Esports is a fast growing sector of sports and Singapore is not being left behind. In April, a group of gamers who call themselves MSK_Poseidon became the only Singaporean team to qualify for the PUBG Australia Invitational 2018, placing 7th our of 20 teams. In June, they were crowned champions at the PUBG SEA Championship Tournament.
Most recently in August, two of MSK_Poseidon’ members, MSK_Chrysania and MSK_DjLol placed 1st overall beating out 45 other teams from around Asia in the PUBG Broadcaster Royal Open Duos Final – Asia. This win set them up as rising stars in the field and put them on a course for the Broadcaster Royale which will be held on 9th August to 3rd September in Seattle with a total prize pool of USD300,000. MSK_Poseidon will be the only team bearing the Singapore flag in this grand final, battling against the top 10 teams from Asia, Oceania, Europe, North America, and South America.
So who are MSK_Poseidon? Well, they were founded by two gamers, MSK_Jingu (Kim Hyun-jun) and MSK_Josh (Joshua Lee Jun Wei) in January 2018. The original roster of four included the two founders as well as to more games, Chipster and Flewychan. Now, MSK Poseidon comprises of MSK_Jingu, MSK_Josh, MSK_Chrysania (Chin Yu Zhe) and MSK_DjLol (Ch’ng Wai Kit Wesley).
Why MSK Posiedon? Wesley tells us, “we had initially planned to have multiple teams representing MSK. E.g. MSK Poseidon, MSK Hades, MSK Zeus –the three brothers/gods in Greek Mythology. MSK stands for Malaysia, Singapore, Korea, the countries of origin of the initial 4 players in the MSK roster”. Now the roster is made up of one Korean (MSK_Jingu) and three Singaporeans.
The team members met while competing in locally hosted esport tournaments, each of them in different teams. But after a few public matches, the founder realised felt a chemistry and synergy and to they decided to form a team. They started playing in tournaments together and eventually qualified for their first international tournament, the PUBG SEA. Winning this tournament pushed them to continue playing together and work for more wins.
How does it feel to be competing on an international level as an eSports player?
“While we aren’t exactly defined as eSports players, as we are not a proper established organisation with sponsorships etc., it feels great to be renowned as one of the best teams in Asia. Hopefully we can perform well and let other regions know about us too!” - Wesley
It’s safe to say that when competing at an international level, sacrifices have to be made and esports is no different. The team has to put in a lot of time to train not just in the games they’re competing it but also in how they work together. But when it’s a passion, you do everything you can to pursue it.
“I would say my team and I would definitely give up everything if we could to play this game full-time as it is our passion (...)So far, our parents have been quite supportive of our dedication towards the game, with the exception of Kim Hyun-jun’s parents. Nonetheless, our parents still have some reservations on whether or not eSports can be a viable career path or a fruitful way to spend our time.” - Wesley
Of course, family support is just one challenge these young players face. Singapore’s esports scene is still extremely small, so there are limited opportunities for teams like this to attain official sponsorship. Even for a game as large as PUBG (which is MSK’s battleground) with almost 1 million active players daily, it has yet to receive the same kind of support from organisers or the government as MOBA games like DOTA.
For instance, the first official ASEAN League of Legends tournament, Hyperplay, was sponsored by the Ministry of Culture Community and Youth and the National Youth Counci. The local PUBG scene, MSK tells us, has yet to see that same kind of support.
Like any emerging sporting event, however, it takes time and MSK Poseidon is pushing through and doing what they can to raise the profile of eports in general but also PUBG specifically.
What is something about eSports that you wish more people knew?
“I wish that eSports will be recognized as an official category of sports. This is because people who watch an official DOTA 2 (The International) tournament will experience the same kind of thrill and excitement as those who watch the FIFA World Cup. Additionally, sports like football bring pride to a nation’s countrymen with every goal scored by its players. The same can be said for any achievements and accolades earned by local eSports players. For instance, some Singaporean gamers have reached out to my team to tell us they are proud we have put Singapore on the map for eSports.” - Wesley
MSK_Poseidon are blazing a trail that hopefully many others will follow once they see that it’s a viable and exciting journey. We'd like to wish them luck in Seattle next week!