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When the COVID-19 pandemic brought the world to a standstill, it caught everyone by surprise. The sports industry was among the many sectors impacted by lockdown measures. However, the e-sports and game streaming industries became more popular than ever as people looked for new forms of entertainment.
Despite empty arenas and finals that were viewable solely online, e-sports still saw record-breaking viewership owing to its inherently digital and adaptive nature. While other industries have been hit hard by the pandemic, with many businesses having to shut down entirely, the e-sports community is fortunate enough to carry on as is, utilizing livestreams and amplifying live events virtually.
In Taiwan specifically, global e-sports entertainment platform FIGHT Esports linked up with gaming voucher and digital gift card portal Wallet Codes to organize a series of online tournaments featuring popular game titles. The goal is to support and elevate Taiwan’s gaming community. The small but dense island, with a total population of 24 million and land area of 36,000 sq km, has recognized e-sports as an official sport since 2017.
How FIGHT Esports and Wallet Codes cultivate the gaming community
While traditional sports leagues couldn’t function normally in early 2020 due to the pandemic, the e-sports industry plowed ahead with minimal interruptions and gained momentum. The global e-sports and game streaming industry is expected to grow from USD 2.1 billion in 2021 to USD 3.5 billion by 2025. That’s a 70% increase in value in four years, and much of this phenomenal growth is expected to take place in Asia.
Wallet Codes and FIGHT Esports have both managed to keep their pipeline flowing during the pandemic. Besides sponsoring the WLC Gaming e-sports team to battle it out on a national stage and push through to finals, Wallet Codes and FIGHT Esports have also sponsored a handful of e-sports tournaments in Taiwan.
The first two tournaments were the NTUT Esports League and Taipei Tech Esports Club League of Legends Tournaments organized by the National Taipei University of Technology.
The NTUT Esports League included games such as KartRider, Valorant, StarCraft 2, and League of Legends: Wild Rift. For the Taipei Tech eSports Club, there was League of Legends. Held between May 3 and June 13, the matches involved undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty in northern Taiwan, including Taipei City, New Taipei City, Taoyuan City, Hsinchu City, Hsinchu County, Yilan City, Yilan County, and Keelung City.
In all, 48 teams formed by 241 players competed in the tournaments. FIGHT Esports and Wallet Codes Taiwan sponsored a sum of TWD 15,400. This amount includes Garena Shells vouchers worth TWD 8,000 for the LoL winners (top three players and consolation prizes), 13,000 P Points worth TWD 3,600, and Steam vouchers worth TWD 3,800 for 44 lucky draw winners.
Then, there was another tournament that commenced on June 5, the FIGHT AOV Campus Tournament organized by Vanung University’s e-sports club and FIGHT Esports, with Wallet Codes Taiwan as the headline sponsor.
Kicking off with the semifinal, 16 teams competed against each other for a prize pool of TWD 13,000. FIGHT Esports was the title partner and co-host of the campus tournament, which was organized exclusively for the students of Vanung University. Hosted by MG Lin, WLC Gaming’s team leader and coach of the university’s e-sports club, the tournament was livestreamed on Wallet Codes Taiwan’s Facebook page for fans who were unable to attend the event due to pandemic-related restrictions.
Wallet Codes is a one-stop portal developed by Forest Interactive for digital goods, like gaming vouchers and gift cards. It is available in seven markets, including Taiwan. In April, Forest Interactive introduced GASH cards on Wallet Codes Taiwan, which is currently running a campaign in collaboration with mobile payments platform GASH until August 31. Users stand a chance to win prizes worth TWD 40,000, including Wallet Codes’ loyalty P Points and gaming products.
“GASH cards are one of the more popular offerings on Wallet Codes Taiwan. Our collaboration with this Taiwanese payment channel not only brings us closer to local users, but also opens up opportunities for gaming communities and the gaming currency provider in Taiwan,” said Jocelyn Chang, regional head of marketing and business development at Forest Interactive.
Creating value for brands in the world of gaming
Chang also oversees Forest Interactive’s proprietary product operations, including Wallet Codes Taiwan, in the Asia region. She said, “We have always been committed to uplifting local gaming communities by promoting healthy gaming and empowering university students who are interested in e-sports.”
Chang hopes that tournaments like these will open new doors and encourage aspiring e-sports players to join the fun and hone their skills. “At Wallet Codes Taiwan, it is part of our values to not only sell our products but also build a strong and sustainable e-sports community within the markets we serve,” she said.
In fact, to unearth new gaming talents for the e-sports community in Taiwan, the FIGHT AOV Campus Tournament was designed to mimic the standard-setting practices of professional tournaments, allowing participants to experience a setup like pro leagues. Taiwan’s relatively small population notwithstanding—it ranks 55th in the world—it is home to the 15th largest PC and mobile games market worldwide, according to the “Taiwan Digital Games Market Report and Forecast” by Niko Partners.
The same report says that 65% of Taiwanese gamers feel that e-sports are Taiwan’s most important competitive sport, and more than half of local gamers want to compete professionally. Generally, in Taiwan and the rest of the world, e-sports are on the radar of college administrators.
Since taking the lead in partnering with gaming communities and brands, the global teams of FIGHT Esports and Wallet Codes have organized tournaments, both professional and amateur, for community engagement and livestream content with partners such as Garena, Moonton, TikTok, and many more.