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At 200 million players strong, China's e-sports industry poised to surge

By Sun Wenyu (People's Daily Online)    13:48, June 06, 2017

Sales in China's e-sports game market are projected to hit 70 billion RMB ($10.3 billion) this year, monetizing the nearly 200 million players in the country, according to an industry report spanning the first three months of 2017.

While some view e-sports as just another term for online games, the consensus has increasingly inched toward a different conclusion: that e-sports can be just as real as any other sport when they get competitive. They can will improve people’s cognitive abilities, physical responses, coordination and team spirit.

The Olympic Council of Asia announced in April that e-sports will be a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games, and competitive gaming is already a major at Communication University of China. Statistics show that China’s e-sports players numbered 120 million in 2015, and are estimated to reach 280 million in the future.

The rise of the e-sports industry is having another effect as well: promoting the upgrading of internet cafes. Due to the games' high requirements for hardware and bandwidth, cafe operators have to update their devices in order to meet players’ demands. As a result, internet cafes are going through a transformation, with some even hosting competitions to attract more players.

Though blessed with a still-sizzling market, the gaming industry has not been universally accepted into China’s mainstream culture. It is still controversial, with a future that is anything but clear. According to one experienced player, polarization is a serious issue. Early enthusiasts can become livestream hosts and earn substantial salaries after retirement, but the majority of players, most of who drop out of school at an early age, have no cushion to fall back on when they retire.

In addition, the emerging mobile gaming industry poses a threat for e-sports, since it can woo players away with its low entry requirements and greater portability. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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