With the rise of eSports globally and the traction it’s getting here in Malaysia, Astro recently launched its very own 24/7 eSports channel called eGG Network. We had the chance to interview Lee Choong Khay, VP of Sports Business of Astro, about his views on eSports and what he hopes for eGG.
1. What are your aspirations for eGG Network? What do you wish for it to achieve in 2 years’ time?
eGG Network is driven to go beyond being a channel into being a major player in the eSports industry. Our previous offerings in 2015 have brought in over 5 million viewers contributed by The International 2015 with 1.7 million viewers and League of Legends Worlds 2015 with 3.1 million viewers.
We believe that with eGG Network, our showing of eSports content will gain more popularity and viewership numbers. We aspire to bring together a connected eSports community through a common channel like eGG Network in the region.
eGG Network plans to further to offer its own eSports tournaments, events and in-house gaming entertainment programmes. This as a whole creates and houses a community of like-minded eSports fans in one eGG Network.
2. How do you see eGG Network benefitting the eSports scene in Malaysia?
eSports is a growing worldwide trend and having a 24/7 channel like eGG Network would grow the industry in various aspects. For the eSports Fans, they will be treated with the best eSports tournaments from The International, League of Legends Worlds, CS:GO E League, FIFA Interactive World Cup and more in full HD on eGG Network.
Our gaming entertainment programmes will provide gaming tips, expert guides, walkthroughs. New eSports fans are not left out as we will be having tutorial programmes for existing and new games like DOTA 2, Overwatch and more. We will also be organizing our own eSports tournaments and events to engage with viewers, fans and nurture eSports talent among Malaysians.
Having a dedicated channel like eGG Network also enhances the value of eSports as companies and advertisers now have an avenue to reach out to the millennials. We’ve seen positive response from the industry while several companies have also engaged us to partner on programmes and eSports tournaments. This in turn will grow eSports similarly to the likes of existing sports with sponsorships, advertising and merchandising.
3. With so many eSports tournaments popping up, will one channel be enough to broadcast all the content?
Currently we are focusing on the main tournaments while we would love to see a day where there are multiple channels from eGG Network. Perhaps www.egg.network would be able to offer more programming in the future.
4. Are there any plans for eGG Network to organise its own eSports tournament or event? If so, could you tell us more about it?
Yes, we are in the works to produce our own eSports tournaments with popular games like DOTA 2 in consideration. Being our first tournament, we have to ensure the highest of quality while having the right partner is crucial for us. You will definitely hear from us when we announce it.
5. Many are saying that eSports isn’t an actual sport but just a bunch of guys playing games. What do you think about this?
Being a sports man myself, I would have to disagree. Being an eSports athlete is a profession where individuals dedicate their resources in being the best to compete. The amount level of commitment, training and hours put in is similar to that of a sports athlete. Day in day out, eSports athletes train to perfect a particular skill or team maneuver just like how the likes of footballers train their shooting or team set-piece plays. They may not compete with a ball on a field but they are surely sportsmen on the eSports arena.
6. Seeing the Manila Major being a huge success, do you think Malaysia is capable of organising a similarly successful event?
Yes, we believe that with the right partners, teams and support from eSports fans a similar event is possible. eGG Network aims to bring the first major eSports tournament to Malaysia.
Astro’s move with eGG Network is certainly a welcome move for the eSports community in Malaysia. It’s a refreshing change for a big brand to embrace eSports the way Astro has done, and for the growth of eSports in Malaysia, we certainly hope there will be more following in Astro’s footsteps.