Rise of Indonesian e-Sport Industry: Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang 2018

Through the establishment of Indonesia e-SPort Association (IeSPA) in 2014, gaming activity has turned to an electronic sports branch – known as e-Sport – in Indonesia. The trend of e-Sport continues to climb up, as it will be contested as one of the Jakarta and Palembang Asian Games 2018 sports branches. Announced as an exhibition scheme, e-Sport athletes will fight over the medals, but not yet included in the overall medal standings calculation.

Six games will be played in the e-Sport Asian Games 2018: 1) Arena of Valor, 2) Pro Evolution Soccer, 3) -League of Legend, 4) Clash Royale, 5) Hearthstone and 6) Starcraft 2.

The e-Sport competition in Asian Games 2018 is expected to be the catalyst for e-Sport industry development in Indonesia, thus should be organized well and correctly, as explained by Dedy Irvan, a gaming and e-Sport observer.


The growing of e-sport in Indonesia is quite rapid, as seen from the Indonesia’s 16th position in the 2017 global gaming industry market. According to Newzoo data, there were 43.7 million gamers with total game revenues reached USD 879.7 million. Marketing Director of Intel ANZ & South East Asia, Anna Torres, also added that the gaming industry in Indonesia keeps growing. The inclusion of e-Sport in the Asian Games 2018 will be a good publication for the gaming industry, like what has been done in Thailand and Philippines.

Referring to Gameloft Indonesia presentation in Regional Investment Forum (RIF) 2018 event in Yogyakarta, internet penetration in Indonesia has reached 72 million users or 28% of the total country population. Mobile connectivity recorded even higher with 308 million connections, while the number of mobile social media recorded as many as 62 million accounts. Game industry in Indonesia may potentially generate monthly gross revenue at around USD 1 – 2 million through 300 thousand players. In 2017, Indonesian games revenue contribution in South East Asia reached 21%, means that Indonesia has become the biggest market for game industry in such region.

E-Sport also holds some attractive features for a business opportunity. Not only fun for the players, e-Sport also brings an extraordinary allure for the audiences enlivened with the appearance of the popular game character cosplayer. Moreover, e-Sport also has an opportunity to be managed academically, for example, by establishing a Gaming Faculty. As mentioned by Deny Budi Hertanto – the Student Executive Counselor (BEM) Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta (UNY), the opportunity for e-Sport to be opened in academic option will be big enough in the future, if needed by the market.


On the other side, despite its prospective sides, the e-Sport future development in Indonesia is going to face a number of challenges. One is the perception difference between the young and old generation concerning the e-Sport concept. Older generation tends to think that e-Sport is nothing more than a hobby of playing games to fill the spare time, instead of a game that can be professionally occupied.

Another obstacle is the negative perception of the online gaming perpetrators which often associated with anti-social behavior. However, according to Anna Torres, gaming actually requires social interaction in the form of people to watch live streaming, chatting, casting and talking while playing games. This trend also triggers the emergence of new communities from i-Café gaming activities.

To advance the e-Sport industry, Indonesian gaming athletes should get full support from all parties, especially when facing the negative perceptions related to gaming activities. Generally, e-Sport will require professional management with various supporting facilities such as infrastructure and the procurement of special gaming stadium with complete and qualified e-Sport equipment.

In the end, the 2018 Asian Games moment is the best time for Indonesian gaming athletes in showcasing their ability. It is also a very effective publication to attract the foreign community to be part of the gaming industry development in the country.