Chinese Esports Teams Sweeping Tournaments In '18
China has an "undistinguished record" in int'l team sports, but it has "been peerless in one competition this year," according to Tom Hancock of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Chinese teams have won every major tournament this year in League of Legends and "clinched the world championship last weekend." Chinese team Invictus Gaming "thrashed" Europe's Fnatic 3-0, taking home the silver "Summoner’s Cup" and more than $840,000 in prize money. A global audience of at least 200 million fans tuned in to watch the final, according to Chinese streaming companies. The rise of esports in China has been "even more dramatic than elsewhere." Until '15, video game consoles were banned by a government that "remains uneasy about the effect of screentime on the development of children." Nevertheless, money has "poured into Chinese esports" and the country now has a "pivotal influence" in the global market. Tencent, the world's largest video game company, expects China will have 60% of the world's players in two years. Riot Games Head Johnson Yeh said, "This is a mass spectator sport; it's one where Chinese can really be competitive and top of the world." Esports will generate $906M in revenue globally this year, according to consultancy NewZoo. The main winners from esports have been game developers, for whom China is "their biggest market," according to consultancy Niko Partners, generating sales of around $30B last year (FT, 11/7).