China’s crackdown on youth gaming will blunt the nation’s edge over competitive gaming just as its professional esports teams prep up for international tournaments, including the Asian Games which is set next year.
Last week, Beijing issued a strict regulation that stipulated that players under 18 could only play three hours every week to “prioritize cultural control” over international esports competitions. According to professional esports players, this sudden restriction will surely give rivals in the U.S., Europe, and South Korea a big advantage.
Is This Gaming Crackdown The Beginning Of The End For Chinese Esports?
Even Maurice Stückenschneider, a German professional League of Legends player and coach, said that the restriction will jeopardize China’s “edge” and render it uncompetitive in eSports participation and development.
Esports is wildly popular in China. As of 2020, its gamers generate a total of $44 billion, according to Newzoo, a market research group.
That’s quite sad news since they’ll be the first to recognize eSports as a medal event and set up a stadium dedicated entirely to hosting eSports competitions.
Even its various universities include eSports in their curriculum as in-game set design, while its national teams have dominated many international competitions.
However, the recent gaming regulation might undermine many of China’s standing in the eSports arena.
Practice Makes Perfect
According to Stückenschneider, eSports must be seen as any other sport, where lots of hours of practice is needed to guarantee perfection. Since the regulation will bring a discrepancy of about 67 hours, it might just be impossible for Chinese players to maintain that sort of high level.
According to an interview, the restrictions will disrupt China’s edge in eSports because players in other countries don’t have such restrictions to worry about.
Meanwhile, Tencent dominates the industry by boosting its revenues from running teams, hosting live events, streaming, advertising, and media rights.
In Shenzhen, now the 7th biggest city and the main gateway city for foreign travelers and technological boom, Sarah (not her real name), an eSports club owner, said that the regulation was so “out of the blue”.
For her, the best age for professional eSports starts from 16 to 21. But because of the restrictions, you have to start training from at least 16-year-old now.
And although she admitted that players could just borrow adults’ accounts to get around the law, the local industry was worried if it could still attract healthy investors in the wake of the restrictions.
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