On 4th and 5th August, Riot and MTV teamed up to host Hyperplay, the first integrated ASEAN esports and music festival happening at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Possibly the biggest esport event since Worlds came to in 2014, Hyperplay wanted to bring in the crowd through two key cultural youth trends in both esports and music. With the top qualifying teams representing 10 different countries in SouthEast Asia, the event was shaping up to be a great regional event.

Some quick thoughts before diving in:

  • Esports: The games were top notch – pleasantly more competitive than expected. The Grand Finals especially were a treat to watch with high level teams duking it out with an unclear winner until the very end of each game.
  • Music: The musical performances were great, and the acts all brought their A-game. With CL and Nick Jonas, the audience was awed with internationally acclaimed talent.
  • Talent: OfflineTV (LilyPichu, Scarra, Sleightlymusical, and Edison), Kobe, PastryTime, various cosplayers. Enough talent to go around for longtime fans of the game. However I felt Hyperplay could’ve done more for fans to interact with the talents. But with the already packed schedule, I can see why they don’t want the audience to feel like they have to miss out. Possibly do it a day before/after outside the venue maybe?
  • Government support is great – backed by the National Youth Council (NYC) and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY), Hyperplay is hopefully the first of many government supported large-scale esports events to be held in Singapore. We have the infrastructure. We have the fans. Now we need people in power to see the potential.

The Esports

Hyperplay featured top teams from the SEA Tour (formerly GPL), including the Hyperplay Champion Kuala Lumpur Hunters, and Singapore’s own Sovereign. While it’s not the highest tier of League of Legends as you would expect from Worlds, SEA Tour teams have shown a steady growth into world-class competition. Evidence of which is Vietnam being granted their own slots to Worlds. However, while Vietnam’s Super Star Destroyers are not a VCS team, they displayed a level of skill that was apparent in their play.

Day 1 of the main event showed us the semi-finals – Philippines vs Malaysia, and Vietnam vs Singapore. Check out the VoDs below if you missed them:

Semi Finals 1: Philippines vs Malaysia

Veki after Malaysia secured a spot in the Grand Finals over the Philippine team

Semi Finals 2: Vietnam vs Singapore

Singapore in their semifinals match against Vietnam

And of course, Sunday we were graced with an epic Grand Finals finish – with Malaysia’s KL Hunters testing their mettle against the then-undefeated Vietnam Super Star Destroyers

Grand Finals: Vietnam vs Malaysia

The Music

With MTV, Hyperplay was able to get top musical performances, and it was interesting to see How Far They’ll Go. The acts included The Sam Willows from Singapore, the baddest female CL from Korea, Alessia Cara of Moana fame, and Nick Jonas, formerly of the Jonas Brothers.

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While a great plus to esports attendees, some music acts seem to have stolen the show – particularly CL. There were fans of League of Legends that could not get tickets for Day 1 because most of them were already snapped up by CL’s fans. Though this was expected with big headline names, it was unfortunate to see that some fans of the game were denied tickets.

The music acts did not disappoint, however. Each act was about 30 to 45 minutes long and got the crowd going – with the audience seats obviously filled for CL in Day 1, and Nick Jonas in Day 2.

The Talent

Riot flew in OfflineTV, Kobe, PastryTime, Fish (formerly of Garena and WahBanana) to name some of the talent invited to lure in the crowd.

OfflineTV comprises of well-known streamers (gaming broadcasters) within the League of Legends community, and definitely brought a lot of awareness to the event. Some familiar names should include Scarra (former Diginitas midlaner) and Lilypichu (streamer, voice artist, and content creator).

Government Support

Hyperplay is one of the first few esports events supported by the Singapore Government. It was nice to see the National Youth Council (NYC) and the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (MCCY) both be involved, as this opens up the gates for support in future events, and helps the mainstream audience understand esports better. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean was there for the Opening Ceremony, while MCCY Minister Grace Fu participated in the awarding ceremony.

Esports in Southeast Asia is at the stage where it can break through the mainstream, and government support is one catalyst to legitimize esports to endemic brands and those unaware of the scene. Down the road we hope for more events of this scale across other games – Dota 2, PUBG, and more!

 

Check out below for highlights from each day!

Day 1 Highlights:

Day 2 Highlights: