China Identifies 20 Games for Ethics Review, Xi’An Signs Multiple Partnerships


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In the past two weeks, the eSports industry in China has forged a series of partnerships between big companies, educational institutions and local governments. In the last two weeks of December, the Chinese city of Xi’an signed several partnerships with major players in esports, the media outlet Shanghai Oriental Pearl announced deals with three educational institutions, the Chinese government censors identified 20 games for “ethics reviews”, EHOME signed a sponsorship deal with a local clothing brand, and Royal Never Give-Up (RNG) may be in a potential partnership with Li-Ning.

Every two weeks, The Esports Observer presents the biggest esports industry news in China, including investments, acquisitions, sponsorships and other major news from the region.

China identifies 20 games for ethics review, no esports have yet been banned

Earlier this month, the Chinese government set up the Online Game Ethics Committee. The government-backed committee examined 20 online games, and highlighted 11 titles that need to be improved by relevant game publishers to avoid “ethical risks”. Another nine games will not receive game access permits in the market. The Chinese government has not disclosed the names of the 20 games it has reviewed.

Early reports from media around the world claiming that the government had banned several esports games including PUBG and Fourteen days , were wrong. According to The Papper, Tencent has said that “these 20 games examined have no relation to Tencent”. A source close to game publisher Perfect World told The Esports Observer that “there are no Perfect World products in these games.”

Questions remain, including the standard rules for the online gaming ethics committee and who its members are. Despite its tough stance on regulating games in the country, the Chinese government continues to show strong support for the sport. For example, the Shanghai government has released guidelines for its new esports athlete registration and management program, which aim to standardize players for the industry and treat esports players as regular athletes. In addition, the government organized national teams to participate in the eSports demonstration event of Jakarta Palembang Asia Games 2018.

To update: At the 2018 China Game Industry Annual Conference, the government announced that video game permits have resumed after no new titles were released since March this year.


Xi’An Government Partners with VSPN, Team WE and Banana Culture

The Chinese city of Xi’an held its “Esports Summit Conference” in the Qujiang New District of Xi’an. Several Chinese politicians and esports companies attended. At the event, esports companies presented Versus Programming Network (VSPN ), Team WE , and banana culture signed partnership offers with the government. The theme of the conference was “New Age, New Industry and New Ecosystem” with the aim of building a platform around content, technology and education.

Under the terms of the agreement, all of these companies will relocate part of their eSports facilities to Qujiang New District in Xi’an. The partnerships include tournament organization, education and real estate. Also, VSPN helps Tencent to host League of Legends Demacia Cup 2018 Winter in Xi’an, as part of this partnership agreement.

Pei Le, CEO of Banana Culture and founder of Team WE, said that “e-sports have become the ‘calling card’ of the city of Xi’an. This city has a lot of resources to grow its esports scene.”

Founded in 2015, VSPN hosts Tencent’s top-tier competitions, including the King Pro League (KPL), League of Legends Pro League (LPL) and the PUBG China Pro Invitational (PCPI) series. Team WE was founded in 2005 League of Legends Team competes in the LPL and is based in the city of Xi’an. Banana Culture ran this year PUBG Global Invitational Tournament (PGI) in Berlin.

Shanghai Oriental Pearl Group is expanding into esports

On December 17, the Oriental Pearl Group, a Shanghai-based media company, held its “Family Game Forum” at the Shanghai International Convention Center. Several game companies participated in the forum, including Microsoft , BlizzardEntertainment , Densy, SNK, Ubisoft and Bilibili.

Oriental Pearl Group signed several partnership offers with Shanghai University of Sports, Shanghai Jiushi Sport and Qunxin Career School on cross-cultural property, education, tournament organization and venues. According to the announcement, a professional esports academy and an organized esports tournament in Shanghai will be part of the partnerships.

In addition, Oriental Pearl’s Vice President of Game Development Su Wenbin claimed that the company has no plans to create or invest in e-sports teams. Oriental Pearl owns several stadiums and media outlets in the country, most notably Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Arena and e-sports company Gamefy. Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Arena will host The International 2019 Dota 2 tournament with a prize pool of US$26 million this year. The prize pool, the largest in esports history, and the tournament location were jointly announced by the game publisher Valve and the Shanghai government. Last month, Gamefy landed a sponsorship deal with soft brand Pepsi to sponsor its multi-game sports tournament, G-League.

Intel Esports China

Credit: Intel

Other Esports Business News

  • Mars Media announced that Mars next year dota 2 League (MDL) will be hosted in the Chinese city of Macau, will be a feature $300,000 prize pool, and will take place from February 20th to 24th. More importantly, Macau 2019 will not be part of the Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) next year. The MDL Changsha tournament in May was part of the dota Pro Circuit (DPC) season 2017-2018.
  • RNG’s dota 2 team is there a potential partnership with the clothing brand Li-Ning. During last weekend’s Perfect World Ceremony, all members of RNG’s dota 2 team wore Li-Ning brand clothing. The organization has yet to publicly announce a partnership and declines to comment.
  • Esports organization EHOME has signed an sponsor deal with local clothing brand HLA JEANS. As part of this partnership, HLA JEANS will produce exclusive apparel for players, coaches and relevant staff.
  • Esports organization Weibo Esports, owned by social media company Weibo (China’s alternative to Twitter and Instagram), announced that their PUBG Team recently confirmed a player acquisition. Former King Zone Dragon PUBG Player Cai “Running” Cheng will officially join Weibo Esports. The company paid a player transfer fee of RMB 1 million (US$ 144.8k).
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