Yes – “Cybersports” is a thing

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Call me old fashioned, but I grew up in a time when gaming was a hobby that you had to play sneakily behind your grandmother’s back and that you earned time for it by doing well at exams. Never in my wildest teenage dreams did I imagine that there would ever be a league of professional gamers.

Not only is it a thing, it is a paying job! Gosh, why did you discourage me from playing my games grandma?

I’ve been told that some direct jobs in this space include being a professional gamer, commonly referred to as an e-sports athlete, although such full-time professionals are a minority.

Nicholas Khoo is the Chairman and Co-founder of the Singapore Cybersports & Online Gaming Association (SCOGA). He tells us that “Besides them (the professional gamers), we think that there are opportunities in broadcasting, media streaming and event organising, and we’re trying to see what more there is (to get involved in).”

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SCOGA wants to define the opportunities in this fast-growing sphere and it is working with industry partners to do just that. SCOGA members will get to embark on a training academy that offers courses and workshops on the technical and soft skills needed to succeed in the industry.

In fact right now, they’re launching a spanking new “eSports initiative” and they’re looking to hire full time staff.

The cybersports industry is so niche and so new, there is much to do. Professionalising the sector is one concern. As is cyber wellness and digital literacy programmes. The association works with government bodies, industry players, schools and parents to educate them on the benefits, health and safety on the sport.

Do you hear this grandma? It’s a sport!! And it’s rewarding!

To do well in this field, Nicholas tells us that technical skills is necessary knowledge as is the ability to do well in specific games. Apart from that, human touch soft skills including leadership and communication are considerably important.

“While these are not new skills, they take a very different form in a high-pace, high-stakes game. We can explore and see how some of these skills can be useful later in life. It should not be disconnected, especially in a world where we have such a strong digital lens,” he said.

As the association seeks to expand its footprint in Singapore, it is in close collaboration with the labour movement’s network, tapping on a wealth of people power, knowledge and well-established connections. SCOGA will be speaking at NTUC’s U Future Leader’s Summit 2016 on the 18th of November 2016 along side Professor Kishore Mahbubani and Secretary-General of the NTUC Chan Chun Sing.

The world is certainly transforming at faster rates than before. Our jobs are constantly being reshaped, the way we work…the things we do for work are so very much more different.

 

 

About the author

Benjamin Chiang

Benjamin Chiang is an enthusiast of good advertising, deep thinking, labour issues and chocolate. He writes also at www.rangosteen.com and occasionally on Yahoo!

The views expressed are his own.

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