Esports Around The World: Indonesia
Esports Around The World is a series of profiles outlining the esports ecosystem in various countries globally. The series ties into ESI’s international esports business events, which take place around the world.
Whilst unbeknownst to much of the Western world, Indonesia has become a hotbed for esports viewership, particularly within the mobile scene. In particular, the country garners over 2.5 million peak viewers just for its regional Mobile Legends: Bang Bang league and has a prominent fan base in Free Fire and PUBG Mobile, as well as PC title Dota 2.
According to a 2022 white paper by SEA communications agency Vero discussing indonesian esports, Indonesia ranks fourth in terms of smartphone users in the world, behind only China, India and the United States. This statistic alone highlights the power, and the potential, of mobile esports in the region.
Some of Indonesia’s most notable competitive players include the likes of Kenny ‘Xepher’ Deo and Matthew ‘Whitemon’ Filemon, both of whom currently compete in T1’s Dota 2 team. Last year, both players made it to the Lower Bracket R3 Main Stage at TI10.
Within the mobile scene, Indonesia has multiple notable names such as Luxxy ‘Made’ Bagus Prabaswara (PUBG Mobile), EVOS Divine’s Abi ‘Bion’ Faisal (Free Fire), Albert ‘Alberttt’ Neilsen Iskandar (Mobile Legends) and Alan Raynold ‘Star’ Kumaseh, the latter of which claimed a silver medal at the 31st Southeast Asian Games for PUBG Mobile.
What separates most SEA rings from western countries is its locaised esports ecosystem. The sector primarily runs off the popularity of local competitions in PUBG Mobile, Free Fire and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, though these do feed through to global finals.
In 2020, the government’s Youth and Sports Ministry and the Indonesian Sports Council (KONI) officially recognised esports as an official sport.
This allowed esports titles to be contested in official medal competitions, such as the SEA Games. Following the announcement, KONI also inaugurated the Indonesian Esports Central Board (PB ESI), an association built to hold competitions as well as foster athletes.
Prior to official government recognition, government institutions in SEA recognised the potential of esports by allowing the scene to be integrated further into its traditional sports ecosystem. This included featuring esports at sports tournaments, such as the Asia Games, in 2018. However, these were not official medal events at the time.
In 2013, the Indonesia E-sports Association (IeSPA) was also established. The organisation tasked itself to nurture Indonesian esports talents and help shape the sector.
Notable Tournaments & Leagues
As mentioned above, Indonesia has a large focus on local and regional competitions. Local competitions such as the PUBG Mobile Pro League Indonesia, Free Fire Indonesia Masters and MPL Indonesia dominate the ecosystem. Whilst these leagues do bleed into global events, the lifeblood of Indonesia’s competitive scene is through these regional competitions.
Esports has become a highly regarded sector within Indonesia, as such there has been a push towards education. Esports Indonesia (ESI) is the parent organisation of esports, the company works under the Indonesian National Sports Committee. Esports Indonesia’s Indonesian Esports Executive Board (PBESI) was officially inaugurated in 2020 and intends to incorporate esports into the country’s school curriculum.
Additionally, this year PBESI launched the Garudaku Esports Academy, a project designed as an extracurricular activity for high school and university students in Indonesia. The academy looks to provide comprehensive learning and training materials, whilst also helping develop future esports careers in the future.
The Garudaku Esports Academy also has a certification programme for participants wanting to obtain a license as an extracurricular coach of the academy.