Big wins for Chinese esports teams, big win for young generations in China

By Luo Yunzhou Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/5 18:18:40

An Invictus Gaming fan watches the game on a huge screen during the LOL World Championship final match between Europe's team Fnatic and China's team Invictus Gaming at Munhak stadium in Incheon, South Korea on Saturday. Photo: IC

China's team Invictus Gaming celebrates after winning the LOL World Championship final match in Incheon, South Korea on Saturday. Photo: IC

Saturday was a huge day for China in esports as Chinese teams won the world championships at two major gaming events. Chinese esports club Invictus Gaming (iG) became the Chinese mainland's first team to win the League of Legends World Championship by beating out European team Fnatic 3-0 in Incheon, South Korea. Meanwhile, at this year's BlizzCon in the Anaheim Convention Center in Los Angeles, the China team beat out Brazil 3-0 to win the Hearthstone Global Games competition.

Gathered around a computer screens to watch the livestream of the League of Legends (LoL) competition, college students at Hubei Engineering University erupted into cheers in the student dormitory as iG seized victory. Some fans of the team even went streaking through the campus or set off fireworks to express their excitement about this unforgettable moment.

"A lot of older people have no idea what happened," netizen Sixiangjujiao posted on Sina Weibo, noting how important the wins were for young Chinese. "We were always criticized for playing video games while teenagers, but today they have made our country a champion."

"There are just as many reports about this news as there are other competitions, including world-championship volleyball and basketball games," netizen XiaomaguoheSNS noted.

Rise of LOL in China

For mainland Chinese game fans, 2011 was a significant time as it was in September of that year that LOL officially launched in the mainland.

Published by Riot Games, LOL is a multiplayer online battle arena game that allows players to team up with friends and fight against other teams using colorful and interesting "champions," each of which have their own unique power sets. The aim of the game is for a team to destroy the opposing team's "nexus," a tower-like building protected by fortifications. Each player starts with a champion with very limited equipment and skills, and in order to win, players must increase their champions' strength by gaining experience and collecting items to equip. As this is a multiplayer game, cooperating with team members is extremely important.

"I was attracted to the game because it is easy for anyone starting off, no matter if you are good at games or not, since the game automatically matches you with players of equivalent level to make sure that you enjoy the game," Zhang Qian, a gamer who has been playing LOL for five years, told the Global Times.

A month before LOL entered China, the iG team was established by Wang Sicong, the son of Chinese billionaire Wang Jianlin. During a time when professional esports players in China were facing a hard time due to a lack of money and support, the younger Wang swooped in providing some much needed financing.

With Wang's backing, iG quickly made a name for themselves by winning several championships at major events such as G-League Season 2 in 2012, World E-Sports Professional Classic League in 2014 and the Major All Stars Dota 2 Tournament in 2015. These wins not only greatly enhanced the confidence of the team, but also served as perfect advertisements for esports in China.

Mainstream recognition

"A lot of money has been invested into these games. So much so that these video games are now called esports," Zhang said.

"For me, the name change and these championships have legitimized these games, making me feel like I am not just playing video games, but pursuing a dream of becoming a professional esports player so I can win honors for my country."

As the main force behind the video game industry, teenagers and young adults in China constantly in danger of "internet addiction" in their parents' eyes. As such, there are not many parents who can watch their children play games without constantly nagging or criticizing them.

"For them, it doesn't make sense to spend so many hours on video games. They just can't understand it," Zhang said.

The huge wins for China at the LoL and Hearthstone championships are no doubt good news for young Chinese as it helps prove to their parents that video games can be just as viable of a career as many traditional occupations.

"It is finally time for discrimination toward video games to end," Chinese netizen Ganbuganyishenxiangxu noted on Sina Weibo.

Newspaper headline: Proving a point

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