Gamer sees growth in mobile gaming interest
Wider access to smartphone and cheaper Internet has led to the increasing popularity of mobile video games in Samoa.
That’s the view of Alfred Tipasa, a gamer and a member of Samoa's first e-sports team called the "Hero Clan."
"The increase is insane because back in 2018 there were just a few people who were into mobile gaming, for example teenagers and students at the National University of Samoa and the University of the South Pacific," Mr. Tipasa said.
"Now it’s quite an increase because you see older people and little kids getting into mobile gaming."
Mr. Tipasa said the infrastructure is now in Samoa that encourages the growth in mobile gaming.
"Only a few people were able to access a smartphone many years ago but now many people in the country are equipped with them," he said.
"Some people here take interest in mobile gaming now because data packages are more affordable.”
But mobile games are not new to Samoa.
"Mobile gaming has always been in Samoa,” he said. “If you go back to the Nokia phone days which included an alien game and snake game, it has always been just you and your game but now with the rise of smartphones, you now have access to bigger games that connect to other people.”
Mr. Tipasa sees potential for more people in Samoa to enter competitive levels when it comes to mobile games.
"It's really good to see our people do stuff that people overseas can. So we are reaching that level because Samoa is a really small island and there are so many talented people and they aren't really recognized," he said.
“Some people play for the fun of it or just to past the time while others take it to a competitive level.
"They mainly stay in physical sports but in gaming, people also have the potential to be recognized and to represent their country. Some people here in Samoa have got skills on mobile gaming but the majority still play for fun."
Mr. Tipasa added that mobile gaming promotes social distancing and it’s ideal during the lockdown.
“It’s convenient because your phone is right there and you can play from anywhere. Almost everyone in a house has a phone and you can socialize through gaming and maintain the social distancing that is being recommended," he said.
"You can also contact your friends through these games from within your house so you don't have to meet up."
But he warns that it also has its disadvantages.
"You have to think of the power consumption,” he said.
“Phones consume less electricity compared to gaming consoles and PC's. There are people that really love to play games but it all depends on their phones if it has the ability to play a certain game and the other obstacle you will face is the internet speed.”
Asked if he had any plans to establish a mobile gaming tournament (entirely based on P.U.B.G) he said that he is in talks with the founder of Hero Clan and owner of Push Play (a gaming hub located in Apia), Francis Ah Wong, to host a tournament.
"I am really trying to convince Francis if we can host a local mobile gaming tournament in Samoa because Fiji has done it already.”