27 JULY- World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation, through WIEF Young Leaders Network (WYN), organised the third edition of its WIEF thinkTALK Series 2021, Game on: Tapping into Gaming and Esports Businesses on 27 July 2021 at 4:00 to 5:00 PM (GMT +8) via Zoom.
The session role-players were Chester King, CEO of British Esports Association, United Kingdom and Wan Hazmer, CEO of Metronomik Sdn Bhd Malaysia. The one-hour session was moderated by Kamarul Bahrin Haron, an experienced journalist, editor, anchor, moderator and trainer.
Esports as well as gaming have burst into mainstream businesses in recent years and are becoming multi-billion-dollar opportunity for progressive investors. The global gaming market was valued at USD162 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach a value of USD295 billion by 2026.
Chester explained, ‘in the UK, you can actually study full time esports in high school but it’s not about becoming a better gamer, it’s about learning transferable skills. It’s (about) learning soft skills and resiliency. You could also be learning about the business of esports or the agency of esports. There are six universities in the UK, where you can study esports as well.’
The one hour session discussed how esports and online gaming have now evolved into means of communication for not only teens, but also adults who are now primarily stuck at home. Unlike most other forms of games as well as social media, which are mostly passive media, esports is an active media. Chester compared esports to the game of chess, where players are constantly improving their brain by trying to outdo the opponent.
‘Online gaming, like social media, is not harmful. It’s all about the holder or the person playing the game. We as game developer are responsible in ensuring that the image of the industry is not tarnished, by not developing games that are associated with negative elements such as gambling.’ Wan Hazmer said. He added, ‘In Metronomik, we make sure every game we created comes with a positive message for the players, be it kids or adults.’
Comparing esports to FIFA, Chester explained that the investment opportunity is limitless. ‘Each (game) title has a different atmosphere. For example, Call of Duty generated USD20 billion in revenue over recent years. For comparison sake, Star Wars films collectively generated USD9 billion in revenue, Harry Potter around USD5 billion.’ He added, ‘people are comparing sponsorship in football with esports. Let me remind you that football, such as the Premier League has been around for decades. Esports is just starting and the prospect is bigger than football.’
Big names are constantly coming in to sponsor games and esports events, mainly because they realize that advertising in esports are more niche and they can their target audience and demographic.
The panelists agree that esports and online gaming have created a level playing ground for all gender and ethnicity. ‘Anyone can be a good gamer. There’s no barrier, doesn’t matter if you are girl or even on wheelchair.’ Chester said.
According to a statistic by British Esports Association, 33 per cent of players are women, who are competing professionally. The game Call of Duty in the UK is played by 600,000 women, out of 2.6 million players playing every day. The association is constantly creating an environment where women are appreciated.
‘The problem with video games, when it comes to increase diversity is that the big giants are primarily Japan, US and UK. US and UK are looking up to Western cultures and Western values, and a lot of the old Japanese video games are based on medieval culture.’ Explained Wan Hazmer, who worked in Japan for ten years, as Lead Game Designer for Final Fantasy XV, among other games in the franchise.
‘The brainwashing that has happened in the 90s and 2000 might have affected some of us. When we came up with (a game called) Mystery Road, we insisted that the voice over should be of their natural local Malaysian accent. To my surprise, almost more than half the team were against it when they heard it. They think that local means low quality. I think that mindset has to be removed before we can become the giants in online gaming.’
Wan Hazmer explained, ‘80 per cent of my crew are fresh local graduates. The reason is very simple, because, I feel that Malaysia has a lot of talent. It’s just that the talent pool does not have faith in the gaming industry or doesn’t even know that the gaming industry exists.’ He added, ‘I would encourage everyone in this world, and especially people who want to develop video games to step out of their comfort zone. I’ve always believed that a good game designer designs less games and experiences life more.’
For more information or interview requests, contact Faizah Jaafar at +6019 399 7746 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or follow WIEF Foundation on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter for regular updates on future events and happenings. Visit www.wief.org.
About WIEF Foundation’s Young Leaders Network (WYN)
Aimed at promoting cross-border business opportunities and social projects for the common good, the WYN is a global youth network for young pioneers and changemakers to connect and collaborate. WYN’s flagship leadership programme, Young Fellows, focuses on creating a top-class leadership mentality in the next generation, coupled with a strong moral compass embodied in its philosophy of altruistic leadership under the tagline Learn. Empower. Earn. Return.
WYN organises flagship programmes such as the WIEF IdeaLab (a boutique startup networking conference), the annual WIEF Young Fellows programme (a leadership programme nurturing top class leaders with a strong moral compass), the MOCAfest (WIEF’s creative arts initiative to help empower creative talents across the globe), the MOCAfellows (a creative arts residency for emerging artists), the Internship Programme (a cross-border internship placement programme), ThinkTalk (a community dialogue session) and the WYN Networking Evening (a speed networking event, bringing together young professionals from different industries).
About World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation (WIEF)
Established in March 2006, the WIEF aims to enhance and elevate the economic situation of communities around the world through encouraging trade and business opportunities and by undertaking various capacity building programmes mainly the annual World Islamic Economic Forum. The platform promotes an inclusive global economy by promoting business cooperation among Muslims and non-Muslim communities. As a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that organises and manages the Forum, we are dedicated to building bridges through business and ultimately promotes stronger cross-border partnerships for the economic well- being of nations worldwide.
The Forum also brings together government leaders, captains of industry, entrepreneurs, corporate executives and academicians from various fields across major economic centres around the world to discuss current issues that affect and shape the future of the commerce industry. The programmes within the Forum consists of panel discussions and master-classes that demonstrate thought leadership on current economic issues.
Aside from the WIEF Forum, we have various other exciting initiatives and activities which offers impactful networking opportunities such as the;
- WIEF Roundtable series (WRT),
- WIEF Education Trust (WET),
- WIEF Businesswomen Network (WBN) and;
- WIEF Young Leaders Network (WYN).
LinkedIn: WORLD ISLAMIC ECONOMIC FORUM FOUNDATION (WIEF)
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Role Players Profile
Chief Executive Officer
British Esports Association
Chester King has a 28 year career in healthcare, sport and since 2015 in esports. In 2016, he founded the British Esports Association, with authority from the UK Government, as the national body (not-for-profit) for esports in the UK.
British Esports has co-created with Pearson esports qualifications for schools and colleges (approved by the UK Gov’s Department of Education). In 2019, Chester created the London Royal Ravens, the UK’s Call of Duty League franchise, with ReKTGlobal (owners of ROGUE) and is a co-owner.
Chester was appointed a member (volunteer) of the International Olympic Committee’s ‘Esports and Gaming Liaison Group’ in April 2019. Chester was appointed a member of the board (volunteer) of the Global Esports Federation in December 2019.
In 2020, Chester was the chair of the Education, Culture and Wellness Commission and sat on the Membership and Technical Commissions with Tencent. He was appointed a Vice President in August 2020.
Currently, Chester is the co-chair of the Technical Commission and sits on the Governance, Ethics and Standards Commission. In August 2020, he was appointed as a Trade Advisor Group member for the UK Government’s Department of International Trade (DIT) for the Creative Industries.
Co-founder and CEO of Metronomik
Wan Hazmer is the co-founder and CEO of Metronomik, a Malaysian video game company that creates original IPs with seamless music and game design integration. He’s the game director of Metronomik’s debut game No Straight Roads, available for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch. Before establishing Metronomik in December 2017, he lived in Japan for ten years. He worked for Square Enix for eight years as Lead Game Designer for Final Fantasy XV, among other games in the franchise. His main goal in life is to craft memorable experiences that put Malaysia on the world map.
Kamarul Bahrin Haron
Journalist, Editor, Anchor, Moderator & Trainer
Kamarul Bahrin Haron is a Journalist, Editor, Anchor, Moderator and Trainer. He has been in the print, broadcasting as well as digital media industry of Malaysia for over 20 years. He was an Editor in Chief at Astro Awani, a Malaysian pay television news channel. Kamarul now freelances his media consultancy, training and