MLBB Creates History but Other Disciplines See Dip
The 32nd Southeast Asian Games, a biennial extravaganza featuring 11 countries from Southeast Asia, has come to a close. Esports, once again, played a significant role in the event, with six games and nine events captivating fans. While Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (MLBB) created history as the most popular female esports event to date, overall, the esports disciplines witnessed a decline compared to the previous edition.
Overview of the 32nd SEA Games Esports Event
The 32nd SEA Games marked the third inclusion of esports in the event. The esports competitions included Attack Online 2 (individual and team), Crossfire, Valorant, League of Legends: Wild Rift, PUBG Mobile (individual and team), and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang (men’s and women’s teams). The esports disciplines attracted significant attention and viewership throughout the event.
Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Takes the Spotlight
Unsurprisingly, the men’s and women’s Mobile Legends: Bang Bang tournaments stole the show in terms of viewership. The women’s MLBB competition made history by becoming the most-watched female esports event ever, boasting 1.36 million peak viewers. The men’s MLBB segment was equally popular, reaching 1.46 million peak viewers. These tournaments accumulated 6.3 million and 10.4 million hours watched, respectively, making them two of only three games to surpass the one-million mark at the 32nd SEA Games.
PUBG Mobile and Other Disciplines
PUBG Mobile garnered significant viewership with 6.4 million hours watched and 639,000 peak viewers. However, other disciplines like Valorant, Attack Online 2, Crossfire, and League of Legends: Wild Rift couldn’t match the record numbers set at the previous edition of the SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam. Although Valorant and Attack Online 2 made their debuts, they couldn’t generate the same level of viewership as the more established games.
Comparing Viewership of the 31st and 32nd SEA Games
A comparison of viewership statistics between the 31st and 32nd SEA Games reveals a decline in viewership for the latest edition. The 2021 edition recorded 31.6 million hours watched compared to 23.7 million hours watched in the 32nd SEA Games. The primary reason for this dip is the difference in market size between the host nations. The previous host had a larger market for these esports titles.
Language Preferences and Regional Differences
The viewership patterns of the main languages—Indonesian, Tagalog, Bahasa Malaysia, and Vietnamese—showed a significant decrease in watch hours in 2023, with only English viewers maintaining a steady interest. It appears that viewers from the host country and neighboring regions were more engaged in the previous edition. The popularity of specific games varies across different countries, with Vietnam being a particularly lucrative market for games like PUBG Mobile and Crossfire.
Looking Ahead to the Next Edition
As the 32nd SEA Games concludes, attention turns to the next edition, set to take place in Thailand—an important market for many of these games. It will be interesting to observe how
the viewership statistics evolve in the next event and whether it can surpass the numbers of the previous editions.
The 32nd SEA Games showcased the growing significance of esports in the region. While the MLBB tournaments, especially the women’s competition, made history and attracted massive viewership, other disciplines experienced a decline compared to the previous edition. The influence of language preferences and regional market sizes played a role in shaping the viewership trends. As esports continues to evolve, future editions of the SEA Games will offer new opportunities for growth and excitement.
Which game had the highest viewership at the 32nd SEA Games?
The men’s and women’s Mobile Legends: Bang Bang tournaments achieved the highest viewership, making it the most popular esports event of the competition.
Why did the viewership decline in the 32nd SEA Games compared to the previous edition?
The primary reason for the decline in viewership was the difference in market size between the host nations. The previous host had a larger market for esports titles, leading to higher viewership.
What impact did language preferences have on viewership?
The viewership of the main languages, excluding English, experienced a significant decrease in watch hours. English viewers showed more consistent interest in the event.
Will the next edition of the SEA Games in Thailand have different viewership patterns?
It is anticipated that viewership patterns may change as the event moves to Thailand, which has its own unique market preferences for esports.
What is the significance of the MLBB women’s tournament at the 32nd SEA Games?
The women’s Mobile Legends: Bang Bang tournament created history by becoming the most-watched female esports event to date, showcasing the growing popularity of female esports competitions.