Chi­nese e-sports team wins $9.1m

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By MA SI in Bei­jing and MENG JING in Seat­tle Con­tact the writ­ers at masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

The Wings Gam­ing team after win­ning the In­ter­na­tional DOTA 2 Cham­pi­onships in Seat­tle.

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