student community comprises both Malaysian students as well as International students.  APU has earned an enviable reputation as an award-winning University through its achievements in winning a host of prestigious awards at national and international levels. It was announced as among the Highest Rated Universities in Malaysia, being rated at TIER 5 (EXCELLENT) under the SETARA 2013 Ratings by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) on 1st November 2012.

For more information, please visit our website

Cool breezing experience watching athlete

Cool breezing experience watching athlete

Cool breezing experience watching athlete

PyeongChang Winter Olympics

Lu Wei Hoong | 13 March 2017

Ever thought about escaping the hot and humid weather of Malaysia for something different? Perhaps somewhere with winter for a change of scenery?

PyeongChang, 180km east of the South Korean capital of Seoul, would be a timely destination as it gears up for the Winter Olympics 2018.

The city is busy preparing a hospitable welcome for visitors with a new high speed rail, upgrades to hotels as well as a brand new stadium.

It is a six-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Incheon International Airport.

From there, the new Korean Train Express bullet train service, due to be completed in late 2017, will allow visitors to get to PyeongChang in just two hours.

Pyeongchang

At PyeongChang, visitors can enjoy the sights of snowy mountains and smell the breeze of fresh air.

PyeongChang is located within the province of Gangwon-do, which has a thriving agriculture industry.

Apart from the natural sights PyeongChang has to offer, the city is also pulling all the stops for an Winter Olympics experience to be remembered.

The upcoming Winter Olympics will take place from Feb 9 to 25, 2018.

Ahead of the games, the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics Centre, (address: 131, Nanseolheon-ro, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do, 25466) offers an early experience.

The sporting events are split into two clusters, namely the PyeongChang mountainous cluster and Gangneung coastal cluster.

PyeongChang will be the focal point of all snow sports, hosting the Alpensia Sports Park, Alpensia Sliding Centre, Yongpyong Alpine Centre, Jeongseon Alpine Centre and Bokwang Snow Park.

Within the Alpensia Sports Park are a ski jumping centre, biathlon centre and cross-country skiing centre.

Most importantly, it is also where the 35,000-capacity Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium is located.

A main attraction within the PyeongChang cluster is the Bokwang Snow Park. (Address: 1095, Myeonon-ri, Bongpyeong-myeon, Pyeongchang-gun, Kangwon), a popular resort for ski sports lovers.

With an annual snowfall of 210cm, visitors can enjoy uninterrupted skiing from November up until March.

Skiing and snowboarding are common sports for locals at the resort which has opened its doors for 22 years.

It will also be the place where athletes show off their free style skiing and and snowboarding skills for the Winter Olympics.

The Alpensia Sports Park (Address: 225-3 Yongsan-ri, Daekwallyeong-myeon,Pyeongchang-gun, Gangwon-do) will play host to six sports, namely cross-country skiing, nordic combined, biathlon, bobsleigh, luge and ski jumping.

The ski-jumping range has the stunning Baekdusan Mountain ridges as backdrop, a major national park in South Korea.

Organisers have made it a point to ensure that all venues are accessible within a short drive.

The Olympics Centre’s public engagement team project manager Jasmine Lim said the compact concept was a result of lessons learnt in two previous unsuccessful bids to host the Winter Olympics in 2010 and 2014.

In the two previous bids, PyeongChang narrowly lost the to Vancouver and Sochi respectively.

From the PyeongChang mountainous cluster, it is around a 30 minute ride by coach to the Gangneung coastal cluster.

In Gangneung, much of the venues are concentrated within its Olympic Park which hosts a hockey centre, oval, ice arena and curling centre. It also hosts the Kwandong Hockey Centre.

At the Gangneung Ice Arena, visitors can witness graceful skaters taking to the ice to the tune of soft musics and if they wish, toss flower bouquets or soft toys into the arena as a sign of appreciation for the performance.

After three tries, PyeongChang is set to become only the second Asian city to host the Winter Olympics after Japan’s Sapporo.

The city aspires to capitalise on the prestigious sporting event to become an Asian winter sports hub.

So if you’re up for a unique getaway, PyeongChang beckons.

This trip was sponsored by Gangwon-do Province and Korea Tourism Organisation

APU Students win first-ever scholarships in Malaysian eSports history

APU Students win first-ever scholarships in Malaysian eSports history

APU team emerges as Champion in Garena’s Malaysia Campus League Competition

Kuala Lumpur, 24 September 2016: The Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)’s first ever competitive League of Legends (LoL) student team to participate in the Malaysia Campus League (MYCL) tournament, walked away with a cash prize of RM2,500 and partial scholarships worth RM30,000 as they emerged as the champion of the tournament organized by Garena, Southeast Asia’s largest consumer internet platform company.

Held at APU’s campus in Bukit Jalil, the MYCL saw support from hundreds of students at the venue itself, as well as thousands more viewing online via Garena’s live stream platform. Garena aims to promote a healthy gaming culture among university and secondary school students through the bi-annual tournament. This edition of MYCL kicked-off in July and comprises two divisions – Collegiate for tertiary-level students and Junior for secondary school students.

The APU LoL team emerged as champion of the League of Legends Malaysia Campus League and walked away with RM2,500 cash prize and RM30,000 worth of scholarships.

This was a first time in Malaysian history, which partial scholarships are awarded to eSports excellence. Each team member from APU walked away with RM6,000 worth of scholarships.

APU’s winning team consists of 5 main players and a substitute player: Wong Hui Zyn (Team Captain), Soon Zhen Suan, Ng Hann King, Ong Chang Wai, Daniel Yap Eng Khai and Ter Wei Liang who are currently pursuing their studies in the Software Engineering, Information & Communications Technology and Intelligent Systems undergraduate programmes. They are also members of the APU eSports Club. Through the establishment of the club, APU provides support and guidance towards students in terms of creating a healthy gaming environment, as well as promotes a balance among studies and entertainment.

Apart from the attractive cash prize awards and the partial scholarship, the APU LoL team also earned an opportunity to represent Malaysia at the International eSports Festival in South Korea and the League of Legends International Collegiate Championship in Thailand later this year.

In a press conference towards the end of the MYCL Grand Finals event, APU’s team captain, Wong Hui Zyn, said:

“The team fought hard through all stages of the competition, and we truly enjoyed the process as this was our first time to participate in competitive gaming tournaments. We are glad that we earned a scholarship for playing games, which is the first in Malaysian history. We look forward to the upcoming tournaments in South Korea and Thailand.”

The APU LoL team was the first batch of students to receive a partial scholarship from Garena in Malaysia. Regarding the scholarship and MYCL efforts, Jason Ng, Vice President of Garena said:

“By offering the very first eSports scholarship in Malaysia, we hope to foster a vibrant League of Legends campus ecosystem, while at the same time helping top players in schools pursue their passion in eSports. Regardless of whether they go on to play professionally, these players will be able to bring important skills of teamwork, problem-solving and creativity to other endeavours in civil society.”

Hundreds of League of Legends (LoL) supporters viewed the Grand Finale of the League of Legends (LoL) Malaysia Campus League (MYCL) which took place in APU, Bukit Jalil.
Garena organised the Malaysian Campus League with aims to promote a healthy gaming environment among university and secondary school students.
About Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)

The Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU) is amongst Malaysia’s Premier Private Universities. APU offers a wide range of degree programmes in collaboration with Staffordshire University, UK with Technology as a common core. These programmes nurture students into professionals and prepare them for challenging careers and roles in business and society globally. Professionalism, problem-solving skills, and creativity & innovation are some of the key attributes of APU graduates. The multi-cultural student community comprises both Malaysian students as well as International students.

APU was also Rated No.1 in Asia and Malaysia for Multicultural Learning Experience by the Student Barometer Wave 2015, ‘Studying with people from other cultures’.

APU has earned an enviable reputation as an award-winning University through its achievements in winning a host of prestigious awards at national and international levels. It was announced as among the Highest Rated Universities in Malaysia, being rated at TIER 5 (EXCELLENT) under the SETARA 2013 Ratings by the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) and Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) on 1st November 2012 and has maintained this Excellent rating in the latest SETARA 2013 Ratings announced on 17th November 2014.

For more information, please visit our website

For media enquiries, please contact:

Kok Cheng Mun
Student Services & Marketing Executive
Asia Pacific University of Technology & Innovation (APU)
T: 03-8996 1000 ext 5004 | E: [email protected]