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SEA esports brand to expand to Japan

by Drew Malihan

MANILA - A Southeast Asian gaming powerhouse will now say "Ohayo!" to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Tier One Entertainment, one of SEA's leading gaming and esports brands, announced their first move outside of the Southeast Asian market with move to another esports haven in Japan.

The company entered an investment deal with Japan-based internet firm KAYAC as well as Warner Music Group, who has a strong Japanese market presence.

Last October 22, Tier One also announced a partnership with another Japan-based talent agency in Cooperstown Entertainment, which lands them Street Fighter icon Daigo Umehara.

"We are thrilled that Tier One Entertainment is bringing the enormous momentum of the SEA gaming scene to Japan as its first foray outside its territory," KAYAC Chief Executive Officer Daisuke Yanasawa said in a statement. "Our collaboration will allow us to forge unique kinds of gaming entertainment to audiences in Japan and other key markets in Asia."

Tryke Gutierrez, CEO and Co-founder of Tier One, expresses his excitement over the Japan expansion.

"Japan is a country with a long history both in gaming and innovation in multimedia. With over 57% of its population being gamers, there’s a big opportunity for us to grow our brand. Tier One is bringing our brand of entertainment to the Japanese gaming industry. Our goal is to gather a core team and build an initial roster of content creators that will elevate esports and video games in Japan in ways the country has never experienced before,” Gutierrez said.

“Japan has always been my second home and is a country that's really close to my heart. As gaming, esports, anime and toys become more and more part of a gamer’s day-to-day life, I truly believe that Tier One has to set foot in Tokyo, the mecca of geek culture. This is an exciting time for us and we can't wait to see what we can do in Japan and the esports and gaming space there for the years to come.“ he added.

The Singapore and Manila-based esports brand is also looking to enter the music industry as they are looking to debut their first idol group in Japan, who has a rich idol culture such as AKB48 and Arashi to name a few.

The four-piece idol group "are set to redefine what it means to be an influencer and content creator who challenges the status quo," said Tier One in a statement.

Model and cosplayer Harry "har_fie" Field was revealed to be the first member of the "Project 4," which has yet to get an official name, while the rest of the group members will be revealed in next couple of months.

“Through Tier One I was able to further share my passion for video games. Now with our Japan expansion, I get to work closely with another one of my great loves: Japanese culture," Tier One co-founder Alodia Gosiengfiao said.

"Not only are we signing new talents for the Japanese market, but we're also going to debut our idol group, which will be Tier One's greatest expression of cutting-edge style to date. That makes me very excited," she added.

Tier One has made their presence known in the Southeast Asian market from 2017, operating in the Philippines, Myanmar, Malaysia, Vietnam and Japan.

The company also housed esports teams under the Blacklist International banner, and has teams and players for major esports labels such as Free Fire, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, Call of Duty Mobile, and PUBG Mobile to name a few. 

Follow him on Twitter: @drewmalihan

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