Working in the esports industry is like any other job!

By Natasha Hashim 

[First published on IGN Southeast Asia Website here]

Growing up, I actually wanted to become a game developer and write stories about games (I’m a huge JRPG fan). My mother was super against it due to the dim career prospects at the time. That was around the year 2009. However, times have changed and gaming and esports have made a huge impact in the world. After all, it is one of the biggest revenue makers in the entertainment industry today.

Despite that, many parents still believe that working in the esports industry is all about being very good at video games or just playing games all day in front of the computer. If your parents are like that, show them this article.

In this feature, I’m hoping to reach out to parents and show them that anyone can work in the esports industry. You’d find not only gamers in esports, but also lawyers, doctors, accountants, editors and more.

Esports Lawyer

​​I bet you didn’t think there would be a lawyer who specialised in esports, did you? Meet Richard Wee, an esports lawyer based in Malaysia. He’s a Managing Partner of a Law Firm named Richard Wee Chambers (RWC) and he offers a wide range of legal services that also cover esports.

To get to where he is now, he completed a Law Degree from the University of London. In addition, he holds a Certificate of Legal Practice as well as a Certificate of Sports Arbitration (among the many other certificates and awards he has under his belt).

To date, he’s handled some vital esports-related initiatives in Malaysia, including the National Esports Blueprint by the Malaysian Ministry Youth and Sports in 2019. He also advised several esports startups on esports governance, agreements and sports integrity. Besides providing legal aid to a well-known Malaysian streamer who was harassed online, Wee has also helped numerous esports players resolve various contract disputes.

Wee told IGN Southeast Asia recently that those who want to specialise in esports law ought to be technically equipped due to the rapidly growing nature of the industry. Gaining the knowledge and understanding the know-how of esports is very important. He said knowing the who’s who in esports is equally important because these personalities, companies and players influence the way this industry develops.

Marketing and Business Development Manager

Those in the business line can also find work in the esports sector. Fikri Rizal Mahruddin is a Business Development Manager in Moonton, the developer of one of the biggest games in Southeast Asia – Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB).

His job is to help grow the MLBB esports ecosystem through partnerships and sponsorships, besides connecting brands with gamers to allow brands to tap into the esports industry.

He shared that while he wasn’t a smart kid, he still managed to earn a degree in public relations. Experience-wise, he started working when he was young and his vast experience, coupled with passion in youth development and growing businesses, allowed him to come this far in the industry.

His past experiences are impressive: he was a student manager under Red Bull, where he went through some sweet and bitter moments. One of the biggest lessons he learned was how to deal with rejection (an event proposal he prepared was chucked into a dustbin right in front of him).

Soon after that, he joined Garena, where he worked on community and events before moving to a partnerships role a few years after. This was when he managed to develop a working relationship with the biggest football club in Malaysia, JDT.

He then moved on to Malaysian media giant Media Prima, where he led several esports campaigns. One of the biggest events he worked on was the Kejohanan Esports Kampus (KEK), which aimed to educate university students about the esports ecosystem.

Fikri advised those who aspire to work in esports and gaming to not compare themselves with others who play more video games than them. He is a father of two children with normal interests and hobbies. The industry is much like any other industry,” Fikri said.

“When it comes to work, you need to pour your blood, sweat and tears into it. We don’t just play games. It’s not like if you’re working in a food industry, the only thing you do is eat. Same goes for this industry,” he stressed.

He also said that there is a wide range and opportunities in the esports industry to accommodate entertainers, professional players, and corporate professionals. “Even tourism, yo! Saw a lot of gaming hotels popping up lately!” he exclaimed.

His final advice: Work as hard as you can and always be sincere with your work.

Gaming News Portal Editor

The news and content gamers consume from day to day must have people behind it, does it not? One of them is Adrian Lai, the Head of Games Network at REV Media Group where he oversees the content strategy of IGN Southeast Asia and MyGameOn. In addition, he also helps plan, organize and execute gaming and esports events in Malaysia and he’s also the Chief Editor of IGN SEA.

His qualifications include a Degree in the Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in journalism and he is one of the veterans in Malaysia’s journalism industry (ten years, to be precise). Back in university, he used to organize esports tournaments and contributed esports pieces to online news portals like GosuGamers and provided funding for up-and-coming Malaysian esports teams.

“My experience at the workplace has been nothing short of exciting. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a fun group of passionate content producers who are knowledgeable in both esports and video games,” he shared. To date, he and his team have created content both educational and entertaining for their audiences.

When the pandemic hit, his esports and gaming projects were aimed at entertaining those at home. These included Pesta Game and Squad Up.

He told us, “To be honest, I never dreamed of doing anything special in particular. I just knew that I wanted to help make a positive difference in society and do my best at whatever I put my mind to. Growing up, I loved reading, writing, working with others, and playing video games. I’m glad that I managed to pursue a career that allowed me to not only harness my passion but also serve the community in a small way.”

He shared that it is important to realise that “when it comes to sports, regardless of whether it’s physical or virtual, the negative stereotype surrounding it is very difficult to dispel.” We’ve seen parents who discourage their children from pursuing a career in football and the same can be applied to a career in gaming.

He advised students to show their parents that they are able to manage their time by doing well in their studies while also excelling in video games.

“At least, if you do well in your studies, you can afford to take some years off to pursue esports and if it doesn’t work out, there is something else you can fall back on. And esports is a growing industry, so it’s not just about playing video games,” he said.

He adds that in the esports industry, the sky’s the limit when it comes to career advancement. “You can carve out a career in tournament organizing or video games journalism. You could also be part of an esports production crew, a content creator, or even a game developer”.

Esports Journalist

Hazril Md Nor is an editor and writer at a local Malaysian esports portal. He said: “News writing in the esports industry is a branch that was said to be with few opportunities”. Most people who delve into the world of esports often choose the path of a pro player instead of a games journalist, despite its important role.

He started his stint as a journalist at Harian Metro where he first began writing about general news. Then, he shifted his focus to delivering gaming news. “During those days, gaming and esports was something rarely reported in the local papers.”

As an esports journalist, Hazril has attended many esports events ranging from CS:GO, Dota 2, FIFA, PES, Mobile Legends and PUBG Mobile throughout his career. Hazril mentioned, “For me, even with the active communities, the mass media still plays a vital role to highlight players who need the spotlight and to always show a positive image of esports to everyone.

“I once interviewed a few parents to find out their perspectives about their children delving into the world of esports. Surprisingly, many supported their children’s decision to dive into this industry,” he added.

Hazril is an avid gamer, especially on the mobile platform. His favourites include Wild Rift, MLBB, PUBGM and more. “These kinds of games might look easy, but the complexity increases especially in a competitive environment. I’ve always written articles about the benefits of playing games and turning it into a career and how it produces more job opportunities,” he explained.

During his three-year tenure in Harian Metro, Hazril felt that he has helped many individuals and event pro players in the esports industry share their stories and give them exposure. This, in turn, has left a lasting impact on many of his readers.

Today, Hazril is an editor at a Malaysian esports gaming portal called MyGameOn, where he is able to freely experiment with content to play a more proactive role in the local esports community. He not only writes articles but also educates the public through videos and social posts.

He said, “For esports fans, a career in esports is not only about becoming a professional player. For those behind the scenes, I appreciate your hard work in elevating the industry to the next level.”

Marketing and PR

If marketing is more your speed, there’s room for you in esports as well. Tiffani Lim, or better known as Oling in the Malaysian esports community, is the Head of Marketing and PR at Battle Arena Malaysia. She is also the Chairperson of the International Esports Federation (IESF) Athletes Committee and the Advisor of the Malaysian Esports Players Association (MESPA).

According to Lim, there isn’t a particular set of skills needed to get a job in her scope of work. Her experiences – from trying out different career choices that the esports industry has to offer – is the reason why she is where she is today. She’s gone from being a professional esports athlete to organizing tournaments – she’s pretty much done it all. “The multitude of roles and exposure I’ve had in my early esports years allows me to have a holistic view of the industry,” she shared.

Her workplace is extremely welcoming with people from different backgrounds who are all united for their love for esports. “When you work together with fellow gamers it just feels different, simply because you speak the same language,” Lim said.

Throughout her time with Battle Arena since 2018, she has helped build the company from the ground up. They have co-organized and hosted countless local, regional and international events including one of her own tournaments she headed: Flight of the Valkyries (FV), the very first female LAN tournament in Asia.

Lim mentioned that it has always been her dream to work in the esports industry full-time. Her advice for those aspiring to join the industry is to know what exactly you want to do in esports. However, it is important to not get ahead of yourself as it is a highly competitive environment.

“Be mindful of the realities of the industry.

“Don’t be afraid to try out different paths, you never know where they might bring you. Passion goes a long way in this industry, and that’s what’s amazing about esports.”

Lastly she adds, “Stay humble and be willing to learn; the industry is small and word spreads so don’t think you can get away with bad behavior. Always do the right thing even when nobody’s watching.”

Sales Executive

Burhan Zamri is a jack of all trades when it comes to esports. Currently, he is the Sales and Marketing Executive at ESL Malaysia. For those who aren’t familiar with ESL, they are a production crew who organize esports tournaments and events for the Malaysian esports scene.

Qualification-wise, he isn’t one of the highest achievers out there. Ending his studies with only SPM (a high school diploma), he got involved in the industry by writing freelance for various gaming websites before becoming a full-time writer.

After a two-year stint at games journalism, he decided to take a leap into esports as a Sales and Marketing Executive. His job includes reaching out to brands and companies to explore how they can amplify their presence in esports. He’s managed to secure sponsors for the Wild Rift SEA ICON Series Summer Season Tournament. In addition, he’s also gotten brands like MAGGI, JBL and Yoodoo as sponsors for other various tournaments as well.

“We were constantly making sure their sponsorships were carried out in an impactful way via social media content, livestream chat interactions, and broadcast placements.

“I’ve observed three important skills that you need to thrive in esports: discipline, communication, and creativity.” He emphasized that esports is about having fun while ensuring satisfaction for everyone involved. Time management is especially important and you must also remember to challenge yourself to create new ideas to please esports fans.

Never did he think that he would manage to land a job in esports and gaming. He started his career selling furniture at IKEA before deciding to jump into gaming the moment the opportunity presented itself. “Every career choice I’ve made in these past few years have been decided on a whim,” he shared.

Personally, I can relate with many of the stories shared. So long as you finish your studies and at least get a degree, you can pretty much go anywhere in esports. Good luck!


Published on 19 July 2021

ALB MLA Law Awards 2021 Finalist Badge - Richard Wee Chambers

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