SLS announcement sparks concern for Singapore’s esports scene

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Earlier this week, Garena Singapore announced that The Legends Circuit Singapore (TLCSG) would be replaced by a newer competition called the Singapore Legends Series (SLS).

The month-long tournament, unlike TLCSG, will feature 2 online qualifiers with minimal restrictions as well as playoffs between the top 8 teams in an offline setting. The prize pool was also reduced from $43,000 to a total of $10,000.

SLS players would not be granted the title of professional player, freeing these players from previous restrictions to lower tier tournaments.

Community Concern
This change came to the local community as a huge blow and we spoke to many concerned members for their opinions.

Teams were initially already puzzled at the fact that TLCSG had not started while all other leagues in the GPL region were already under way.

Members we spoke to expressed concerns over the many underlying implications to this move.

“Garena’s seeming focus on the Singapore Campus League (SGCL) instead of the pro League is concerning. It sends a message that players are penalized for being good at LoL. TLC players played on laptops while SGCL players had desktops complete with curved monitors.”

Just earlier this year, Garena’s SGCL filled the entirety of Scape’s auditorium for both A and B Division Finals. TLCSG’s Finals are speculated to be held at the Gam3.asia Arena at Marina Square.

“Is the significantly lower prize pool because of lack of sponsors? We are afraid that this dip will chase current and aspiring players away.”

SGCL secured sponsors from M1, Canon, lenovo, National Youth Council. SLS has yet to announce any sponsors for their event.

“The removal of Pro Player status strips players of their status but doesn’t guarantee that 3rd party tournaments don’t add a clause to prevent them from playing.”

There has been a recent spike in 3rd party tournaments organized by Gam3.asia, allowing players to hone their competitive skills in their downtime. These tournaments have yet to place many restrictions on pro-players.

“I question the decision to allow almost anyone to apply for the tournament. How will this ensure our competitiveness in the GPL? The motivation for teams to win is gone.”

SLS no longer requires players to qualify via smaller tournaments such as Novice Cup or Teemo Cup.

Understanding
Some members of the community were ultimately sympathetic to Garena’s decision. Citing that they understood the rationale behind their decision to switch the tournament formats.

“While the Prize Pool has been reduced, it is still quite a fairly large sum compared to many others that choose to give away gaming peripherals as compared to cash. Perhaps we have been too reliant on Garena’s prize pools for sustainability instead of looking for it on our own.”

The new SLS is nearly half the period of committment required of players than that of TLCSG.

“We respect what Garena has been doing for us over the years and we just wish that Garena would be more transparent with us about their decisions instead of just informing us with little negotiation room.”

“A disheartening yet understandable move by Garena. With viewership continuing to dwindle it comes as no surprise that changes needed to be made. With a heavy grassroot focused esports model, the shift in attention, pro players are tossed out with campus players now reveling in the spot light. The question has been made, is the continued expense of a pro Singapore league truly a rewarding investment? In all honesty, despite my avid love for all things LoL esports, an objective point of view from me totally understands the direction”

When we spoke to Garena, they expressed that they understand the concerns of the community and are glad that people are coming forth as it shows how deeply the local scene still cares about esports. Thus they are still optimistic and are willing to try new ideas that will improve the scene in the future.

The SLS Qualifier 1 starts 14 July 2017, four days after initial announcement of the tournament.

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