Esports will be the main event at this year’s Brunei December Festival (BDF) following the government’s endorsement of this growing sector in the country.

The Ministry of Primary Resources and Tourism (MPRT) said it has recognised the explosive growth of esports in the region and that it is looking to engage with relevant stakeholders to host the tournaments at a grand scale later in December.

In an interview with online news site The Bruneian, MPRT minister YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong said that the ministry will approach technology firms and higher learning institutions to consult in diversifying the esports categories, with the intent of making the event highly educational for members of the public.

“Esports should not be restricted solely to video games. It is strongly linked to tech developments, creativity and innovation,” said the minister, adding that other tech-related activities such as hackatons and drone racing could be included in the upcoming BDF.

The competitive sports scene in Brunei went through a resurgence recently following a long hiatus. The local gaming community is bullish with this trend as more Bruneians are taking part in both national and regional tournaments, coupled with the outpouring of support from the government and private sector.

Esports is big business globally, with major leagues such as the World Electronic Sports Games giving away millions of dollars in cash prizes to winning teams, as well as turning e-athletes into overnight celebrities and brand ambassadors.

2019 will also be a banner year for esports in ASEAN as the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games will include esports for the first time. Five games, including Mobile Legends and Tekken 7, have been announced for the SEA Games which will be held in the Philippines later this year.

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