Empowering Young Gamers To Secure Their Future
The PEAK Singapore|October 2021
eSports and gaming entrepreneur Samson Oh built a gaming empire in Singapore against all odds. Now, he hopes to pay it forward by empowering young gamers to secure their future.
Karen Tee

MANY PEOPLE LOOK BACK ON THEIR CHILDHOODS WITH ROSE-TINTED GLASSES AND THE NOSTALGIA OF CAREFREE DAYS SPENT FROLICKING WITH FRIENDS. BUT NOT SAMSON OH.

He refers to his growing-up days in Imbi, once the red-light district of Kuala Lumpur, as the “dark side”. As a child, Oh had a front-row seat to the unsavoury drama, violence and corruption that plagued the neighbourhood.

“In the ‘70s, I lived next to the headquarters of one of the first red-light districts in Kuala Lumpur. My mother was a seamstress, and sometimes she would ask me to deliver clothes to where the prostitutes lived,” says the 45-year-old, now a self-made esports and gaming entrepreneur. His business suite in this sector includes esports news portal Gosu Gamers, esports talent agency Team Flash, media agency Redd+E and the incubator Cargo Studio.

Years after he worked his way out of Imbi, he still has vivid memories of peering out of his ground floor apartment window when commotions occurred on the street. “There was a lot of bribery and corruption, and I saw people getting stabbed outside my door. In school, I sometimes had to protect my schoolmates from gangsters,” says Oh, who became a Singapore citizen this year. “I have seen things no person should.”

A turning point for the young Oh came when he was introduced to a church, where older children like himself were tasked with taking care of the younger ones. “This was the best leadership school for me. It taught me to have a heart for youth and to leave no one behind. That has carried me through my life,” he reflects.

Today, the area, within walking distance of the Bukit Bintang and Sungei Wang shopping precinct, has evolved beyond its tainted past and is now better known for its vibrant street food scene.

But for Oh, these experiences are an indelible part of his identity. A licensed practitioner of NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), he says he draws strength and direction from his past. As a reminder of how far he has come since his gritty childhood, he has even posted a photograph of his old street on his Facebook account and looks at it at least once a year to ensure he stays the course.

NURTURING YOUNG DEVELOPERS

As he continues to grow his esports and gaming empire one company at a time, Oh is crystal clear about his mission: he wants to empower the next generation by offering them viable career options in the esports and gaming industry, regardless of their backgrounds or academic abilities.

“I am still buying and creating companies because I want to hire as many as possible regardless of their educational qualifications,” he says. His companies have a headcount of about 200 employees, with more than half of them based in Singapore.

Most recently, he raised $750,000 to launch the games development incubator Cargo Studio in February. Its programme for aspiring developers includes mentorship and guidance on essential entrepreneurship skills such as project and resource management, operations planning and monetisation design. This month, Cargo Studio launched its first two games, Rumble Jungle and Aesir Defense, at Gamescom Asia 2021.

“Building and shipping a game is like a start-up venture. My team does not look at the applicant’s PSLE scores or educational background but his passion and hunger to create something,” he says.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM THE PEAK SINGAPOREView All

Doing Good And Doing Well In Business Are Inextricably Linked

Literally building the future, Kia Jiehui believes that doing good and doing well in business are inextricably linked.

2 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
January - February 2022

Sustainability On His Radar

Anyone can make a difference in the world, big or small, says GS Sareen.

1 min read
The PEAK Singapore
January - February 2022

A Mission To Put An AI Assistant In The Hands Of Every Doctor

Dorothea Koh is on a mission to put an AI assistant in the hands of every doctor.

3 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
December 2021

Hoow Foods' Ow Yau Png Aims To Make Healthy Food Great Again

Hoow Foods’ Ow Yau Png aims to make healthy food great again.

2 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
January - February 2022

The Financial Utilitarian

Gregory Van is on a mission, and Endowus is his vehicle for spreading this message.

2 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
January - February 2022

South Korea's Best-Kept Gourmet Secret

It takes a little more effort for a foreigner to discover Jeju’s traditional and innovative culinary delights, but it’s worth it.

7 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
January - February 2022

Alpine Self-Care

Take a wellness retreat in a renowned health resort in Switzerland to relax and rejuvenate amidst pristine nature.

5 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
January - February 2022

History Lessons

At Rempapa, Damian D’Silva aims to rewrite the history of local heritage cuisine by bringing its appeal to a younger audience, inside and outside the kitchen.

5 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
January - February 2022

NEXT-GEN ISSUES

Three of our Next-Gen alumni – Anna Haotanto, John Cheng and Ng Yi-Xian – suggest issues they are passionate about. Find out what they think are the most critical issues of this decade.

8 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
January - February 2022

Time to Shine

Three veterans from the local jewellery scene share the new ways they have been taking their businesses forward during the pandemic.

5 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
January - February 2022
RELATED STORIES

Everybody Wants to Rule the World

A new game builds on the addictive appeal of Sid Meier’s Civilization.

8 mins read
The Atlantic
October 2021

A Match Made In Skyrim

Bethesda officially joins Microsoft

2 mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
June 2021

Breaking Ground

Meet the developers making bugs and glitches on purpose

10+ mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
March 2021

Tech To Make Guests Feel At Home, Part Two

In my last column, I discussed the generational improvements my custom installation company has witnessed since we started installing whole-house distributed audio systems back in 1995. Of course, almost everything has gotten better—and cheaper—over time, but one thing often overlooked in modern installations is operational simplicity for the guests who visit your home.

3 mins read
Sound & Vision
February - March 2020

Kentucky Route Zero: The Game That Defined (And Was Defined By) A Decade

Wild horses couldn’t drag me away.

7 mins read
PCWorld
March 2020

10 Best Examples Of Great Architecture On Xbox

Games are crammed full of gorgeously crafted designs and architecture. From gables to gargoyles, we look at the best building designs on Xbox One

5 mins read
Official Xbox Magazine
March 2020

PC Gamer 2020 Preview

Looking ahead to another great year of PC gaming

9 mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
April 2020

Call of Duty

Meet the streamer who fights the online right while speaking the language of gamergate.

10+ mins read
Mother Jones
March/April 2020

17 New PC Games We're Excited For In 2020

With new consoles due to arrive in november, there’s a sizable gap in the 2020 release calendar at the moment—but with cyberpunk, dying light 2, and more already on their way? It’s going to be a busy year.

10 mins read
PCWorld
February 2020

2020 Tech Preview

The Maximum PC team predicts what the coming year holds for PC technology

10+ mins read
Maximum PC
February 2020