Just days after a Taiwanese team won an international video game tournament in Los Angeles, legislators across party lines have agreed to help establish cybergaming, or “e-sport,” as a national sport, qualifying it for government support.
The consensus came after Chen Yueh-hsin (陳躍鑫), chairman of a league that promotes cybergaming in Taiwan, and the title-winning Taipei Assassins, TPA for short, met with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), the Democratic Progressive Party and the People First Party caucuses yesterday.
Chen and the TPA urged lawmakers to help lobby the Sports Affairs Council (SAC) to recognize cybergaming as a sport and establish it as a discipline eligible for assistance from the government to cultivate talent.
Chen said gaming competitions have enormous commercial potential, but more corporate sponsorships are needed to make them successful.
The government needs to provide guidance to help professional gamers with their long-term career plans, Chen said.
Cybergaming in Taiwan gained widespread attention after the TPA defeated a team from South Korea in the League of Legends world championships in Los Angeles on Oct. 13 and took home the US$1 million first prize.
The government has heard appeals over the past week to recognize the activity as a sport, and TPA leader Chen Hui-chung (陳彙中), said that action was needed if Taiwan did not want to lag behind neighboring countries.
China’s gaming industry developed later than the one in Taiwan, but the Chinese government has already recognized cybergaming as a sport, he said, and neighboring countries, such as South Korea and Vietnam, have included it in their policies for cultivating athletic talent.
“We [gamers] have as much determination to win and to improve as players in other sports,” Chen Hui-chung said.
The TPA was formed last year, but the members could not fully dedicate their time to training until they turned professional in April, he said.
The gamer urged the government to help cybergaming players who are still in school make arrangements when they need to take time off from school to prepare for tournaments.