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Razer CEO commits S$10 million to e-sports and gaming, partly to ‘troll’ ST forum letter writer

SINGAPORE — Homegrown gaming hardware maker Razer will be setting aside S$10 million over the next year to support e-sports and gaming activities here.

Mr Tan Min-Liang, co-founder and CEO of gaming hardware company Razer.

Mr Tan Min-Liang, co-founder and CEO of gaming hardware company Razer.

SINGAPORE — Homegrown gaming hardware maker Razer will be setting aside S$10 million over the next year to support e-sports and gaming activities here. 

In a Facebook post on Monday (Sept 9), Razer’s chief executive Tan Min-Liang said the funds will go into supporting e-sports teams here, as well as gaming or e-sports companies in Singapore, or those founded by Singaporeans.

Mr Tan added that the money will also go in part to Team Singapore, which Razer is supporting during the South-east Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines.  

Razer is the official e-sports partner for the Games, which take place in November and will feature e-sports for the first time as a medalled sport.

Mr Tan said that his decision came after Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing outlined on Sept 4 the Republic’s plans to support startups and companies in the gaming industry here. 

Mr Tan added at the end of his post that his move was also partly triggered by a Straits Times forum letter on Sept 6 titled “E-sports is not a sport by definition”. 

The letter writer, Ms Juliana Foo, argued that unlike sports, e-sports does not require physical effort and skill. 

“Athletes train rigorously, abide by a strict diet and hone their physical prowess to compete face-to-face with the best in their chosen field. Gaming falls short in these aspects,” Ms Foo wrote.

She went on to say that e-sports “should not be in the SEA Games or similar events like the Olympics”. 

Mr Tan added in his Facebook post on Monday: “I thought I would put $10M into developing esports in Singapore just to troll the letter writer.” 

In a separate Facebook post on Friday (Sept 6), which he linked to the forum letter, Mr Tan also said that e-sports “requires a huge amount of physical and mental commitment. The number of hours required for athletes to train and the commitment to excellence is significant”.

“Moreover, the prize purses for e-sports now dwarf that of many traditional sports and the number of viewers for e-sports is in the hundreds of millions, more than many traditional sports out there.” 

In response to TODAY's queries, a Razer spokesman said the $10m investment will go towards supporting the Singapore national team competing at the upcoming SEA Games 2019, as well as other Singapore-based esports teams, and companies involved in gaming or e-sports that are in Singapore or founded by Singaporeans.

"The investment will help elevate esports in the country to the next level," added the statement.  

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