Monday, September 25, 2017

Gamers fight it out for hefty prize money

A gamer takes part in the Myanmar National Gaming Championships 2009. Photo: Hein Latt AungA gamer takes part in the Myanmar National Gaming Championships 2009. Photo: Hein Latt Aung

A serious business, gaming. The prize money for the just-concluded Myanmar National Gaming Championship ran into millions of kyat, and competitors roam the country to show off their skills – and earn prizes for them.

Mostly the gamers are young men.

At the championship meet, held at Myanmar Info-Tech until September 29, the competition was divided into groups – for Defence of the Ancients (Dota) or Counter-Strike strategy games, or individuals. About 40 teams participated in the Dota events, and about 20 in the Counter-Strike gaming pool, as well as more than 150 gamers in the individual PC contests, with about 90 competing in Playstation 2 games. Each group had from five to eight members. The Dota tournament drew the most crowd interest, filling up both gaming halls.

“There wasn’t an individual tournament for games like Warcraft, ZeroHour, PS2 football and Niban table tennis games before. But the gamers asked for it, so we had to put individual game tournaments in this year’s championship,” said U Min Wint Oo, the president of Myanmar Gamers’ Club.

The first winner in the Dota game tournament, Double Damage, took home K600,000, and runners-up UnName pocketed K400,000, third was E4C1, taking K200,000. In the Counter-Strike event, Star group came first, and Alter second. The best individual players in the Dota and Counter-Strike events were KZ and Kit Kit respectively.

The top two winners in Counter-Strike took home K300,000 and K100,000, while the top two individual gamers picked up K150,000 and K100,000.

“Businessmen are interested in sponsoring gaming championships because they attract young people. Most businesses catering for young people are now willing to give sponsorships,” he said, including the competition’s major sponsor, Star Cola.

“I’ve heard there is a competition in Magway, so I’m thinking of going there. I have to balance the travel costs against the prize money,” said Nick, leader of Counter-Strike winner Star group.

“We’re used to competing throughout the year, but there are more competitions now, mostly sponsored by game shops. This year we won nearly K4 million,” said Dota a member of Double Damage.

Parents worry that computer gaming will harm studies and social life. But the gamers are anxious to show that they are professional.

“We used to train at the game shop at Mg Khine street every evening. Our group includes graduates and high school students, but we scheduled our sessions so as not to disturb our jobs or studies. We manage at least three hours, three days a week,” Nick said.

Team spirit has helped to build a social network among the gamers. For real-time group games like Dota and Counter-Strike, the decision-making process is very important and requires dynamic thinking and the management of time and resources. Maybe gamers earn their money.