DOST-NCR to be Lead Agency in Esports Development

Let the games begin!

The Department of Science and Technology - National Capital Region (DOST-NCR) will be taking the lead in developing the e-sports industry in the country's regions. This came about after DOST, led by its Secretary Dr. Renato U. Solidum, Jr., signed a Memorandum of Understanding on 19 February 2024 with the Esports World Federation (ESWF), represented by its Founder and CEO Mr. Arnerl O. Gutierrez, to support the growth and development of the gaming industry and digital sports in the country.

Esports in the Philippines has been steadily climbing in popularity over the last decade. As of 2021's statistics, there were already more than 43 million active gamers in the country. The Philippine is also ranked number 18 in the world in terms of e-sports earnings, with 1,777 Filipino esports players pocketing a total of $20,492,446.42 USD in prize money1 across 1,363 tournaments.2

As the lead agency for the regions, DOST-NCR will be playing an integral role in ensuring the success of the partnership, along with the ESWF and DOST's Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD). This includes coming up with initiatives to obtain the partnership's four objectives, namely:

- Talent Development. 16 DOST Regional Offices and their partner local governments and State Universities and Colleges will be mobilized to identify and nurture local gaming and digital sports talents. Training programs, workshops, and seminars will be organized to equip aspiring players with the necessary skills and knowledge. - Event and Competition Promotion. Events, conferences, and competitions will be organized at the regional and national levels, aside from yearly exhibits that will show off Filipino innovations in digital games and esports. - Income Generation. Lucrative opportunities will be created for Filipino game developers, esports players, and other industry actors through participation in local and international events and commercial agreements. - Global marketing and recognition. The partnership will actively promote and market Filipino-developed digital games and esports talents in the international stage. Global partnerships and investments will also be secured to maximize the financial benefits for the Philippine gaming ecosystem.

The good news is that DOST will not be starting from scratch in achieving these objectives. There is already a four-year course available that leads to a degree in

Bachelor of Science in Esports. This is at the Lyceum of the Philippines University, which is offering the course in partnership with Tier One Entertainment. Students can choose to enroll in either esports Management, or Game Design and Development.3 Another company, AcadArena, hosts esports events for local colleges and universities, aside from providing esports scholarships.4

Esports has indeed moved out of the basement and onto the world stage. The reason behind its popularity is easy to see - aside from providing intellectually stimulating entertainment, esports is also a relatively new field that can boost the country's economy by creating jobs for organizers, Filipino content creators, and the electronics, ICT, and start up industries in the Philippines.