E-sport a gamechanger for Thailand’s digital economy: Democrats’ Madame Dear
E-sport is not just a leisure pursuit but also a big opportunity to boost Thailand's digital economy, Democrat Party member Watanya Bunnag said on Sunday.
However, the main obstacle to Thai e-sport development is the lack of government support, she added.
Watanya, also known as “Madame Dear”, was speaking at a seminar titled "E-sport: More Than Just a Game” organised by the Democrat Party's Bangkok strategy committee at Siam Square.
Many people assume e-sport is just a hobby and are not aware it has a big role to play in Thailand’s digital expansion, she said.
"The main question is what the government can do to make e-sport more than just a sport," she said.
Watanya noted that other countries are paying serious attention to electronic sport as an economic driver, adding that South Korea has a plan to promote e-sport as soft power.
Experts had demonstrated how e-sport can be used to grow economies, but Thailand was still lagging compared with other countries, she said.
Rathanon Phalanon, founder and director of e-sport agency Invate, agreed that many people fail to see the economic value and potential of e-sports.
Pointing to lucrative rewards from the fast-growing gaming industry and player income, he urged the government and other sectors to promote e-sport in Thailand.
National Basketball League (Thailand) CEO Payu Nerngchamnong said Thailand was a world leader in adopting e-sport, which he defined as a bridge to boost business.
Thailand is the biggest video-game market in Southeast Asia, worth US$1.24 billion (47.48 billion baht) last year. That figure is forecast to rise to $1.4 billion (53.53 billion baht) this year.
The country recognised e-sports as professional sport last year.