Tournament organiser and independent matchmaking platform FACEIT announced a collaboration with several Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO) community leaders in Asia to launch the Asian Pro League (APL) on their matchmaking platform. The APL will feature servers in Hong Kong and Singapore but will allow players from 20 countries to join and subscribe.
At launch, the APL features a Pro Division with a prize pool of $1,000 (£766). The league also has 4 divisions, split by Hong Kong and Singapore servers, with the player at the top of the leaderboard receiving a spot in the Pro Division for the next month. Currently, the Pro Division has over 100 players, with over 400 in the amateur division. Comparatively, FACEIT’s own Pro League has over 200 players in both their North American and European leagues.
Still, the numbers are encouraging for launch day, as interested players require a sign-up fee to play. With a $4.99/mo (£3.83) price tag, players will have to decide whether or not the price of admission is worth it in the coming months. Matchmaking in South East Asia has been lacking, with few online tournaments and even fewer offline LANs, there hasn’t been a galvanizing force that can tap into the CS:GO community. Indian matchmaking platform SoStronk launched their paid service last year, named neXt. While the platform has been at the heart of hosting qualifiers for major international tournaments, their own league hasn’t gained momentum. ESEA and ESL have made some attempts at cornering the Asia market, with ESL recently announcing a dedicated league in Indonesia.
Esports Insider says: This move is an important step for the Asian CS:GO scene, specifically South East Asia, as players now have a dedicated platform for matchmaking. It’s difficult to kickstart the competitive scene within Asia without a proper framework. Singular annual tournaments cannot sustain the scene and while it may take some time, a grassroots movement engaging the semi-pro players is the best way to create a meaningful community. The league also has benefits in being able to showcase Asian talent for international teams to pick up. As we’ve seen through Faceit Pro League, players have been scouted through that system and gone on to perform well on top teams. There are many exciting developments to watch going into 2019, and the emergence of the APL is another to add to the list.