Hyperplay 2018
Credit: Hyperplay 2018

Hyperplay – Baby Steps for Singapore’s eSports Scene

Over the weekend (4th and 5th August), MCCY (Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth) and NYC (National Youth Council) teamed up with Riot Games and MTV Spotlight at Hyperplay to present an amalgamation of music and the world’s most popular eSport, League of Legends.

League of Legends (much to the probable disagreement of DOTA players), is MOBA magic. 2017’s League of Legends World Championship was watched by 33 million viewers, in comparison to 20.4 million viewers that the NBA finals drew. The eSport is finally beginning to take off in Singapore, with Ngee Ann Polytechnic being the first to introduce League of Legends as a co-curricular activity in Singapore.

Hyperplay’s Opening Ceremony, hosted by Janli Hoefer and Pastrytime, fan-favourite League of Legends shoutcaster.

In increased governmental efforts to inculcate a healthier and more inclusive gaming scene in Singapore, Hyperplay presented Asean’s first eSports tournament. The free event was an explicit treat for fans of League of Legends and the general public alike, featuring 10 regional teams alongside massive international musical acts such as CL, Nick Jonas, Alessia Cara, and hit Thai rock band, Slot Machine.

Music festivals being all the rage now, there’s no easier way to introduce the general public to the League of Legends than this. Tickets on provider APACTix’s website were indicated to be fully redeemed in days leading up to the event.

CL performing for MTV Spotlight, at Hyperplay (Credit – MTV Asia)

The music was a definite highlight for many event-goers, with most crowd spikes and plummets seeming to be before and after musical acts. Nevertheless, the event saw a fair share of League of Legends fans who enjoyed the best of both worlds. Fans of the game were treated to semi-finals on Day 1 of the event, and finals between Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur Hunters and Vietnam’s Super Star Destroyers on Day 2.

Through impulsive gameplay from both teams, Malaysia emerged victoriously with a 2-0, crowning them the first-ever Hyperplay ASEAN League of Legends Champions. Despite some fans commenting on amateur gameplay, most did not regret the complimentary entertainment value that Hyperplay provided. Eliminated teams were still spotted in crowd stands, supporting the event and posing for photographs with fans and cosplayers.

Hyperplay also raised its hat to local talent, featuring platinum-certified musicians The Sam Willows on Day 1. Singapore’s Sovereign also went up against Vietnam’s Super Star Destroyers in the event’s semi-finals, despite losing in a short 25 minutes.

Team Singapore – Hyperplay 2018

While there’s much to work toward in terms of improvement, it looks like Singapore has taken its first official step towards cultivating an eSport scene here. Many made use of the event’s free tickets just to get a free concert, leaving many seats booked but empty at other timings.

However, the reality is that this might just be what it takes to push the new cause for a passion such as this. If Hyperplay can uphold its high entertainment-production value, eSports is probable to garner a more diverse, and less hostile rep in years to come.

Players can now realistically dream about gaming competitively and professionally in Singapore, and given our small population-talent pool, even I’m seeing an incentive to playing League of Legends regularly again.

Here’s to gamers having more to be proud of Singapore.