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Movie Adaptations and Official Recognition Help Esports to Go Mainstream in China

In recent years, China’s esports industry has gained ground in terms of cultural acceptability, especially when it brings in money.
Multi-platform esports club Invictus Gaming (Ig) has been one of the driving forces behind esports’ push for mainstream respectability.
Invictus Gaming sponsored the winning team at the International Dota 2 tournament in 2012 and League of Legends World Championship 2018. Their successes have helped prompt the authorities into action, with a raft of announcements in recent months aimed at professionalising and popularising esports in China.
On July 31, 85 players of Dota 2, FIFA Online 4, Warcraft III: Frozen Throne and four other major esports titles received registered athlete certificates from the Sports Bureau of Shanghai, Sports Federation of Shanghai, and Shanghai Electronic Sports Association. The registrations were also joined by proclamations of plans to turn Shanghai into a “global esports capital” and an announcement from NetEase that they would soon be starting construction on a new esports park in the eastern Chinese city.
The King’s Avatar, a 6-million-character-long novel written by Wang Dong and serialised on online literature site qidian.com, has become one of China’s most successful pieces of original intellectual property. The title, which began publishing in 2011, has been adapted into graphic novels, animated series, a stage play and a mobile game.
The story might not seem so innovative at first glance. A legendary professional player, Ye Xiu, leads his team to three consecutive national championships for a multiplayer online battle arena game called “Glory,” but is marginalised by the team manager for his low-key and unprofitable lifestyle. Ye Xiu quits and becomes a worker at an internet café, where he meets different kinds of players, builds a new team, then fights his way back to the professional league.
The King’s Avatar live-action adaptation has been viewed over 960 million times as of this writing, less than halfway through its 40-episode run. The first season of the title’s animated adaptation on Bilibili, meanwhile, has been viewed 120 million times by 4.66 million unique Generation Z viewers.

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