AcadArena returns to campus esports and education roots

The company that made the tagline #NotJustPlay is set to refocus itself toward that core mission once again. AcadArena... Paolo | 29. February 2024

The company that made the tagline #NotJustPlay is set to refocus itself toward that core mission once again.

AcadArena has rebranded its social media pages into AcadArena Education as of February 29.

“We started with a mission to preach with less than 10 student clubs. In 5 years, we’re at 150+. The collective effort of generations of students has created a healthier space to understand how their hobbies can help them be more,” AcadArena CEO Ariane Lim said in a statement posted on their company’s website.

Several key programs were announced on the said statement as well, highlighting the new direction the company is taking.

The company announced the formation of the AcadArena Buffs program which can help students, teachers, clubs, local governments, and NGOs to get support “from game credits to merch.” The aim, they say, is to help budding communities and rookie project managers get their first sponsorships.

Challengermode will now also host all their esports tournaments and community directory, as the company is now moving on migrating their current data. “We’re working with the devs on how we can make student verification easier so for now, please bear with us,” the company says.

As for the Alliance Games, a new format was introduced in the latter half of 2023 by going regional and covering different parts of the Philippines. “Our esports league going regional was one of the best displays of our community’s super power. We will create more esports events specific to each regional conference to rally them more for the next year. National Finals is slated this July. We already have a host school,” the company states.

On the educational side of things, AcadArena says they still have some programs lined up to prepare students for the workforce, but they are also working to diversify their scholarship grants in a manner similar to traditional scholarship methods. Internship opportunities are also being fixed as of the moment, and will go live by the second quarter of the year.


The co-founders of AcadArena: Justin Banusing, Ariane Lim, and Kevin Hoang. As of February 26, 2024, AcadArena Education is now solely headed by Lim. (2021 file photo from Google Images/AcadArena)


AcadArena CEO Ariane Lim made an announcement last February 29 that she is now the sole owner of the company.

“As of February 26, 2024, AcadArena Education is officially a Philippine corporation under me, Ariane Lim,” she said in the statement. The move also confirms the departure of its co-founders, former COO Justin Banusing and former co-CEO Kevin Hoang.

Banusing moved on to establish Clout Kitchen, which, according to its LinkedIn page, is “building the next big consumer apps with your favorite creators.”

As for Hoang, he currently heads ArcLight Labs, which, according to its social media pages and website, is a “creator-first venture studio on a mission to bring creators to the global stage and unlock their full potential with content and technology.”

The said departure came after the controversial 2023 CONQuest event which drew flak for long lines, overcrowding, and a host of other issues that went viral on social media.

“AcadArena first started in 2019 as the Philippines’ first national campus esports program. The #NotJustPlay mission was what I wanted to realize even if it meant juggling two jobs. When that gig became a VC-backed company, we were able to do a lot more good, but also, we just wanted to do way too many things,” Lim said in the statement.

AcarArena Seed Round Esquire(2021 file photo from Google Images/AcadArena)

In December 2021, AcadArena secured a US$3.5 million in seed round funding from venture capitalists to expand its programs.

“There have been so many educational programs the past few years that I couldn’t do even with all the resources I had because we differed on where we wanted to take it,” Lim said, adding, “So I decided last year to just take it back. If Taylor Swift showed she can re-record her songs, I can re-incorporate my campus IPs and programs I designed.”

“AcadArena Education is not just Ariane’s version. Dedicated staff, partners and community members, former and current, has helped shape and affirm this direction,” Lim adds.