Myanmar Gaming Stars Face Obstacles in Tough eSports Journey
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Hanoi (AFP) – Myanmar’s eSports athletes must battle not just online opponents, but also a grating national infrastructure in their bid to break into the fiercely competitive world of gaming.
Relatively new to the burgeoning esports scene, Myanmar sees esports as a way to connect with the outside world, a senior gaming official in the country told AFP at the SEA Games in Hanoi, the capital. Vietnamese.
Esports is a popular choice among many young Asians looking for the promise of fame and fortune in the digital battlefield.
But Myanmar’s budding gaming stars face challenges unthinkable for many of their rivals.
Power cuts and internet connection problems are common obstacles in this developing country where the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi was overthrown by the military in February 2021.
“Power outages are a difficult factor,” said Myanmar Sports Federation vice-president Kaung Myat San, adding that players who don’t have backup generators “will struggle”.
Myanmar is plagued by a fragile power grid that particularly stumbles during the hot summer months when electricity consumption is high, forcing residents to buy expensive generators for their electricity needs.
Another obstacle is the country’s internet, which, although “improving”, is still slower than other countries, Kaung said.
Players can experience “high ping” – a lag between the player entering a command and the server responding to it – which can be fatal in a sport where fractions of seconds are the difference between online life and death .
“High ping is a problem for some games, especially for competing in international events hosted online,” he said, adding that it was “only a small percentage,” however.
He declined to comment on whether his country’s political unrest was a factor in local esports performance.
Highlighting fears people have of being seen criticizing the ruling junta, an eSports player at the SEA Games declined to be named as he described how they sometimes have to jump from place to place in the middle of the day when the power is off. .
He said they usually get around 18 hours of electricity a day.
“Catching up with the world”
ESports debuted at the biennial SEA Games in 2019 and was also due to feature at the Asian Games in China later this year, before those Games were postponed due to Covid. For years, talk has been circulating that eSports will one day make the Olympics.
Meanwhile, international gaming competitions can attract vast online and in-person audiences and prize pools in the tens of millions of dollars.
The hurdles Myanmar teams face haven’t stopped some from making their mark in esports.
Burmese Ghouls, a professional team, took second place in the Mobile Legends M2 World Championship in January 2021.
At the SEA Games in Hanoi, a row of eSports players from Myanmar furiously tapped their phones against Singapore during a League of Legends: Wild Rift group stage match on Friday.
After a 15-minute battle, the Myanmar side retreated from the brightly lit stage with their second loss of the day after being beaten earlier by Vietnam.
The athletes declined to speak to the media, avoiding questions.
Kaung said that despite the loss, the country’s 29-member esports team still have a chance to win medals in two more mobile gaming events in Hanoi.
He is confident about Myanmar’s long-term playing prospects, but the players need help.
“For our players to overcome these issues, they need to join professional eSports organizations that can support them. Sponsoring them can advance their careers,” he said.
“Thanks to eSports, we can catch up with the world.”
© 2022 AFP