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September 20, 2017

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Let government stay out of the business of cyber gaming

Government officials and lawmakers agreed to help establish cyber gaming, or "e-sports," as a national sport that qualifies for government assistance shortly after a Taiwanese team won an international video game tournament in the so-called City of Angels in the United States

The Taipei Assassins (TPA) defeated a team from South Korea in the "League of Legends" world championships in Los Angeles on Oct. 13 and took home the US$1 million (approximately NT$29 million) first prize. The cash is cold, and the honor is badly needed. A Nobel Prize winner as big as the European Union takes home not much more prize money than that.

Chen Yueh-hsin, chairman of a league that promotes cyber gaming in Taiwan, and the title-winning TPA have called on the legislative caucuses of the Kuomintang, the Democratic Progressive Party and the People First Party and urged lawmakers to help lobby the Sports Affairs Council (SAC) to recognize cyber gaming as a sport and establish it as a discipline eligible for assistance from the government.

Chen told the lawmakers that cyber gaming has enormous economic potential.

TPA leader Chen Hui-chung, on the other hand, said that action was needed if Taiwan did not want to fall behind neighboring countries. The government also needs to provide guidance to help professional gamers with their long-term career plans, Chen said.

In response to their appeals, Education Minister Chiang Wei-ling told lawmakers during a legislative hearing last week that his ministry will consider establishing a special higher educational track for professional gamers, and it expects to have a proposal ready within three months.

While many people in Taiwan are grateful to the gamers for bringing honor to their home country at a time when both the government and the ruling party have little to show for their efforts, one must not lose sight of the fact that others, especially anxious parents and school teachers, are entitled to the answers to a host of related questions before the government commits itself and taxpayer dollars to helping gamers.

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