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E-sports gaining acceptance in China


10-17-2016 03:59 BJT

From the hard court to the computer screen now, where gaming has long been seen as a waste of time by parents in many countries, including China. But the pastime has gained greater social acceptance in recent years, and become one of the major highlights at the Golden Eagle TV Art Festival. In fact, the e-sports competitions there attract some of the biggest crowds at this event.

Gaming is the new trend. With a major feature on China’s Golden Eagle TV Art Festival, e-sports is stealing the spotlight from the stars. More and more youngsters are joining this fever to fight for the championship. But Weng Dile, the leader of the winning team at the festival, is aiming much higher target.

"I’m 18 years old. I have been a professional player for over two years. I joined this line of work because I love playing games. And I want to be a world champion," Weng said.

And it’s not just Chinese citizens who are caught up in the craze. Myo is an e-sports commentator. The Russian student studied Chinese for three years in Beijing, and after graduation, he stayed on to explore a career in this area.

"In China, players here are more professional, and take their job more seriously. In the West, there are less professional players, and they adopt a more casual attitude,"  Myo said.

Li Xiaofeng, as known as Sky amongst gamers, is a legendary e-sports player in China. He said boys like Weng and Myo are in the right place at the right time.

"In the past, I would suggest to them not to be a professional e-sports player. I would always say, you should always have a backup option. But now, given the booming industry, I encouraged them to join," Li said.

After winning several world champions, Sky retired in 2015, and started a company selling game-related devices.

"Since 2011, the e-sports industry in China has been on the fast track. The social environment, the players’ salaries, online streaming ... everything is much better than before," Li said.

Video games have long been seen as evil monsters by Chinese parents, pushing the e-sports industry away from being a mainstream hobby. Today, e-sports and video games make up a 4 billion US dollar market, with an annual double digit growth in China.

Wang Sicong, the son of China’s richest man, was among the first to find underlying opportunities in the country’s e-sports industry. He said his goal is to make e-sports mainstream. But he also admits this is a long journey.

"Though things are going well, the goal can’t be accomplished in the near future. Everything, including the e-sports industry, is under government supervision. Any change in regulation could affect business. All we can do is to pray the regulation changes come later and are not as intense," Wang said.

Denying that the industry is overheated, Wang also said the e-sports industry will keep a rapid growth for a long time.

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