Malacca: A pioneer electronic sports (e-sports) centre in Malacca, to be launched today, is an indication of the state government’s seriousness in its efforts to develop the industry and at the same time, spawn talented athletes who can compete internationally.

Kerk Chee Yee, the state executive councillor for Communications, Multimedia, Non-Governmental Organisations, and Youth and Sports Development, told Bernama here that the e-sports centre called the Ancient Galaxy Esports Hub, had been established in Kota Syahbandar through a collaborative effort between the government and a company, Ancient Galaxy Sdn Bhd, with an investment of about RM3 million.

Housed in three units of two-storey shop houses measuring about 334 m², the centre is equipped with 53 personal computers and eight PlayStation 4 (PS4) consoles.

The company, said Kerk, would manage the centre, while the government’s responsibility was to formulate guidelines covering various aspects including management, activities and the operational area, which needed to be complied with by the company.

He stressed that it was vital for the centre to be an avenue in which athletes could be developed to represent the state or country at national and international competitions, including the 20th Malaysia Games (Sukma) to be held from July 11 to 19 next year in Johor.

The centre is expected to make a positive impact on the socio-economic development of the state, particularly by stimulating sports tourism and attracting more e-sports entrepreneurs from within the state and elsewhere.

A state-level e-sports monitoring committee comprising 12 members and chaired by Kerk himself, with state Youth and Sports Department director Marina Nafi serving as secretary, has been formed to address a number of matters, including changing the negative perception that e-sports was linked to vices and gaming disorders.

“Together with e-sports entrepreneurs, we want to work towards changing this perception and give confidence to the public that e-sports is a healthy industry,“ he said, adding that in March, an e-sports association in Malacca Tengah was established with the aim of developing the sport at district-level, and in serving as a bridge between athletes and the state government. — Bernama