The Government of Malta has revealed in the 2019 budget that it will be looking to make Malta a desirable destination for the esports industry.
Initially reported by Malta Today, the Maltese government will look to make an “aggressive move to form a cluster for the esports world, which comprises competitive and professional video gaming”.
Malta has yet to make its mark on the esports industry but continues to be a hotbed for activity in the blockchain industry as well as it’s long-term ties with the gambling and iGaming industries.
The small island boasts a population of over 400,000 and perhaps more surprisingly has 159 players who have won money from esports competition – ranging from Kurt “Kurt0411” Fenech who has earned $37,500 from FIFA through to Haykel Mansour who has made $5.72 from Fortnite competition.
Recently, Fenech received a two month ban from FIFA competition for “launching personal attacks” on people. In a statement, Fenech outlines his effective retirement from FIFA competition: “My time with competitive FIFA is over regardless of what happens, but I obviously won’t let them get away with this. I will be seeking legal advice and then proceed from there”.
One of the earliest opportunities to see how esports takes to Malta will be the GO Malta Esports Festival which will feature a €5,000 Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 tournament. The tournament is run in partnership with European Esports Gaming (“EEG”) and will take place between December 7-9th. The competition will not feature the game’s take on the burgeoning battle royale genre “Blackout”, but will focus on five versus five Call of Duty instead.
Esports Insider says: Malta has historically done well to attract new and upcoming industries to its shores in the past. We only have to look at its success in attracting blockchain, gambling and iGaming startups in the past. It’ll be interesting to see if esports companies take to the island in the same way. We personally wouldn’t mind a trip down to Malta to watch some esports anyway.