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IDC: China¡¯s E-sports Industry Entering Golden Age
2016/12/15
source: IDC
China¡¯s e-sports games revenues are expected to exceed RMB50 billion (around US$7.3 billion) for 2016, up more than 50% from 2015 thanks to the increasing popularity of tournaments as more organizers and players jump on the bandwagon, according to IDC 2016 China E-sports Industry Review and Outlook.
 
 
China¡¯s e-sports industry became much more professional in 2016 and its deeper integration with the film and other entertainment industries accelerated as fast-growing e-sports in the country embraced the concept of ¡°pan entertainment¡±.

¡°In 2016, e-sports in China matured and diversified,¡± said Johnny Zhou, an analyst with IDC China. ¡°In 2017, China¡¯s e-sports industry is expected to usher in an era of glory. However, competition is also set to intensify.¡±

China¡¯s e-sports industry featured the following highlights in 2016, according to the IDC report.

E-sports tournaments in full swing

IDC 2016 China E-sports Industry Review and Outlook expects total prize bonus offered in global e-sports tournaments to reach RMB560 million (around US$81.3 million) in 2016, with RMB250 million (around US$36.3 million) coming from open competitions held in China, making China one of the world¡¯s top organizers of e-sports tournaments. The report also shows that China currently has more than 500 professional e-sports teams in competing in tournaments, with well over 10,000amateur teams registering for online tournaments.

E-sports go professional

In 2016, e-sports tournaments become more professional. There are now nearly 2,000 professional e-sports tournament planning and organizing institutions in China, including government agencies such as the Information Center of the General Administration of Sport, the local government of Yinchuan in northwest China¡¯s Ningxia, and Yiwu in eastern China¡¯s Zhejiang Province.

Meanwhile, e-sports clubs have also become more professional and standardized in their operations and player management. In 2016, professional Chinese e-sports clubs continued to learn from their South Korean peers by drawing upon the traditional sports club model to develop operational models that better suit the e-sports industry environment in China. Nine clubs formed the China CS:GO Alliance in 2016, thus laid a solid foundation for the future development of e-sports games in China. At the 2016 season of the China DOTA2 Professional League held in May, a player registration system was introduced for the first time. The establishment of a registration management system along with a system to track tournament points has further standardized and guided the development of e-sports tournaments in China, preventing excessive commercialization of e-sports games while protecting e-sports fan¡¯s right to participation.

In a bid to train more professionals for the emerging e-sports industry, China¡¯s Ministry of Education announced that it would add 13 new college curriculums such as e-sports games and management in 2017.

Mobile e-sports a new trend

2016 has been billed as the year mobile e-sports gained traction in China. Mobile e-sports revenue is expected to hit RMB17.6 billion (around US$2.6 billion) in 2016, almost tripling from last year¡¯s RMB6.0 billion (around US$870 million) in 2015. Enthusiastically promoted by game vendors including Tencent and Hero Entertainment, as well as mobile phone makers such as Huawei, mobile e-sports games can now be found in all leading e-sports tournaments in China. Industry concerns about the poor operability and short lifespan of mobile e-sports games also eased over the year. All leading e-sports clubs have started to establish mobile e-sports teams and take part in tournaments.

Chinese companies have also stepped up their inroads in the mobile gaming industry and were on a shopping spree in 2016. Notable deals include Tencent¡¯s acquisition of Finnish mobile game developer Supercell, the maker of the popular Clash of Clans game, and Chinese mobile ad platform Mobvista¡¯s purchase of US-based NativeX, a startup that makes advertising for mobile games and apps. Mobile gaming revenue in China reached RMB81.9 billion (around US$11.9 billion) in 2016, up from last year¡¯s RMB51.5 billion (around US$7.5 billion) and accounting for nearly half of the total gaming revenue of RMB165.6 billion (around US$24.0 billion),according to 2016 IDC Worldwide Gaming report.

E-sports ¡°pan entertainment¡± well under way

2016 saw even more entertainment celebrities entering the e-sports industry. Ties between the e-sports industry and traditional entertainment programs have also strengthened. In November, a Chinese live video streaming platform invited a number of popular Korean stars to take part in the China-South Korea Superstar Tournament. In addition to attracting an audience of 11 million, the event offered a new perspective one-sports pan entertainment. E-sports involvement in pan entertainment is expected to deepen in the foreseeable future.

Live game broadcasting supervision gets stricter

China¡¯s fast-growing live broadcasting industry is serving as a catalyst to the booming e-sports industry. However, irregularities exist in China¡¯s live broadcasting platforms. As a result, Chinese government has tightened supervisions on live broadcasting content as part of its efforts to standardize the commercialization activities in the live broadcasting industry.