The Straits Times recently featured an article on Brewlings, Singapore’s first eSports bar. This article immediately grabbed my attention, as I have never seen eSports (organised, competitive computer game tournaments) before. A few days later, I am at the newly opened bar, talking to two of the founders; business executive Desmond Tan and computer game programmer Lim Yee Chen.
I was expecting a LAN cafe with computer screens, but the only PCs were a few laptops behind the bar. Brewlings is essentially a bar designed for gamers to watch eSports tournaments from around the world with their friends over a drink. It is a meeting place for friends to socialise face to face when they might otherwise be at home watching tournaments online. The most featured tournaments are DOTA 2 and League of Legends, but they also have a section where you can play PS4 games with your friends.
Aesthetically, it has the feel of a designer minimalist cafe/bar. I really like the Eames moulded plastic chairs and the black detailing. The venue is very clean, comfortable and all the furniture is brand new as this was the grand opening weekend.
Desmond and Yee Chen were both kind enough to spend a few moments of their time to help me understand a bit more about eSports.
1. Why do gamers watch other gamers play?
Games like DOTA 2 have a “very steep learning curve”. Many gamers may feel overwhelmed by the difficulty of these games and thus prefer to watch professionals play instead, to learn their strategies and techniques. Platforms such as Twitch.tv (where you can watch games live) or Youtube have helped popularise this phenomenon.
2. How big is eSports?
According to Superdata Research 2015 Report eSports is worth $612 million globally. 134 Million people around the world watch eSports. Remember, these figures do not include revenue from gamers playing the game. These are just figures based on people who watch others play competitive tournaments. The latest DOTA 2 International Compendium tournament prize pool is currently at $13 million and growing.
3. Some tips for those who may have difficulty with excessive gaming
Yee Chen, a game programmer, does not consider himself at the professional gamer level, but he does “understand what gamers want,” so he has a unique perspective on internet games. He believes in having a balanced lifestyle and other commitments other than gaming. He shared with me that we should “understand first, think from their (the gamer’s) point of view, before making any kind of judgement.”
4. Final thoughts
Brewlings is a great venue. It has a friendly and safe vibe. They promote computer gaming and alcohol drinking in moderation. Most importantly, they understand the gaming community and can see the need for more prosocial venues for friends to meet face to face, something not often associated with online gaming. The team here are really passionate about providing a space for Singaporean gamers to enjoy watching their favourite teams battle it out on the big screen.
82 Serangoon Garden Way, Singapore 555978
Fri – Sat, 15:00–03:00