The growth of Esports is unprecedented in both scale and its organic nature. What started off as an alternative sport has grown into an ecosystem of business opportunity.
The impact to the Asia Pacific region is significant. As of 2021, more than half of the global gaming market resides in Asia Pacific. An industry was worth $159 billion in 2020 and is projected to double by 2025. This has policy decision makers and business leaders paying closer attention to a key investment pathway in an already lucrative and growing digital economy.
At the same time, the proliferation of 5G connectivity and increasingly fast connection speeds means that getting the regulatory framework right, and getting it right at an early stage, matters. Rapid growth has raised critical questions about data and privacy issues, digital piracy, gaming addiction, impacts to mental health, gambling and other social concerns. While guarding public interests and safety continues to be a crucial priority, recent more draconian measures to control the industry and consumer behavior by governments has raised concern on hindering the long-term growth of the sector if not properly addressed.
Regulators have begun the process of crafting guidelines around key issues while still allowing room for further innovation. Vocal stakeholders have also called for greater oversight to address concerns over data and privacy, alongside less credible concerns relating to negative stereotypes of the eGaming industry and its participants. This tension will continue to shape the development of policy and regulatory frameworks.
Policy leaders in the region often find themselves in uncharted territory, with scenarios that do not have a ready-made model for governance. Companies must therefore enter this conversation to share insights, expertise and policy recommendations. To effectively engage decision makers in a balanced discussion, commercial agendas may need to put aside. It is crucial for all parties to look at the ecosystem of eGaming holistically, be realistic about the balance between regulation and innovation and be adaptable to the differing levels of regulation across the region.
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