Jakarta-based ONIC Esports lifts the 2019 Esports President's Cup, alongside Communications and Informatics Minister Rudiantara (left) and Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf) chairman Triawan Munaf (right) at Istora Senayan in Jakarta on Sunday (31/03). (Photo courtesy of Esports President's Cup)

Esports President's Cup: Breeding Ground for Local Talents


APRIL 01, 2019

Jakarta. Teen screams filled Istora Senayan indoor stadium in Jakarta in the weekend, but this time they were not for a concert or a sporting contest—at least not a conventional one. All the adrenaline flowed for the first ever Esports President’s Cup, an esports tournament attended by around 3,000 gamers, most of whom were still in their teens. 

16 teams qualified for the two-day event (30-31/03) out of a pool of 3,572 teams from all over Indonesia. They competed to win prize money and the chance to represent Indonesia in esports in the upcoming 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in the Philippines.

The Indonesian Esports Premier League (IESPL) worked together with the Presidential Staff Office, the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf), the Youth and Sports Ministry and the Communications and Informatics Ministry to organize the national tournament.

Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, Communications and Informatics Minister Rudiantara and Bekraf chairman Triawan Munaf attended the tournament to show support for the booming esports industry.

Two teams hailing from Jakarta, ONIC Esports and Louvre.JG, faced each other in the final, with the former eventually brushing aside their opponents 3-0.

Meanwhile, PSG.RRQ defeated EVOS Esports 2-0 in the match for the bronze medal.

Winners ONIC Esports won a prize money of Rp 400 million ($28,000), Louvre.JG as runners-up won Rp 200 million and PSG.RRQ in third place won Rp 100 million.

"Today is proof that video game and esports enthusiasts can come together in one place to give full support to their favorite esports teams. Congratulations to ONIC who made history by winning the first Esports President’s Cup. The spirit and enthusiasm of the crowd today at Istora Senayan is proof that there's burning passion for esports in Indonesia," tournament organizer Giring Ganesha said on Sunday.

Indonesia has been promoting esports for a while, even including it as an exhibition game during the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. 

In Defense of PUBG

With the Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) reportedly considering a haram fatwa for the popular online battle royale game PlayerUnknown’s BattleGrounds, or PUBG, the Indonesian esports community was quick to rally behind the game and question the reasoning behind the possible ban.

"It’s just a game. It has more to do with strategy and decision-making than violence," Teguh, one of the members of champion team ONIC Esports told the Jakarta Globe on Saturday.

Another gamer, Rama, also said he could not understand why the government would even consider issuing a ban on PUBG or other games of the same ilk.

"PUBG doesn't promote violence. It’s just something we play for fun. There’s absolutely no harm in it," he said.