After we talked about fighting game’s world in Indonesia with Advance Guard several times ago, in this opportunity, we’d like to talk about another esports that can be said as minority as well, Pro Evolution Soccer.
I have invited Liga1PES Founder Valentinus Sanusi to have a talk over a coffee with us. Liga1PES is the biggest PES community in Indonesia becoming a place for gamers of KONAMI football games to gather.
PES Esports State in Indonesia
To begin, I asked about the state of PES esports’ ecosystem in Indonesia. “It’s almost every week that the community at PS (PlayStation) rental place set up a competition of PES or as it’s once known as Winning Eleven,” answered Valentinus.
“From what they’re doing, we as Liga1PES representative see that they don’t have any proper place and management to get a proper competition done. That’s why since 2016, we’ve tried to develop a structured national competition system together with the PS rental place and the community,” he added.
Since a long time ago, PES series have always been compared to EA’s FIFA. We can say that both of them now are quite marginalized as the increasing popularity of mobile platform as a preferred platform and MOBA as a preferred genre (followed closely by Battle Royale).
How is the comparison of esports state between FIFA and PES in Indonesia? Before the FIFA fans argue, we’re going to get an answer from Indonesia’s FIFA representative next time.
Valentinus said many things about this. Liga1PES competition has entered its fourth year, and through this competition, they are not only looking for the best PES player at national level but also trying to distribute and provide chances for national players to compete at a higher level like SEA (Southeast Asia) or international competition.
Originally, Liga1PES would like to bring the best Indonesia players to compete at SEA events against other best players from neighboring countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and Myanmar.
“In terms of esports, I dare to claim that PES is far way better than FIFA as we already have a routine national scale competition system, interconnected with regional competition, and now we’re working on international competition with European and American community.”
PES Esports Challenges in Indonesia
An interesting thing about Indonesia’s PES is that one could say of it as the best-selling game in its glory day, the era of PS1 and PS2, and most likely PES is the most played game at every rental place in Indonesia. I am sure that most gamers, both PC and consoles, have played, at least once, PES or WE on those days.
However, as technology develops, PES fame began to fade and was replaced by MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) that is now still being the most popular esports. PC and consoles are also crushed by Android platform.
How does Valentinus respond to that?
“I think that this doesn’t only happen to PES. Esports itself is a new, fast-growing industry dominated by PC and mobile platform.”
He also added that there were a lot of factors affected PES popularity, and one thing that couldn’t be denied was that mobile market was indeed bigger than consoles.
“Most of Indonesians own at least a phone and can access games easily without TV, and it is the one reason that makes MOBA grow faster. It’s easily accessible.”
Valentinus also said, “It’s not that people are not interested in PES, the game is just lacking of exposure.” The console market itself is more segmented than PC or mobile.
“For instance, RPG fans around the world is bigger in number than MOBA fans but this comparison is not fair and even, just like comparing MOBA with PES.”
Valentinus also believes that PES actually has bigger market potential than other genres, as PES is a football genre and football is the world’s most favorite sport.
That’s why he argued that it would be way easier to invite commoners to watch football game esports than any other genre and it has also been proved as PES esports is growing so fast in Europe and Asia. Some big football clubs even has begun to recruit PES players to represent their club.
“PES esports in Thailand even has been supported by their government and KONAMI will conduct an esports league for Thailand’s football clubs. With this growth, I think the mixed exposure between football and its esports will be a great combination in years to come.”
Various Parties’ Support for PES Community
While it’s lacking of exposure in Indonesia, PES community has gotten many supports from various parties.
Liga1PES having vision to make PES gamers as people’s and gamer community’s role model by providing a place for the community to play PES positively and win achievements both nationally and internationally, according to Valentinus, has gained support from True Digital Plus Indonesia, Telkom Group, and other local partners.
They also have close relation with KONAMI and received official licenses (endorsement and validation) from KONAMI for their tournaments. The PES League Asia 2v2 earlier this year (2018) is one of the examples, as Liga1PES and KONAMI conducted qualification in 7 cities and online as well. They successfully brought Indonesia players to compete in Bangkok, Thailand. At that time, Indonesia became Runner-Up as they’re losing to Japan in final.
Liga1PES was also involved in Asian Games 2018 by conducting PES Party before that huge event started, and it was supported by KONAMI. Liga1PES also became the organizer in a qualification for Indonesia representative in Asian Games 2018.
Valentinus said that they could give direct feedback to KONAMI, both in terms of games and community, esports, or their marketing matters. Mutually, KONAMI is also able to access PES Indonesia community growth via Liga1PES.
“Of course with this relationship we really hope that there would be a concrete action that could be manifested in the community. But it always requires a long, restless process for every policy or program related to KONAMI,” he closed the talk.
That was our brief talk with Valentinus related to PES Indonesia community and Liga1PES.
On one side, what he said about football being easily accepted by many people might be right, yet on the other side, football games are not only PES, EA’s FIFA has always been their biggest rival.
Next time I’ll invite FIFA community representative to hear their opinion about the same matters. The real work is not only for the community to get done, KONAMI and EA also need to work more for football game esports growth, including in Indonesia.
I personally would like to see both of them growing big and popular, even the MOBA itself. That’s why, I brought the name of FIFA purposely to provoke KONAMI to invest more in Indonesia before EA does – and vice versa. Hahaha…
Thank you for Valentinus to have spent his time and share his story to us. We hope PES and Liga1PES community would be way stronger in times to come!
Original article is in Indonesian, translated by Kristin Siagian.