Priya Kala Rai and Rada Wangmo | Interns

Although eSports, competitive video gaming, is gaining popularity worldwide, those into the business in the country claim it is difficult to sustain, as most parents restrict children from playing the games.

The difficulty also comes at a time when many Bhutanese youth are glued to mobile phones playing online games.

The founder of a mobile gaming community, Tandin Wangdi, said they have been in the business for the last three years, but have only gotten one sponsor as of now. “eSports is a competition using video games, but many parents discourage the players.”

He hosts a Mobile Legends competition for young players and without sponsors, he collects entry fees from each team and awards cash prizes to winners. “I give away 75 percent of the total fee collected as prizes.”

Tandin Wangdi said that while most people consider online gaming as a waste of time and money, esports will be the future of sports. “Online gaming is a fast-growing international phenomenon for gamers to entertain themselves and to earn money.”

He said eSports are designed to be played professionally.

Meanwhile, there are many Bhutanese youth who are deciding to make a career in eSports by streaming their games live on the internet.

The first Mobile Legends influencer streamer of Bhutan, Thinlay Namdul Rangdol, who is known as Maynia, said there are many opportunities in eSports, whether you are a streamer or a pro player. “The gaming community is rapidly expanding. Bhutanese streamers are currently gaining popularity on Facebook.”

He said that because there is no gaming server in the country like in other countries, it becomes expensive because of the cost of the internet bandwidth needed.

Another host of the mobile gaming community, Thinley Namgyal Wangchuk, said he wanted to develop his passion into a career by giving young gamers a platform whereby they can compete at an international level.

He claimed that the Covid-19 pandemic helped eSports gain popularity.