DESPITE DROPPING out of vocational school, Donpraphop Tiendam still managed to land a unique job that may not ring any bells for those outside the e-sports world.
E-sports is a multiplayer video game played competitively for spectators, typically by professional gamers.
“I have been an e-sports commentator for about eight years already,” the 28-year-old said. He is proud of his career choice, which requires constant self-improvement and offers increasingly brighter prospects in the face of a booming e-sports sector.
Estimates peg Thailand’s e-sports industry as being worth Bt10 billion, with a yearly growth of around 12 per cent.
Donpraphop is part of “Dreamcasters” – one of Thailand’s top e-sports commentator services.
“Initially, I was a player,” Donpraphop recalls. “But after joining several tournaments, I noticed that the matches were not very exciting without commentators. From watching international matches, I realised that the audience learned a lot about the sport and players’ background from the commentators. That’s when I became interested in becoming a commentator myself.”
According to him, commentators account for about 10 per cent of staff at e-sports firms and most earn between Bt15,000 and Bt30,000 a month.
“Income can be higher if commentators take extra jobs at available events,” Donpraphop said. “The more experienced you are, the higher you are paid.”
He says he constantly updates his skills and knowledge because the industry has been moving fast.
“The popularity of players have also changed over time. As professional commentators, we need to keep abreast of what has been going on in our field.” A skilled commentator could share interesting titbits about the players, new scenes and rules.
“We bring excitement and leave our audience and players feeling happy,” Donpraphop said.
He used to earn just Bt1 per minute for his commentary, “but my rate has already increased”, he said, without revealing his current fees.
Yongyuth Teuk-am, a 24-year-old graduate from Srinakharinwirot University, said he started working as an e-sports commentator four years ago.
“I am drawn to this job because of my interest in gaming,” he said, adding that he has been addicted to video games from a young age and has watched countless tournaments.
Just like Donpraphop, he initially jumped into the e-sports field in the hope of becoming a professional player, but ended up falling in love with commentary instead.
“It is fun. It’s a job that has made me happy since day one,” he said.
While commentating, Yongyuth says, he focuses on making things easy for the audience to understand.
“I do a lot of research to understand the background of the tournaments and the players. This way, we can communicate well with the audience,” he said.
As there are not many e-sports commentators in Thailand, there is a lot of work available for them, he says.
The Sports Authority of Thailand officially recognised e-sports last year, but the Mental Health Department adviser Dr Yongyud Wongpiromsarn expressed concerns that the promotion of e-sports would likely do more harm than good.
According to him, a study in the United States revealed recently that just one in a million online-gamers can become professional gamers. “Meanwhile, thousands become gaming addicts,” he pointed out.