- Esports organization will face talent shortage before long as the country's esports ban kicks in
- For many young people this means never to be discovered or have a chance to become esports pros
- In addition, China's $25.5 billion market is coming under threat as the lack of new players may gradually kill it off
The news that Chinese underage gamers will be restricted to just 3 hours of play a week, with some extra freebies available during public holidays, has swept China, send jitters across gaming stocks, and cast a bleak outlook for the country's highly competitive esports industry.
Esports Talent Will Dry Up as Restrictions Hit
With many talented players discovered in their early teens, this puts successful Chinese organizations at a key question. How do you recruit in China if there is no one playing the game? Some solutions have already presented themselves, but none of them are legal.
Tencent has been banning a bevy of accounts sold through e-commerce websites offering underage kids to play games with fake accounts. In a recent conversation with Rogue Warriors, an established esports powerhouse competing in numerous games around the world spoke to Reuters and commented on what the new public policy would mean to recruitment efforts.
In short, the unavailability to tap talent younger than 18 would make it hard for esports organizations to find players, and it may even kill the esports industry altogether. Rogue Warriors is not the only organization that feels pressured. While the most successful players in the Chinese League of Legends, Dota 2, and Honor of King are over the age of 18, they spent years honing their skills before they turn this age.
According to Peking University's School of Electronics Engineering and Computer Science associate professor Chen Jiang, the new regulations will almost certainly kill the chances of young people becoming professional video gamers, and that is not a good thing. Esports fans in China are estimated to be at least 400 million strong and without a thriving home scene, this will slow down the industry's global growth.
The domestic esports market is estimated to be worth $25.5 billion last year, based on Chinese consultancy iResearch which puts the numbers at odds with what Newzoo, a respected analytics firm says, claiming that esports globally is closer to a $1 billion market. If these numbers are true, it means that esports in China is theoretically 25 times bigger than in the rest of the world put together if your correspondent understands the numbers correctly.
Back to Rogue Warriors, the club understands what the restrictions mean. Essentially many young people will have their chances of being discovered completely missed. “The real top players are usually gifted and don't necessarily play long hours before joining the club. Others can be very good eventually but they need a lot of practice to get there,” an anonymous executive at another esports organization said.
Individuals will not be to blame if they figure out a workaround, though. The onus will fall on internet service providers and gaming companies to ensure that no U-18 player can connect and play. Tencent is leveraging its technological prowess to keep tabs on players and even facial recognition to verify the identity of players.