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In the ever-growing eSports scene, many of the world’s best players hail from Asia – particularly the Korea Republic and China. China, and much of the continent, for that matter, is miles ahead of the western world when it comes to their attitude towards eSports, their competitive gaming infrastructure, and the adoption of eSports as a sport.
In 2019, China is expected to generate revenues of over US$210 million (£166.5 million) in the eSports industry, per NewZoo, making the nation of 1.3 billion people the second-largest region in this regard. While China is well-known for its skilled eSports players in many of the most popular titles, they are also doing a grand job of growing the mobile eSports scene.
China is home to the biggest gaming company in the world, Tencent, which is forever pumping out new games from its ever-growing, and already massive, roster of studios. Not only does Tencent own 100 per cent of Riot Games, which is most notable for League of Legends, but it also has a 40 per cent share in Epic Games, owns 11.5 per cent of PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds developer Bluehole, and a five per cent share in both Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard.
The massive country has its fingers on the pulse of the evolving gaming industry, helping the new world of eSports take root and develop. China firmly believes that eSports is the future of the video gaming industry, so it has been heavily promoting and supporting the scene, which includes plans to erect epic locations that are dedicated to gaming.
Building a gaming theme park in a secret location
China has been looking for ways in which it can grow its tourist appeal and challenge counties like the USA on the theme park front. As noted by Forbes, while China doesn’t boast globally-recognisable characters like Spider-Man, Harry Potter, or Darth Vader, they do have an army of millions of video gamers who immerse themselves in their favourite franchises. The president and CEO of ITEX Entertainment, Bill Coan, says that “China can get ahead… on the gamer side” as the likes of Universal and Disney haven’t been able to capitalise on the huge market.
ITEC Entertainment is running point on the upcoming gaming theme park. The company are engineering new games for the park and are designing the location. It is expected that China’s massive attraction will feature traditional elements of theme parks, such as roller coasters, but that it will also incorporate a lot of new and innovative technology to make it a uniquely gaming-centric experience for its patrons. At the time of writing, the location of this upcoming park has been kept under wraps, but the designers say that it will incorporate elements of physical exertion as well as spectator elements where fans can watch the biggest Chinese gamers and possibly play against the national stars.
It has been mentioned that China’s gaming theme park will roughly be the size of a Six Flags Amusement Park in the USA. For some perspective, Six Flags Magic Mountain is said to be 262 or 0.4 square miles. Between now and 2022 –when the pioneering gamer-themed park is slated to open – Chinese and international publishers will be able to license their IPs.
The gamer-themed park isn’t China’s only major eSports offering
As noted, Tencent is a massive gaming company, even if their own creations aren’t overly well-known outside of China. The company is intent on growing the eSports scene and making itself and China leaders of the industry. They have already announced that they will build a theme park in Chengdu that’s based on the game Honor of Kings as well as an eSports industrial park in Wuhu, per The eSports Observer.
Elsewhere in China, the idea of game-themed venues and establishing eSports-focussed infrastructure has caught on in many locations. An eSports town and industrial park has been announced for Taicang, and the Zhongxian county of Chongqing will be investing up to ¥5 billion (£559 million) in its own eSports town. Other cities, including Chengdu, Yinchuan, Guiyang, and Xi’an have also expressed an interest in investing in eSports towns and their ilk.
China may not lead in eSports revenues just yet, but they’re going all-in on building the foundations necessary to make the country the competitive gaming hub of the world for spectators, players, and general fans of the entertainment medium.
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