BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, March 30 (Xinhua) -- The Brunei government's support in the efforts at creating an e-sports association has helped promote and legitimize the sport in the sultanate.
During a recent Legislative Council meeting, the Brunei Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports revealed that they are welcoming the setting up of an e-sports association that can spearhead the development of the sports and its athletes in the country.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Hj Aminuddin Ihsan said the ministry has always encouraged various types of sports in the country.
"This includes e-sports," Ihsan said, adding the setting-up of an official e-sports body would give direction to the development of the industry in a more systematic way.
Hawaii Yee, founder of BruGames Management Services, said that an association will allow Brunei gamers to participate in more regional competitions.
"With an association, we can work hand in hand with other regional associations to help improve competitiveness among each other which can improve the level of game play of the whole region," he told Xinhua on Friday.
"As for Brunei, the association will be key in helping teams achieve better results in international tournaments by providing assistance in the form of facilities or financial support," he added.
Yee said a gaming body in the country can also help raise awareness on competitive gaming and also help provide more jobs in Brunei.
"You can build a career out of it, from being a player, tournament organizer, team manager and team coach, among others," he said.
"Brunei having an e-sports association will also allow the public to have more confidence in local tournaments as it would have the official endorsement of governing body."
Such tournaments will provide the country with opportunities to scout for national representatives for regional events, added Yee.
The 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games), to be hosted in the Philippines, will see e-sports as an official sport at its competition schedule, with six gold medals to be offered across three platforms -- two each for console, mobile and PC.
"We are unsure if Brunei can register in time as the association is still under review by the country's Registrar of Societies. We hope that a decision can be given by this month so we can prepare the necessary documents required to register for the e-sports category for SEA Games 2019," Yee said.
Richardson, a competitive gamer in Brunei, said an official body for gaming will help dispel the negative stigma that comes with playing games.
"Most parents are against their children gaming but an association -- and if they start winning in gaming competitions -- might change the minds of the parents," said the 26-year-old.
He spoke of his own experience where he struggled to gain approval from his family when he first ventured into competitive gaming.
"Even though I have won competitions in Brunei, I haven't won anything outside of the country. My parents sometimes think I am wasting my time," he said.
"I was very happy to hear that e-sports would be featured in this year's SEA Games, I told my family immediately but they weren't all supportive," he added.
Richardson said that the setting up of an e-sports body would also strengthen the gaming community in Brunei.
"I hope it will get more people interested in e-sports and that it will help to strengthen and improve the community here," he said.