Chinese e-sports team wins $9.1m
A Chinese team secured the biggest prize in e-sports history on Sunday (Beijing time) after finishing first in an elite tournament in the United States.
The five members of Wings Gaming shared $9.1 million after beating North American rivals DC three games to one in the final of the 2016 International DOTA 2 Championships, held in Seattle.
Defence of the Ancients 2 is a online game in which two teams battle to capture each other’s base. Each team has five players who control five “heroes” chosen from more than 100 characters.
The total prize pool for this year’s tournament was $20.74 million, the largest pot in e-sports history.
Li Peng, 20, one of the Wings players, said the team won by fully displaying its characters’ strengths while exploiting its opponent’s weakness. “This is the first time we’ve participated,” he said. “The victory was beyond our imagination, but we did it. It’s amazing.”
The Chinese team, founded in 2014 and with an average age of 19.5, arrived in the US last month to prepare for the competition. “I have no idea how to spend the cash,” Li added. “Maybe I’ll buy a car.”
Five out of the 16 teams that qualified for this year’s finals were from China, highlighting the country as an emerging force in the world’s professional video-gaming landscape.
This is also not the first time a Chinese team has won the championship. In 2014, a team called Newbee walked away with the top prize of $5.02 million.
Zhang Yunfan, president of Perfect World Games, an online gaming company in Beijing that operates DOTA 2 in China, said the victory is in line with the explosive growth of Chinese gaming enthusiasts.
The country has about 600 million players, and the market size of its online gaming industry last year was 126.4 billion yuan ($19 billion), according to data from Beijing internet consultancy Analysys.
Kenneth Chang, deputy secretary of the organizing committee of the China Universities E-sports League, said thanks to strong government support and a flood of investment in the gaming industry, Chinese e-sports teams can now access the best equipment and coaches.
600 million gaming enthusiasts in China
The Wings Gaming team after winning the International DOTA 2 Championships in Seattle.