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

Empowering Young Gamers To Secure Their Future

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.

8 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
October 2021

Dave Pynt Rewrites The Rules Of Whisky

Burnt Ends chef-owner Dave Pynt rewrites the rules of whisky pairing by matching equally bold flavours.

1 min read
The PEAK Singapore
October 2021

Crazy For Crustaceans

Desmond Chow of Singapore Crawfish aims to revolutionise food security one critter at a time.

3 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
October 2021

The Substance Of Style

How a personal wardrobe crisis led Raena Lim and Chris Halim to create a SoftBank-backed fashion start-up and discover a deeper purpose.

4 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
October 2021

The New Mercedes-Benz EQC

The EQC is Mercedes-Benz’s first real foray into the electric vehicle market, and it’s a mighty fine one.

2 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
October 2021

Craft Pursuits

Singapore’s craft beer scene is booming, thanks to increasingly experimental palates and creative collaborations.

7 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
October 2021

A Superhero Story

Ben Ang turned his love for comics into a multimillion-dollar business. However, it wasn’t easy.

3 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
October 2021

A New Twist to an Old Favourite

Olivia Sulaeman, CEO of the Auntie Anne’s franchise in Singapore, on finding new ways to ensure the nostalgic soft pretzel remains a favourite snack for the next generation.

3 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
October 2021

A Guy Thing

If this fresh crop of start-ups is any indication, the future of men’s makeup looks rosy.

3 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
October 2021

The Cold Brew Gold Standard

Citigold Private Client Richard Koh could have decided to hang it up when he was retrenched five years ago. Instead, he went on his next adventure – cold brew coffee.

3 mins read
The PEAK Singapore
October 2021
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