Interview with Ian Tan, Lenovo's Asia Pacific Gaming Lead
Despite many industries taking a severe hit from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the video game industry has not been as badly affected - in fact, one could say that it is still burgeoning due to its online nature, as well as an increase in the amount of people now confined to their homes, looking for a new hobby to pick up.
Asia Pacific accounts for almost half of the global video game market, forecasted to be worth US$159 billion in 2020. We had the pleasure of speaking to Ian Tan, the Asia Pacific Gaming Lead of Lenovo, regarding the future of gaming in our region.
Here's what he had to share:
Tell us more about what the future of gaming in Asia Pacific looks like.
The future of gaming is incredibly bright in Asia-Pacific. This region has the world’s largest number of gamers – out of the 2.7 billion gamers in the world today, about 1.5 billion live in Asia-Pacific!
Asians of all ages love gaming – just observe the number of people out and about with
Pokemon Go, the massive viewership of esports tournaments, the people taking trains and indulging in their favorite game titles and so on. There is little stigma around gaming today in Asia as many parents are gamers themselves and understand what this form of
entertainment is all about.
We are also living in a golden age of gaming where every major platform of gaming – PC,
console, handhelds, and mobile - is growing rapidly with an incredible selection of free to-play and paid games. Graphics technology has advanced where the latest games look better than many movies. At the same time, broadband speeds are improving constantly, and we are entering the 5G wireless age where you can soon experience cloud gaming on the go.
Gamers never had it so good!
Can you share with us the new careers that have been created in gaming?
From my point of view, the “new careers” in gaming are really variants of existing career paths. For example, a shoutcaster in esports tournament is similar to a TV sports commentator. Both require deep knowledge of the game, its top players and strategies in
order to do their job well.
There is one difference versus other industries - the gaming industry evolves at an
extremely fast pace, so a career in gaming means embracing highly rapid change. Games often have a shelf life of just a few months before gamers move on to the next big thing. So rather than looking for “new” careers, people can explore the vast opportunities in the industry as the ecosystem is huge and requires many types of skills to serve gamers. And because gamers are a very demanding lot, you cannot afford to be mediocre if you want to do well in the gaming industry.
Within the gaming publishing industry, there is always strong demand for software
developers, concept artists, scriptwriters, animators and level designers to produce games. Like any content industry, there are also opportunities for sales, marketing and operations professionals.
The gaming industry also includes gaming hardware makers, where there are opportunities for product developers, sales, marketing and operations people. And if you consider the esports industry (a subset of the gaming industry), there are jobs for esports coaches, event organizers, livestreamers and shoutcasters and so on.
Where is the gap now, and what is needed in order to foster the growth of the gaming industry? How is Lenovo supporting gamers in their pursuit of gaming as a career?
As mentioned earlier, there are many different roles available in the gaming industry and a high level of expertise and experience is demanded for each role. This means there is often a gap for most roles in the gaming industry as great talent is often scarce.
For new entrants to the industry, companies must create opportunities for them to gain the right skillsets and experience. In Australia, the Lenovo consumer team has launched the Lenovo Legion Epprentice program, an initiative designed to equip games industry enthusiasts and passionate gamers with the right tech and professional tips to develop skills and highlight careers available to them in the games industry.
The initiative received hundreds of entries from ANZ's most passionate gamers who were looking to get their start in the industry. After rounds of careful selection, Amy Campbell became their first ever Epprentice and she has received professional mentorship in different aspects of the gaming industry.
Lenovo has a strong presence in the gaming and esports community overseas, but less so locally – what are your plans to replicate this successful brand recognition campaign in Malaysia and Southeast Asia?
Lenovo Legion is a young consumer brand. It is just a few years old compared to other gaming brands which have been around for more than a decade. Yet we have been the fastest growing brand in gaming PCs over the past year as we have relentlessly focused on what the customer wants.
The first step to building a strong brand is to let people know we have great products which they will love. Our Legion PCs have gained a reputation for being great for both work and play, and this has helped us gain many new fans in a short period of time.
The next step is to engage our audiences through multiple touchpoints. One of the touchpoints is our Rise of Legion online tournament series, which we run in many Asia-
Pacific markets every quarter.
Unlike other esports tournaments that tend to feature the top gaming pros, we invite casual gamers who just want to get together with friends and compete with other gamers with a big dose of fun.
We are also encouraging more female talents to take part in gaming tournaments (which are usually male-dominated events). With a commitment to promote more diversity and
inclusion, the Legion of Valkyries tournaments are held throughout the year for ladies only, reducing the barriers for female gamers to enter the competitive gaming scene.
How does Lenovo plan to strengthen their market share in the highly competitive gaming peripheral market?
We have a great lineup of gaming peripherals and our philosophy is make sure they provide the complete experience for people who buy Legion gaming products. For example, we have an M600 wireless gaming mouse that can last for 200 hours on one charge.
We’re really just starting out in this space and we will be bringing more cool innovations to the peripherals scene.
Recently, Lenovo joined the gaming phone market with the Legion Phone Duel. In line with market trends, is Lenovo planning to branch out into the console and/or streaming peripheral market in the near future as well?
Gaming has many possibilities and we always have many exciting things in the works. I’m
looking forward to sharing them when the time comes!