Developing e-sports in Vietnam

14:13 | 24/05/2019
In the context of the fast development of e-sports in Vietnam, Nguyen Thanh Hung, director of e-sports development at VNG, Vietnam’s first startup unicorn, shared his ideas to develop the market.
developing e sports in vietnam
Nguyen Thanh Hung, director of e-sports development at VNG

From the perspective of a publisher and organiser of game tournaments in Vietnam, how does VNG see the Vietnamese e-sports market?

Over the past few years, e-sports has become hugely popular in countries like the US and the EU with major tournaments bringing together millions of fans. In Vietnam, e-sports is still a new concept and current e-sports activities are on a spontaneous scale.

We believe that if e-sports is invested in the right direction, Vietnam will have a full convergence of factors to be able to develop into a great nation in e-sports in the region such as Korea, Thailand, and the Philippines.

Currently, e-sports has been nominated for the Asian Games 2018, SEA Games 2019, and may be nominated as an Olympic game. Therefore, e-sports have been recognised by the world as well as the region and will be able to develop like other sports.

developing e sports in vietnam
An international e-sports tournament, the CFMI 2018 tournament for the CrossFire Legends game organised by VNG on May 19-20, 2018

What pros and cons of e-sports tournaments has VNG seen so far?

The advantages are that the e-sports tournaments we hold in Vietnam have attracted the attention of many gamers, sponsors, and media companies. Currently, VNG also has the facilities and infrastructure to organise professional e-sports tournaments meeting international standards.

However, e-sports are a new concept in Vietnam and there are still many doubts about this sector and there are also some who do not accept video games as a sport and object to encouraging and supporting children to participate. Besides, because e-sports are new, Vietnam does not have specific management mechanisms to organise professional competitions. Sanctions and clear directions need to be issued to deal with unauthorised competitions are also lacking.

What mechanisms does Vietnam need to exploit the e-sports market?

First of all, we hope to receive larger interest from the media, and the awareness of e-sports will improve significantly.

The country should organise large professional tournaments to increase awareness of e-sports. There also need to be common standards for all e-sports disciplines.

Then, we would need to attract investors to build “Gaming houses” (a training place for e-sports athletes) to offer e-sports players a formal training environment recognised by the state.

In addition, we need to be responsible in helping e-sports athletes, so that they themselves and the society will realise that e-sports are a serious industry and a valid career choice with a stable income and is more than simply playing games for entertainment.

Building on your experience in organising e-sports tournaments, what would VNG recommend Vietnam to develop e-sports? What are VNG's upcoming plans now that the Mid Season Invitational League of Legends tournament touched down in Vietnam this year?

Currently, because the country has no management mechanism or laws on professional e-sports competitions, we cannot organise a great e-sport tournament. The global e-sports industry is expected to hit the billion dollar mark in 2020. To take advantage of this potential, e-sports need to be recognised by the state. More specifically, the country should have a private organisation to take responsibility for the entire tournament and manage e-sports athletes.

We also need a strong e-sports community, getting more experienced through competing in domestic tournaments, to find talent who can represent the country to compete in regional and world tournaments.

VNG wishes to bring international e-sports tournaments to Vietnam to contribute to promoting e-sports.

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