China Wins First League of Legends Title
Invictus Gaming defeated the Fnatic at the 2018 League of Legends World Championship, scoring China's first title in the game. Social media networks throughout the country were instantly blasted with news of the prestigious esports victory.
Chinese esports fans compared the victory to win an Olympic gold. Their sentiment is not much of a stretch. According to industry research firm Newzoo, League of Legends is the world's most played PC game. The World Championship, known simply as Worlds, is the game's most significant competition of the year.
The victory was even celebrated by Chinese mainstream media sources. One communist party paper hailed the victory as an alternative way to achieve the “national sports dream.” The statement arrives at a time when video games are mostly vilified by the media as harmful vices poisoning China's youth.
The country is hugely proud of its sports, as evidenced by the amount it spends on the Olympic Games. This is good news for the esports industry as China recognized competitive video gaming as an official sporting event earlier this year.
The esports industry is worth an estimated 88.7 billion yuan ($12.87 billion) in China this year. That figure is nearly double the 53.2 billion yuan ($7.72 billion) the industry was worth just two years ago in 2016. The rapid growth has influenced local governments to invest heavily in turning their towns into “esports hubs” to attract gaming companies and competitions.
There is a lot of private money in Chinese esports as well. Invictus Gaming was founded by Wang Sicong, the son of Wang Jianlin – once the wealthiest man in the country.