As it turns out, homegrown Mandopop singer and ‘auntie killer’ JJ Lin has more going for him than boyish good looks and a captivating voice. The singer also happens to be an avid gamer, and recently won the hearts of the Singapore gaming scene when he announced that an all-Singaporean team would be added to his international e-sports organisation, Team SMG.
The local team is signed to Lin’s esports organisation and comprises of veteran gamers who have clinched top awards playing first-person shooter (FPS) games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive in numerous competitions.
In keeping with their past achievements, the seven-member team will be competing in a new FPS by Riot Games called Valorant. Before getting scouted by Team SMG, the homegrown team had already won two Valorant community tournaments in Singapore.
This is the first-ever Singaporean team to be added under Team SMG, which stands for “Still Moving Under Gunfire”. Lin first founded the organisation in 2017, with former Dota 2 player and coach, Kenchi Yap.
The addition hits Lin close to home, who enjoys revisiting his roots in Singapore. The singer has previously even been spotted playing Dota 2 at a LAN shop here.
He said, “Born and raised in this little red dot that is Singapore, it’s been my dream to not only build my businesses and brands here but also farther beyond.”
“This is a milestone in my esports journey, one that is very close to my heart.”
Esports has also been a long time passion for Lin. He shared that although he started gaming as a pastime, his passion has since evolved into a global mission for esports.
“As a Singaporean, I naturally want to nurture a home-grown team and inch them towards the global platform. I aspire to instill positive values in them while striving to achieve success in an ever-growing esports industry,” he shared.
Team SMG Valorant is fresh off of its competitive debut against other teams in Southeast Asia. The team played its first competitive match on 29 July 2020, making a strong entry into the Rise of Legion: Valorant tournament.
The team won its first two matches, beating two Thai teams and barely missing a spot in the grand finals. The team will walk out of the tournament with a 3rd prize, amidst 16 other competing teams.
Team SMG Valorant is poised for success in the global esports scene, emulating the victorious trajectory of its parent organisation and team. Team SMG had other victories — its Taiwanese team won the 2017 Arena of Valor World Championship, earning US$200,000.
The all-Singaporean Team SMG Valorant is the second Southeast Asian team to join Team SMG. Lin’s first strategic foray into the gaming industry in Southeast Asia led him to acquire a Mobile Legends: Bang Bang team from Malaysia, Makan Cendol.
Makan Cendol’s players feature expertise in multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games as opposed to FPS games, which is the game-type that Team SMG’s all-Singaporean team is focused on.
Lin himself finds his love for esports tracing back to the MOBA genre with a well-loved game developed by fans, Dota.
In a press statement, Lin said “I’ve grown to love the MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) genre ever since Dota was first released on the Warcraft 3 custom game platform. It has since fueled my passion for esports.”
Fans of Team SMG can expect more team acquirements by Lin in Southeast Asia, who is on the hunt for promising talent in the region.
“Southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing markets for mobile esports and with Team SMG, we are confident in building a place where we can cultivate and grow local talent in the region”, he said.
Expect to see more from Team SMG Valorant, which is well-timed with its victorious entry into the burgeoning competitive space of Valorant. The new game has already made waves in the global gaming industry, with almost three million gamers playing it on a daily basis during its beta testing phase, in the two months prior to its launch in June 2020.