Vietnam to host League of Legends e-sports tournament

By Phan Anh   January 29, 2019 | 04:00 am PT
Vietnam to host League of Legends e-sports tournament
Visitors watch international teams play during the tournament of the computer game
A professional tournament of multiplayer video game League of Legends will be held in Vietnam for the first time this year.

The tournament will be held in May, the game’s developer Riot Games announced Tuesday.

The 2019 Mid-Season Invitational (MSI) will also be hosted by Taiwan the same month, making it the first time the league has one of its major international tournaments hosted in Southeast Asia.

The tournament’s play-in stage will be held in Hanoi from May 1-7, before moving on to the group stage in Saigon from May 10-14 and then the knockout stage in Taipei, Taiwan from May 17-19.

"Riot hopes to recognize the tremendous progress of the region and the enthusiasm of the players by hosting one of the largest global e-sports events in the area," Dot Esports quoted a press release by the California-based game developer as saying.

It also said that the launch of the Vietnam Championship Series in Saigon, the only professional League of Legends e-sports tournament held in the country, was one of the reasons why the upcoming MSI would be hosted in Vietnam. The region’s growing interest in the e-sports and infrastructural improvements were also deciding factors.

The MSI is one of the two annual major international events for League’s competitive scene, the other being the World Championship, Fox Sports Asia reported.

As such, the MSI has traditionally been hosted in one of the four major countries/regions: South Korea, China, North America and Europe. This year will be the second time the MSI is hosted outside the four regions, the first time happening in Brazil in 2017.

The MSI is considered one of the newer e-sport tournaments for the online game, having only been launched in 2015 in Talahassee, Florida.

It has been hosted by China in 2016, Brazil in 2017 and both France and Germany in 2018. This year, the tournament will feature teams from 13 countries and regions to fight for the ‘MSI Champion’ title.

The venues for the 2019 tournament have yet to be announced, and ticket sales will begin mid-March.

League of Legends, also known as LoL, is a multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) video game first launched in 2009. Players controls a "champion" with special abilities and battle against a team of other players or AI-controlled champions in a pre-defined arena. The goal is to destroy the other team’s "nexus," a structure located in the heart of base which is protected by other defensive structures.

League of Legend was well-received by the public upon its initial release, and has been growing in popularity ever since. Recent figures show that the game has an active player base of over 80 million monthly players, translating to over 27 million players daily. The game has been a hit in Vietnam, too, especially among the youth, and homegrown competitive teams have risen in global prominence thanks to their performance in previous international tournaments.

The game is ranked first in terms of global gaming traffic share at 26.42 percent, according to a 2018 Global Internet Phenomena Report by California-based networking equipment firm Sandvine.

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