The Malta Esports Association (MESA), a locally registered non-profit organisation, was launched this week.
Founded by several of the key stakeholders in the Maltese esports ecosystem, MESA’s intention is to support the ongoing growth story for the Maltese esports scene, from a variety of perspectives.
MESA also administers the national esports team, and is a member of the European Esports Federation, and the International Esports Federation. Esports, or organised competitive video gaming, is a rapidly growing economic sector worldwide and the Maltese government has made multiple commitments to back this nascent industry.
It is the new governing body’s intention to unite all relevant local stakeholders with one common goal – to better the local esports environment.
“The Malta Esports Association aims to be a unifying body for esports in Malta, seeking to standardise, professionalise and help esports on its journey towards a stable, sustainable and reliable competitive activity, educational tool, and an attractive economic niche and advertising medium,” said Michele Magro, president of MESA.
“On our launch day, we are releasing our Manifesto, which includes eight detailed proposals to a Government which has already put action behind its strategy to make esports an economic pillar in Malta.
“We are also releasing the first iteration of our Data Report, which will give further insight and information on the Maltese esports community to anyone interested in the sector, and we will announce the National Esports Team’s campaign to this year’s European and International championships.
“This is only the start of a planned series of initiatives which will bring esports to the fore, create new opportunities and awareness. The esports community has long needed a single voice representing the interests of all stakeholders, and MESA seeks to use the momentum provided to it by its wide collective of members, to take esports to the next level.”
In its manifesto, MESA published eight key recommendations to the government.
The classification of esports as sports under Maltese law would offer a significant boost to the complete esports ecosystem, from players right up to team organisations, tournament organisers, and everyone in between.
Access to Government Finance is another crucial piece of the puzzle which needs to be made available to esports businesses.
From a player perspective, esports visas need to be permitted to allow top tier local events, given top esports players come from a wide variety of countries.
There also needs to be an appropriate corporate and tax infrastructure leveraged towards the esports industry, designed to also attract international talent and business.
Education is of paramount importance, so that those starting their careers, as well as their parents and mentors, understand there is a job market in esports beyond the players.
Malta has done some good work to build a public image in esports, something which needs to continue into the future.
Just as with sports, strong facilities, consistent grassroots work and national initiatives will play an important role in the long-term development of players, coaches, managers and others involved at a gameplay level.