Santo Domingo — Video games are hugely popular worldwide, and the so-called Esports segment not only entertains gamers, but offers them the chance to make money, and lots of it, proving that it is a sector of much economic potential and growing, and with more business models emerging.
In 2021, around $227 million in prize money was awarded in Esports, in a total of 4,574 tournaments with 24,199 active players, according to the Esports Earnings platform, which records the activities of the worldwide gamer community.
So far in 2022, the platform has registered 1,436 tournaments played, with 10,260 active players and a total of $60.3 million in prize money awarded.
In the Dominican Republic, the industry is growing steadily, and Esports revenues are expected to total $679,800 in 2022, the equivalent of 37 million Dominican pesos, according to Arturo López Valerio, CEO of Tabuga, a digital consulting firm that is part of the Dominican Federation of Electronic Sports (FDDE).
López Valerio, who is also the president of the Dominican Chamber of Information and Communication Technologies, told Bloomberg Línea that the Caribbean country’s digital economy in 2022 will generate 5.85% of total GDP, according to Tabuga’s calculations, and that Esports have great revenue potential for the country.
However, he added that the value chain must be professionalized.
In order to achieve this professionalization, the chamber he presides over is seeking to introduce regulations for Esports in the country, and for which local congress member Orlando Jorge Villegas has submitted the Electronic Sports Bill.
If the bill becomes law, professional games would benefit from the country’s Sports Law (Ley 356-05), which would grant them the status of athlete.
Categories of games
The most popular categories of video game in the Dominican Republic are FPS (first-person shooter), racing, sports, fighting, Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) and third-person shooters.
Professional video game leagues already exist in the country, such as the Blink Esports League, which allows Dominican gamers to compete and develop their skills in events both at home and abroad.
According to the league’s website, since October 2018 it has focused on professionalizing and supporting the Esports industry both in the Dominican Republic and Latin America.
Support for Esports
In terms of tournaments, local bank Banco Popular Dominicano has organized the Copa Universitaria Popular for the past four years, and which, the bank claims, aims to support Dominican youth, with students from the country’s main universities participating in the tournament in online FIFA 20, NBA 2K20, League of Legends and Super Smash Bros Ultimate video games.
The Top 10 Dominican gamers
According to Esports Earnings, Saul Leonardo Mena, aka MenaRD, is the Dominican gamer with the highest earnings from Esports, having pocketed around $270,000.
MenaRD won the Capcom Cup in 2017, beating a number of renowned rivals and winning the $250,000 purse.
Other top-earning gamers in the Caribbean country include Jessi Rodríguez, aka Vapejesus, with winnings to date of $64,300.00); Wilmy, aka Daxor ($31,725.00); Carlos Pérez, aka Sonix ($30,594.05); Daris Daniel, aka DR Gross ($19,140.91); Hydron (US$16,168.08); Efren Vásquez, aka Tiki ($16.000); Cristhoper Rodriguez Nade, aka Caba ($13,582.68); Lenny Almanzar, aka Crossover ($9,250.00) and a player who identifies as C4LV1N, who has won $8,000 in prize money.
Translated from the Spanish by Adam Critchley