Hello Esports Enthusiasts!
Hope all my readers in the U.S. had a good Thanksgiving, and my readers in China enjoyed 感恩节, or had some other occasion to get together and eat well. And for those of you with a brand new PS5, or what we call a “life event”, enjoy.
Leagues & Tournaments
Valve announced the 2021 Dota Pro Circuit will return on January 18, 2021, and officially separate into six regional leagues, rolling up to international majors, and presumably (but not confirmed) The International 10 in Stockholm in August 2021, which now has a total prize pool exceeding $40M USD. The China Dota2 Professional Association (CDA) basically became the de facto regional league for China this year, and it will be interesting to to see if some form of that continues, especially given recent tensions between CDA and Perfect World (see Vol 3.34).
Eight-Week PUBG Global Invitationals In-Person Competition Announced. The event will take place in South Korea between Feb 2 and Mar 28, 2021, with 32 global teams competing for a share of the $3.5M USD prize pool, including teams from China and Taiwan. Structurally, the PUBG system is very different from that of PUBG Mobile, which is split into separate esports systems for China (the Peacekeeper Elite system, which includes the PEL and PEC), and the PUBG Mobile Pro League, which for 2021 will have 9 regional leagues around the world, excluding China.
League of Legends (LoL)
Wuhan announced that it will host the Worlds 2021 quarterfinals knock-out stage, which makes it the first confirmed location in next year’s multi-city Worlds 2021.
The LoL Professional League (LPL) has established the LPL Hall of Fame to honor outstanding LoL players and practitioners from its 8 year history at the upcoming LPL All Stars.
The NEST 2020 National Esports Tournament concluded in Hangzhou with the LoL segment bringing together 8 of the top LPL teams to compete. NEST is hosted by the General Administration of Sport of China (GASC) and is the rare large-scale event in China featuring Tencent titles that is not hosted by Tencent or an affiliate of Tencent. Since it is held in a different city every year, it is also credited with promoting the esports scene in cities not otherwise known for esports.
The inaugural LoL City Legends Carnival concluded with hometown heroes Wuhan KA winning the top spot before a live audience in Wuhan. It was the first competition to adopt a coed requirement, with each team comprised of 3 men and 2 women.
A team of students from Shanghai and Taiwan won the “Cross-Strait E-Sports Culture Festival” in Shanghai, an amateur LoL competition arranged by Shanghai Cross-Strait Communication Promotion Association and the Taiwan affairs office and culture and tourism administration of Yangpu District, Shanghai. The unique cross-straits competition was largely conducted online between Taiwan and Shanghai, with the final two teams created by mixing the winning Shanghai and Taiwan teams.
Honor of Kings [王者荣耀]
The 2020 KPL Fall regular season concluded in Wuhan, at Wuhan eStarPro’s new home venue, in front of a live audience. The 2020 KPL Fall Season Finals will be held in Chongqing, with the playoffs from November 26 through December 6, and the finals on December 19 at the Chongqing Huaxi Cultural and Sports Center.
FIFA Online 4’s highest level of competition, the FIFAe Continental Cup, will be held in December 2020. The tournament will be conducted online, between teams from China, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam.
SwordArt signs with TSM for $6 million over 2 years, believed to be the highest salary offered by a North America esports team to date. The Taiwan-born Hu Shuo-Chieh [ID: SwordArt] impressed as part of the Suning Gaming team that made it into the Worlds 2020 finals after beating its better-seated LPL rivals. The trade caused a stir in the China esports fandom and points to China’s LPL becoming a talent pool to rival South Korea’s LCK.
In other Wuhan news, game livestreaming platform DouYu partnered with Wuhan University of Technology to jointly develop live streaming technology.
The Nanjing municipal government announced a new set of policies to promote the culture and tourism industry, specifically including encouragement of the local esports industry, such as accelerating the development of esports talent and siting high level esports competitions in Nanjing. Nanjing’s goal is to become a major player in esports, and its policymaking can be paired with more concrete developments in Nanjing’s Jiangning District. Nanjing may benefit from its geographical proximity to Shanghai by peeling of small and medium-scale projects that would otherwise face stiffer competition for preferential policies.
Wanyoo entered into an agreement for its Internet Cafes [网鱼网咖] to host collegiate esports competitions for the LoL National Collegiate League, covering more than 80 cities and 200 universities across China.
TEO nicely outlines some aggressive moves by Tencent to block Douyin users from posting any Tencent IP, which would include the bulk of core esports games in China, and apparently has overstepped by reporting non-owned IP as well. Possibly related: this article from SCMP about Douyin owner ByteDance’s heavy investment this year into the gaming industry, including the observation that ByteDance has a large user acquisition platform for its games via Douyin/Tiktok, much like Tencent through WeChat and QQ. One can expect Tencent to defend its ground.
Thanks for reading! -John