China's e-sports change tactics for pro players

2020-02-02 08:48:57 GMT2020-02-02 16:48:57(Beijing Time) 菲律宾申博在线代理开户登入

CHONGQING, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Peng Yunfei, in his early twenties, sits in a cafe in his hometown Chongqing, holding a championship trophy in electronic sports.

"I haven't been home for over three years. I want to prove to my family that I made the right decision."

Born in the southwestern Chinese municipality of Chongqing, Peng grew up with his grandmother as his parents were working in other cities. In 2015, he traveled alone about 1,500 kilometers to Shanghai for a job, although he hadn't finished high school.

"When I arrived in Shanghai, I worked as a restaurant waiter during the day. At night, I spent my spare time playing mobile games," Peng recalls. He took a shine to "Honor of Kings", a mobile game developed by Chinese tech giant Tencent.

When a Shanghai-based club recognized his outstanding talent for games, it was the start of a dream career.

HARSH BEGINNING

However, his parents were less than happy. "They knew little about this industry. To them, it was simply playing games and wasting time," he says. "From then on, I swore to change their opinions through my own efforts and make them proud of me."

Despite the doubts of his family, Peng was full of confidence. His training, including teamwork and social skills, went almost 10 hours every day.

Alone in Shanghai, he struggled with homesickness. "Last New Year, I felt very lonely when I saw families getting together. I envied them."

Fortunately, his parents were learning about e-sports from the Internet and tried to understand their son's choice.

"Honor of Kings" was also starting to take off, drawing new players and staging tournaments.

"In 2017, more than 13,000 spectators watched our final game. We firmly believe the game can become a unique symbol of China's e-sports industry," says Zhang Yijia, head of the department leading Tencent's e-sports projects.

INTERNATIONAL BOOM

Peng's team has now won five championships and he has been honored as the best player.

"I've met some foreign players through international tournaments, and we keep in touch," says Peng. "I was impressed by an American player, who knew a little Chinese when we first met, but the second time, his Chinese had improved a lot. He told me he was studying Chinese for the game."

E-sports have been driving youth and cultural exchanges, says Kong Ming, an official of China Culture and Entertainment Industry Association. The industry is gaining in importance among young people, especially in places abroad where Chinese gather.

Last year, Peng competed in a tournament in Malaysia. Many local Chinese came to watch. "I hope to participate in more international games, so that I can see more foreign friends love the game."

The game's international version, "Arena of Valor", was one of six e-sports events at the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Manila last December. It was the official debut of e-sports at the event.

"E-sports are booming at home and abroad. It's a cultural phenomenon for younger generations, and a new driver of local economic development," Chang Pijun, vice chairman of the China Culture Administration Association, told a recent conference.

Tencent's third-quarter financial report last year showed its online game revenue rose 11 percent to 28.604 billion yuan (about 4.1 billion U.S. dollars). The company's mobile games, including "Honor of Kings", were a major contributor.

BACK TO CAMPUS

Like Peng, many e-sports players gave up school early.

In April 2019, three Chinese government departments, including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, released 13 new occupations, including e-sports player, but low academic qualifications among e-sports players remain a problem.

"As e-sports practitioners, we need a strong sense of social responsibility and have to pass on positive values. We have already considered the comprehensive quality of the players, including improving their education," says Zhang Yijia.

Efforts will be made to improve training for professional players, such as providing social etiquette training, education courses in cooperation with universities, and more stringent daily schedules, says Zhang.

Last September, the King Pro League (KPL) professional union cooperated with south China's Guangzhou Sport University to provide education courses for e-sports players who passed the adult college entrance examination.

One of 16 players who passed the exam, Peng will go back to campus this year to complete his studies. "I cherish this opportunity to improve my academic qualifications, which will benefit me in my career," says Peng, who now has his family's support.

"My parents often watch my games on the Internet and even come to cheer me on."

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