News Roundup: December 14, 2020 - Trouble for Huya+Douyu, Uzi Bodywash, and other news

Vol 3.38 | Dec 14, 2020

Hello Esports Enthusiasts!

I was not expecting such varied and interesting news in China’s esports scene this week. This issue is a bit longer than the usual 5 minute read, but much of it exemplifies what I think makes the esports industry in China fascinating. Let’s get to it!

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Leagues & Tournaments

League of Legends

Crossfire

Dota2

  • Two competing Dota2 events kicked off in China this weekend: the 2020 Huya Dota2 Winter Invitational, hosted by Huya, the China Dota2 Professional Association (CDA), and Fuming Wenhe, and Perfect World Dota2 league Season 3, hosted by Perfect World, Dota2’s publisher in China. The CDA includes all of the top teams, and only 2 teams decided to participate in both events, so it appears that the official publisher ended up hosting the second tier event. Awkward!

Clash Royale

  • Team Queso of Spain won the 2020 Clash Royale League World Finals in Shanghai, competing remotely in the final round against China’s SK Gaming. While there was a top arena in Shanghai for the competition, only two of the teams competed there, while the other 6 competed online in a mixed remote/live production.

QQ Speed

Auto Chess

  • A short history: In early 2019, Auto Chess [多多自走起] emerged from a Dota2 mod by Drodo Studio and became an overnight hit in China, spreading globally and giving rise to a new esports “auto battler” category, not to mention many successful clones due to the loose IP grounding of the original game. Auto Chess was originally supported by Tencent, but Tencent dissolved the partnership after launching its own auto-battlers as mini-games under existing League of Legends and Honor of Kings IP. Inconsistent developer support further plagued the original game’s fortunes. Now, Auto Chess is set to be removed from Tencent's Wegame platform, and while it has devised a method of migrating player data, the game may very well fade into obscurity. A wild ride for what was once the "next big thing" in esports, and a sobering reminder of the volatility of titles.

Multi-Title

Club News

  • Forbes came out with its annual estimate of the world’s most valuable esports companies, which evoked some controversy in the industry, including in China where it was noticed that none of the teams listed were from China, despite China’s advanced esports ecosystem and standing as the largest esports market by users and revenue. Of course the answer may be as simple as regional purchasing power and cost differential and the lack of transparency of Chinese organizations to Forbes reporters. However, one commentator suggested that the difference was due to high franchise fees as a major cost item in the top Chinese leagues (China’s pro leagues for LoL, Honor of Kings, Crossfire, and Peacekeeper Elite are require franchise fees) and low prize money relative to franchise fees, in addition to a limited selection of titles to compete in internationally due to censorship and regulation (such as the former console ban), which hinders clubs from diversifying title risk and competing on bigger international stages.

  • Cheating scandals are all too common in esports this year, but this one is different: SG’s Tang Huan-Feng [ID: huanfeng] was sidelined from the LPL All-Star Event after his hometown girlfriend caught him being less than faithful during Worlds 2020, and took it to Weibo where it went viral. I’m sure he appreciates the extra time back home to make amends.

Esports Ecology

Media/Streaming

Brands/Marketing

Beyond Esports

  • Honor of Kings [王者荣耀] ascended to the top of Sensor Tower’s worldwide mobile game revenue rankings for November, followed by PUBG Mobile, demonstrating the durability of these two core esports titles and their primarily Chinese revenue base. (Note also that the top 6 games in the app store by revenue are from Chinese developers.)


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