The Esports Industry in China

by EIKO on December 8
“Shifting currents”

E-sports are a recent phenomenon. The advent of the internet age and of ever powerful computers, meant that the processing power they generated could be used for entertainment and a virtual world which more than anything served initially as an escape from reality. Later however as the gaming industry took ever larger prominence and videogames became ever realer and complicated, competition gradually took the form of an organized sports with players dedicating hours upon hours on video games such as World of Warcraft, League of Legends, Counter-Strike and many others.  This phenomena took a grip especially in Asia and particularly, East Asia with countries like China, Japan, South Korea being the most notable examples where this form of competition took the form of actual sport with competition and spectators filling the concert halls and TVs with dedicated gaming platforms.
Chinese gamers saw e-sports as a leisure activity and a fun way to escape from the mundane reality of day to day work or study. Gradually as professional e-gaming took an apparent grip in the gaming world that transcended the nominal “fun and leisure” intentions, Chinese players were quick to establish a formidable reputation in this new form of sport.  To be fair, the authorities favoured this sport and gave official backing, speeding even further the rapid development of e-gaming in China. Notable dates remain 2003 and 2004. In 2003 E-sports was officially recognized as one of the 99 eligible sports and in 2004 All China Sports Federation with the support and blessing of the Chinese Sports Ministry launched their first ever e-sports gaming tournament.
Fast forward to today and you have a thriving gaming industry with a total annual revenue that surpasses the US, the world's largest e-game market. It is believed that there are over 100 million fans of esport-s in China alone and the numbers are expected to only grow. Some notable gaming celebrities include people like Zhang Xiangling, who was given the honour of being selected as a torchbearer in the Beijing Olympics, representing the e-sports category. However internet gaming addiction remains a particular problem in countries of East Asia, particularly China where severe cases, even unfortunate gamers like Wu Tai, who after long marathons of video gaming lasting for almost 24 hours lost its life in the internet caffe in Shanghai. Or the case of a 15 year old student who was stabbed to death in a gaming center by a 14 year old, who when he confessed the gruesome act, cited as main reason the fact that he could not control his anger as his fellow player laughed and mocked his poor gaming skills.
Despite the negative side effects, the e-sports has been a real revolution in China and its likely to continue growing as a new sports genre as more and more people get hooked in its fantastic world.

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