JAMYANG CHOPHEL | Thimphu
At the 14th International Esports Federation (IESF) World Esports Championship in Bali, Indonesia, Sogyal Tashi Samdrup, a 24-year-old gamer from Thimphu, will represent Bhutan.
The competition will last 12 days and begin on 1 December and end on 12 December.
Sogyal will participate in a PlayStation 5 eFootball game. He announced, “I am attending my very first international esports event.” He continued by expressing his joy at being Bhutan’s representative.
In a similar spirit, Mobile Gaming Community (MGC) founder Tandin Wangdi said, “We anticipate to see our national flag wave at foreign stadiums and Sogyal will be traveling to Bali, Indonesia to compete against international players.”
Sogyal claimed that it was due to his love for football that he first learned about esports. “I enjoy playing FIFA on PlayStation. Video games have been a part of my life from a young age.” He used to play it with his family and friends just for enjoyment.
Later, as he began to play games online, he developed a much higher level of rivalry. “Once I started playing it online with my friends and against other online gamers, I started playing competitively,” Sogyal added.
Soyal also triumphed in a few competitions held by the Bhutan Football Federation (BFF). He finished third in a FIFA 20 competition in the year 2020. On top of that, he ranked first in the FIFA 21 event, which was held on 14 November, 2022.
He was inspired to play games more seriously by playing online with his friends and other gamers.
He noted that the unstable internet connectivity was his major problem. An inconsistent internet connection or slow speed, he claimed, may play a significant factor in causing you to lose a game when you try to play competitively. According to Sogyal, the introduction of 5G in the nation has improved and increased peoples’ participation in online gaming.
If gamers compete in more international events and become renown as live streamers, he thinks they will be able to raise online gaming platform in the country.
He adds that the growth of Bhutanese enterprises will be aided by the popularity of Bhutanese gamers since they will be able to showcase their talent in global arena through sponsorship and partnership.
Esports, according to Sogyal, have benefits as well as drawbacks. Although lucrative, the industry is very competitive. Gaming can be enjoyable but he says it causes people to lose track of time and their focus in important task.
Sogyal, however, declared that his career goal is to pursue law. “I have never intended to pursue career as a full-time professional gamer and streamer.”
But even then, majority of youth look up to Sogyal as a source of inspiration. He said, “I implore young people in our nation to pursue their aspirations,”
As for Tandin Wangdi, another ardent player who is the founder of MGC is concentrating on growing the esports scene in the country.
By taking inspiration from Pinda Rika Dorji, a veteran player from Bhutan, he developed a taste for playing online games and discovered ways to earn his living as well.
He claims that despite Bhutanese having zeal for gaming, they are not appreciated and supported by their families and Bhutanese at large.
Tandin is currently working with Togonon Zhiel, vice chairperson of the Esports World Federation where she has helped him to get a country membership in International Esports Federation.
“Esports creates career prospects as well as gives gamers the ability to demonstrate their talents and skills in the international stage,” he said.
Meanwhile, due to the advancements in technology, esports and video games as a genre have changed. Individuals are playing video games less for leisure and more in competitive competitions.