Cellcard – in partnership with the Esports Federation of Cambodia (EFC) – today announced the opening of the wild card selection for the next major “Rules of Survival” tournament.

Players have until July 20 to form a squad and sign up for the wild card tournament on Cellcard’s PlayGame app.

The 10 teams to progress from the wild card round will go on to compete in the “Rules of Survival KH Cup Season 3” tournament semi-final on August 1.

With a prize pool of 50,000,000 riel, Cellcard CEO Ian Watson said the online tournament would attract hundreds of gamers from across the Kingdom keen to challenge their peers.

Watson said the tournament was made possible through Cellcard’s strong partnerships with both the EFC and Chinese video game development giant Netease.

“We’ve been working with the EFC and Netease for almost two years now to build the local gamer community and provide opportunities for Cambodians to participate in the much wider global scene.

“We launched PlayGame – Cambodia’s first virtual gaming platform – in April to host online tournaments while we wait for on-ground events to be permitted again.

“The number of gamers on the platform has seen impressive growth as young people show a need to gather with their peers and belong to a community – even if it is virtual for the time being,” Watson said.

He said that as Cambodia’s leading telco for Esports, and the EFC’s exclusive telco partner, Cellcard would continue to expand its national programme to ensure Cambodians were represented in the larger Asian tournaments.

Esport Business Network co-founder Ian Tan Wei Lun (left) with the Orange Esport team and Cellcard CEO Ian Watson (right) after a signing ceremony between Cellcard and Orange Esport. Supplied

Globally, Esports is a multi-billion-dollar industry – and one that is growing rapidly.

Cellcard estimates that Cambodia today has around two million gamers, with 15 million and 14 million respectively in neighbouring markets Thailand and Malaysia.

Together with the EFC, Cellcard hosted five major tournaments in Phnom Penh last year, attracting more than 1,000 teams.

As well as Netease, Cellcard has strong partnerships with world-leading game developers Moonton and Tencent to bring “Mobile Legends” and “PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds” (“PUBG”) experiences, tournaments and incentives to gamers in Cambodia.

In addition to gaming, Cellcard is also working on numerous e-learning educational programmes.

Watson said there would be announcements soon regarding the e-learning initiatives for schools.

“As the ‘Proudly Khmer’ mobile network operator, Cellcard is committed to keeping as many young Cambodian people connected and learning while schools are closed, while also giving them enjoyment and a chance to develop new skills and interests.

“Cellcard is inclusive for everyone to participate, and we ensure our tournaments and gaming platforms are open for all.

“We encourage fair and open play because we believe it’s important to have good authentic gaming in the community,” Watson said.

The end goal was for Cambodia to be well represented in the global arena, with real career choices and income potential for Cambodians, he added.