Manila Major is a big thing for the eSports scene in the Philippines. We dropped by to see how the event turned out and it was electrifying to be with a crowd that was hyped to see their favorite teams duke it out in the highest possible fashion live in this 6-day big event that happened at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Watching It Live Is A Whole New Experience
Witnessing the action up close and watching the production team create a well-orchestrated event gave us high hopes for future events here in the Philippines when it comes to eSports.
As spectators, we came in half-baked, unfamiliar with the current meta and the current teams dominating, making heads turn as they make the crazy plays. This makes us appreciate the production value found in this year's Manila Major since it was easy to follow a MOBA match by simply staring at a big screen. There were features like split screens, mini windows popping up showing what's happening on another part of the map, and crucial commentary to keep the audience focused on the match. It was interesting to see everything working together to keep the audience informed from the drafting to when a team admits defeat and types "GG". Then you have the crowd always engaged, always reacting to every big clash happening on the screen. Watching an eSports match live with this level of quality is actually an entertaining affair regardless of your knowledge of the game and teams involved.
Information to better educate the audience was also a thing we noticed during our time at the Manila Major. Every sport has stats, and eSports is no exception -- there are player stats and statistics, player highlights and interview sessions being flashed before, during, and after a match. It maybe nothing new for some, but seeing it for the first time gives a sense of realization that eSports is no longer that little kid people judged for being different. But I guess the $3M prize pool for the Manila Major should have been the big hint with how big it is. 3M is considered nothing too if you compare it to this year's The International, which now has a prize pool of $16M as of this writing.
It was crazy from start to finish, and the Grand Finals was jammed-packed and televised on TV5, with Team OG taking the tournament with a 3-1 win over Team Liquid. With ESL One and Manila Major alone, it paints us a pretty picture of eSports for the SEA region. With this big of an outcome and enthusiasm from the audience here in the Philippines, we wouldn't be surprised if more known organizations will test the waters further by bringing in other games.
eSports is everywhere and it's going to continue to be a force people will have to adjust to. Watching someone play a video game in your TV isn't an unusual thing. Cheering for your favorite gamers and treating them as rock stars is also something considered as the norm. This thing called eSports is a funny thing, but you know what's the scary part? It hasn't hit it's peak.