Mainland pushes frontiers of the staple PC
A staple of Chinese gaming has long been the personal computer. Today, not only is their sale increasing in China, but the country in many ways is pushing the frontier of PC gaming.
According to market research firm International Data Corporation, the number of gaming notebooks sold in China reached 2.3 million units in 2015, with another 692,000 being sold in the first quarter of 2016 — a year-onyear growth of 46.7 percent.
IDC attributes the rise in personal gaming computers to the increasing prevalence of blockbuster games as well as the growing popularity of multiplayer online battle arena, e-sports games such as League of Legends and Defense of the Ancients 2.
Unlike some small recreational mobile games, e-sports games— which are often gaming competitions requiring teamwork, strategies and technics of using keyboards— set a highbarfor players’computers.
This has been met with investments in internet cafes and live streaming platforms dedicated to broadcasting e-sports competitions. Many companies, such as the sports affiliate of Alibaba Group, jumped into the market in order to ride the rising wave to grow their business momentum.
InJuly, AlibabaSportsGroup announced it had partnered with the International e-Sports Federation, and pledged to spend nearly $150 million constructing e-sports stadiums throughout China and will offer $5.5 million in prizes at its own e-sports tournaments.
Now, millions of Chinese play e-sports, millions spectate, Chinese teams are making millions, and Chinese companies are investing millions. Statistics from China’s General Administration of Sport show that the country’s e-sports universe hit 127 million participants in 2015, the world’s largest. Together, they created a market whose 2015 revenue reached 27 billion yuan ($4.07 billion).
Backed by the heavy investment, the prize money at local e-sports tournaments has been surging, which in turn is attracting more players.
“The increasing prize money at e-sports events has attracted many players, even middle school students, some of whom are seriously considering professional gaming as a career option,” said Kenneth Chang, the deputy secretary of the organizing committee of the China Universities E-sports League.
Chinese e-sports players have been quick off the blocks in the race for all that prize money. As many as 117 professional gamers won about 7 percent of the total prize pool in 2011. In 2015, the corresponding figures were 393 Chinese professional players and 22 percent, the highest in the world, countrywide.
In late August, at the world’s most lucrative e-sports tournament, The International, which was held in Seattle, Washington, Chinese team Wings Gaming battled to the top and took home more than $9 million of the tournament’s total prize of $20 million.
People play online games in an internet bar in Qingdao, Shandong province.