Hyperplay, the first-ever ASEAN esports and music festival, is happening on August 4–5, 2018 at Singapore Indoor Stadium. We've told you all about the amazing artists set to perform—Nick Jonas, Alessia Cara, CL, Afgan, Slot Machine and The Sam Willows are ready to rock the stage. But some people might not realize how big a deal the esports side of the event is. Hyperplay will feature the wildly popular game League of Legends, created by our friends at Riot Games.
Esports are a really, REALLY big deal.
For people who aren't completely familiar with them, esports are, in a nutshell, video games with organized competitions. They can be team-based video games, like League of Legends and Overwatch, or games with competitive solo play, like Hearthstone. They can even be both, like in the case of Starcraft.
The competitions can get HUGE. Last year's League of Legends World Championship, for example, gave out around $5 million in prizes, with $1.5 million alone going to the winning team. Twenty-four teams from around the world flew to China for the games, and over 60 million people watched them compete. Tickets to watch the finals live sold out in seconds, and thousands of fans packed Beijing National Stadium (aka "Bird's Nest", capacity 80,000) to witness the championship match.
The top players in the world are legit celebrities, with people like Korea's Faker (Lee Sang-hyeok) having millions of fans worldwide. Some of them even have official merch you can buy online, if you're a big enough fan to wear their names on your shirt.
And the fandom isn't just limited to the competitions, either. On platforms like Twitch and Panda.tv, gamers are making names for themselves by streaming live video of themselves competing in esports. Pro League of Legends player Doublelift, for example, has over 1 million followers on his Twitch channel, while non-pro streamers like the Philippines' Bianca Yao (SliceOfBiancakes) enjoy strong followings of more than 50,000. Some musicians, such as Post Malone and Snoop Dogg, have even joined in on the streaming fun, interacting with their fans as they play some video games.
This steady growth over the years means esports are being recognized by large sporting authorities. The 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang will feature competitions in League of Legends, Pro Evolution Soccer, Hearthstone and Starcraft II, with the League of Legends final round from August 24th to September 1st.
At the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee themselves supported competitions in Steep and Starcraft II prior to the Games. And serious talks are taking place for esports to be part of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan, with members of the Japanese government leading the charge.
Why all the fuss? Because the love for esports is growing so fast that it rivals traditional sports. Experts believe that by this time next year, over 400 million people across the globe will be watching esports, a number projected to grow even more.
At the end of the day, the raw appeal of esports isn't so much the rising level of competition, the enormous prizes, the legions of cheering fans or the opportunity to represent your team or country (although these help a lot). It's because video games are just plain FUN, and it's fun to watch people having fun, especially when the stakes are so high.
At Hyperplay, MTV and Riot Games are combining everything that makes esports fun with everything that makes live music unforgettable. Over the past few months, teams in all 10 ASEAN nations have competed in country qualifiers to advance to Hyperplay. Now, the top team from each country – that's Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam – will be coming to Singapore for round-robin matches.
Once the dust has settled, the top four teams among them will compete in two semi-finals matches on day one (Aug 4) of Hyperplay, with the two winners facing off at the grand finals on day two (Aug 5). The winning team will be crowned Grand Champion of ASEAN, and will take home some lit prizes to boot.
And because the festival is pretty much its own afterparty, everyone can celebrate a good game with some awesome concerts. Whether you're there cheering in person or watching it live on TV or on the web, come #WitnessHistoryAtPlay with us, because esports are an entertainment powerhouse that are only gonna get bigger.
Hyperplay hits Singapore Indoor Stadium on August 4 and 5. Watch it live on MTV Asia, or livestream all the action at www.hyperplay.sg.