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China’s restriction on play will deviate from the country’s competitive advantage just as its professional e-sports teams are ready for international tournaments, including next year’s Asian Games, players and experts have warned.
Beijing introduced livestock game regulations last week which stipulated that players under 18 could only play online for three hours a week. Professional e-sports players have said that restricting competitors in the US, South Korea and Europe has a huge advantage.
“China has the best teams in the world,” said Maurice “Amazing” Stückenschneider, a German professional League of Legends player and coach, told the Financial Times. “[Now] it is impossible [for China] to continue any e-sports development. ”
Esports is a big company in China and very popular. According to Newzoo, a market research group, the world’s largest video game market has an estimated 720 million players generating $ 44 billion in revenue.
The country will host the sport’s first performance as a medal at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou and build a stadium fully dedicated to competitive video games in Chongqing with more than 7,000 seats.
Universities even offer e-sports subjects such a niche as set design, while Chinese teams have won several international competitions.
But Stückenschneider warned that the latest restrictions undermine China’s position.
‘You must see it [esports] similar to another sport, ‘he said. ‘Players can practice 70 hours a week or possibly more, so that could mean a difference of 67 hours. It’s just going to be impossible [for Chinese youth players] maintain a high level. ”
He added that players in South Korea and China regularly practice six days a week with two three-hour blocks and a third block two hours later at night.
Ding, a 24-year-old professional player in Shanghai, started playing when he was 15 years old. ‘I play three to four hours every day after school, and all day on weekends. It’s a matter of practicing making perfect, ‘he told the FT.
‘The restrictions will have a huge impact on China’s e-sports performance. Because other countries do not have it [the restrictions] their players finally have more time to practice. ”
Game developers, such as China’s most valuable enterprise Tencent, dominate the industry by running tournaments and teams. Revenue is increased through live events, streaming, programs, advertising, merchandise sales and media rights.
In Shenzhen, the bustling southern center of the technological boom in China, Sarah, the owner of a top sports club, said the new rules came out of the blue.
‘The best age for professional players is between 16 and 21. But you need to start practicing [at least] 16, ”said Sarah, who refused to provide her real name.
‘If you play professionally, all the opponents you face will be very good; you have to be familiar with all the heroes, all the different versions, different teams. It all depends on endless training and you can not do it at home. ”
While acknowledging that there are solutions, such as finding adult accounts for players under 18 to practice, the local industry was concerned to attract investors following the restrictions.
Charlie Moseley, founder of the Chengdu Gaming Federation, said the e-sports industry would get a ‘catastrophic blow’ from the new regulations on young players. “China has placed cultural control above competitiveness in sport.”
Additional reporting by Nian Liu in Beijing
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