(CNA file photo)
Taipei, Feb. 8 (CNA) The Ministry of Culture said Wednesday that it is accepting applications for 10 alternative national conscription spots aimed at cultivating e-sports talent in the country.
The ministry said it is offering five such spots to people born in or before 1993 and another five to those born in or after 1994. Applications must be submitted by Feb. 24.
To be eligible, applicants need to meet at least one of the following requirements:
-- Having won a bronze, silver or gold medal in an Olympic Committee-sanctioned e-sports game;
-- Having won a bronze, silver or gold medal over the past five years (since Jan. 1, 2012) in an e-sports event sponsored or commissioned by the International e-Sports Federation (IeSF);
-- Having at least one year's experience in professional e-sports gaming and having participated in at least one-third of such games that are of "considerable scale."
By "considerable scale," the ministry means the event must have been held for two consecutive years, with at least four teams or eight individuals participating.
Not counting warm-up, qualification and other pre-game rounds, such an event must have 50 games per year -- which can be extended into several "quarters" crossing a calendar year.
In addition, all such events need to have been held with a complete set of rules and regulations for the event, players and judges.
In recent years, Taiwanese young people have done well at various international e-sports competitions, and relevant industries have churned out products with huge economic value.
Lawmakers have called on the government to help develop e-sports into a professional sport that should be regulated by specific legislation.
Gaming gear makers such as ASUS and Micro-Star International (MSi) welcomed the government move, saying it is a "good first step" toward making Taiwan a competitive country in the gaming industry.
ASUS launched its Republic of Games (ROG) series of products 11 years ago, and now its gaming motherboards are leading the world. NPD statistics show that ASUS gaming notebooks are taking a 40 percent share of the world market.
MSi's gaming products saw fast growth in market shares in 2015. Early this year, it released a series of 25 products in a bid to maintain its momentum in growing market shares.
(By Lo Kuang-jen, Esme Jiang and S.C. Chang)