Chinese video game shines as eSports make Asian Games debut

By Shan Jie and Liu Xuanzun Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/28 18:03:39

A man plays Arena of Valor. Photo: IC

Nowadays, one can proudly represent one's country on the world stage by playing video games.

An audience of millions watched China's team participate in the Asian Games first-ever eSports global tournament.

Teams from around the world competed in the game Arena of Valor, developed by a Chinese company. The use of a Chinese game promoted the country's soft power around the world.

As eSports become more recognized and popular around the world, China's thriving game industry will reap the benefits.

Rising China

China's national team won at the first eSports championship on Monday at the Britama Arena in Jakarta during the 18th Asian Games.

The team beat Thailand, Vietnam and Chinese Taipei and won the Arena of Valor event undefeated.

This is the first time that eSports has been part of the Asian Games. Six electronic games have been included in the tournament, namely 2018 Pro Evolution Soccer, StarCraft II, Hearthstone, League of Legends, Clash Royale and Arena of Valor.

The games cover different genres and are on different platforms, including computers and mobile phones.

Even though eSports remain a non-medal event in this Asian Games, 18 countries participated, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

"I heard that eSports would be officially recognized in 2022 with medals for the winners," head of Indonesia eSports Association (IeSPA) Eddy Lim said, Xinhua reported.

International appeal

Among the six video games in the Asian Games, Arena of Valor is the only one from China. It was independently developed by TiMi Studio Group under the Chinese internet giant Tencent.

The game has a version targeting Chinese gamers and an international version, which have different elements that cater to different markets and users, a spokesperson from the development team of Arena of Valor told the Global Times on Sunday.

The domestic version of Arena of Valor has more than 100 million players, but the Asian Games are not only for Chinese people, so the international version is obviously more proper for the game in terms of influence and players, an insider from China's game industry told the Global Times on Sunday. He asked to be anonymous.

The international version of the game was released in Southeast Asia in 2016, and is available to 90 percent of mobile game players. More than 10 million people are active in the game outside China currently, the game developer said.

"The game was designed to be an eSport," he said. "Now the game has built a competition system with a campus and community as its base, and the global contest as the apex."

"The fair gameplay, and lack of gore, nudity and violence, has made Arena of Valor suitable to be part of the Asian Games," he said.

In March, Tencent received an invitation from the Asian Electronic Sports Federation, and Arena of Valor was selected for the Asian Games in April.

"We are proud to witness this historical moment, as eSports in the Asian Games will bring more opportunities to the industry," said the spokesperson.

Waste of time?

In China, electronic games have always been controversial, as many players are labeled as "internet-addicted" and "time wasters."

"The Asian Games showed that eSports, or simply playing video games, can be an official sport," the game insider said.

With this official endorsement, the whole game industry will benefit. "We will see more games. Traditional game companies and new ventures will enlarge the game industry," he said.

The game industry insider noted China's official CCTV television network broadcast the eSports events of the Asian Games, which will help grow the industry and lead to more players.

In September 2016, eSports gaming and management was listed as an official university major by the Ministry of Education. One year later, at least 22 universities offered the course.

Sales revenue in the Chinese games market reached 105 billion yuan ($15.4 billion) in the first half of this year, up 5.2 percent year on year, according to a report on China's gaming industry released at the 16th China International Digital Interactive Entertainment Show held in Shanghai, Xinhua reported.

China is one of the world's largest gaming markets and had 530 million gamers during the period, an increase of 4 percent year on year.

Newspaper headline: Mobile competition

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