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Esports attracts almost 1/5 Chinese people: report

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨CGTN

05-31-2018 10:29 BJT

Almost one in five people in China have played esports, according to an iResearch report released on Wednesday.

According to the report, the esports market since 2010 is expanding even faster than the previous decade. Total market size has reached more than 60 billion yuan (about 9 billion US dollars).

That's almost 60 percent larger than that of 2016.

The main reason behind the surge is phone players. In 2017, esports players in China doubled in number, and phone players are leading the expansion.

The mobile esports market is now the same size as PC and console combined in the country.

MOBA or chicken dinner?

Two types of games dominated China's esports market: MOBA and Battle Royale.

MOBA games, namely League of Legends (LOL) and King of Honors, used to be the king on the PCs.

But as PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG) ignited the Battle Royale wildfire, MOBA games are moving to mobile.

While Tencent and NetEase are actively pushing their mobile port of PUBG, most of the players are still enjoying MOBA on phones.

iResearch asked 1,190 Chinese esports players about why they started to play. 74.3 percent of them said, "my friends are playing."

71 percent of the players also said they upgraded their PC to play PUBG, as the game requires mighty "gaming rig" to run fluently.

Apart from the general masses, professional players are also seeing some changes in their careers.

Esports, or video game in general, was not a good thing in China for more than a decade. Even CCTV, the owner organization of CGTN, used to call online gaming "the electronic heroin."

But now this kind of entertainment is getting accepted in the society.

The latest proof is the victory of esports club Royal Never Give Up and its star player, Jian "UZI" Zihao.

The boys just won an International LOL tournament and revenged against South Koreans on May 20.

This event is spreading fast on China's social media website. Most people reacted gladly instead of saying "gaming is no good" like years before.

Big companies also spot this social change. E-commerce giant JD, retailer Dining and gaming-anime video platform Bilibili are among the investors of the esports clubs.

Although the situation is still well behind South Korea (where national airlines are holding tournaments and Samsung, SK Telecom have their own clubs), it's getting much better than five years ago.

Returning to the livestreams

When webcasting first became famous in China, gaming is the most important content.

For years, the top section of China's largest online live streaming website Douyu has been LOL.

As streaming goes into the mainstream Internet, the content has expanded from desktop computers to smartphones and real life.

But the trend is reversing back to gaming, as the iResearch report shows.

Game streaming websites are at active fusion with other types of live video platforms.

Streamer is more important than a platform, the report says, which shows more than 80 percent of viewers have their own favorite steamers.

For predictions, the iResearch report says the increase of esports players will be much slower in 2018 and 2019, and mobile users will take an even larger part of the cake.

The data was published at the China Cyber Games Summit 2018 in Beijing.

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