China expected to have 60% of the worlds eSports players in two years

Posted on: Nov 08, 2018 By smartlaunch in Uncategorized,

China has been peerless in one competition this year; Chinese teams have won every major tournament this year in League of Legends, the world’s most-played video game, and clinched the world championship last weekend.

The rise of esports in China has been even more dramatic than elsewhere. Until 2015, video games consoles were banned by a government that remains uneasy about the effect of screentime on the development of children. This year, no new games have been licensed for commercialisation since March. Nevertheless, money has poured into Chinese esports, and the country now has a pivotal influence in the global market.

Tencent, the world’s largest video games company, expects China will have 60 per cent of the world’s players in two years. Esports will generate $906m in revenue globally this year, according to consultancy NewZoo, while a Goldman Sachs projection suggests 35 per cent annual growth and a revenue figure of $2.96bn in 2022. Sponsorship money for esports teams makes up the biggest chunk, followed by sales of streaming rights to online platforms, advertising revenues raised by those platforms and ticket sales for tournaments. The main winners from esports have been game developers, for whom China is their biggest market, according to consultancy Niko Partners, generating sales of around $30bn last year.

The flow of funds into esports is visible in a three-storey building in a suburb of Shanghai. Inside, dozens of gamers rise around midday ahead of team practice on titles such as fantasy battle game League of Legends and South Korean survival game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. The gamers — members of Team OMG — compete from 2pm to 11pm, followed by personal practice and live streaming to fans until 2am. China is home to more than a dozen professional esports teams.

South Korea has already fallen behind China in esports revenues, generating $54m this year compared to China’s $163m, according to NewZoo. For the past decade South Korea has set the pace for Asian esports, producing some of its best-known players. The nation is home to two dedicated esports TV channels and a survey by Nielsen Korea found that esports ranked as the third most popular sport after football and baseball. But some of the best Korean players have moved to Chinese teams in search of higher pay — nearly half the members of Invictus Gaming’s championship team are Koreans.

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