Widely-anticipated TI9, “the world cup of e-sports,” will make its Asia debut in the city’s Pudong New Area next summer.
Online game developers and operators signed cooperation agreements with Pudong in a variety of fields such as tournaments and incubators yesterday.
TI9, the ninth International Defense of the Ancients 2 (Dota 2) Championships, will be held at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in August next year, said Gu Liming, vice president of Perfect World, operator of Dota 2.
Dota 2 is one of the world’s most popular multiplayer online games and much loved by Chinese gamers. The world’s top 18 game squads will compete for an estimated US$30 million in prize money.
“Currently, Cologne in Germany, the US West Coast and Moscow are recognized as the world’s three e-sports hubs. But Shanghai is becoming the fourth, with great facilities and e-sports ambience,” he said.
Gu also announced that STEAM China, Chinese home of the world’s top game distribution platform STEAM, will be established in Pudong’s Zhangjiang High-Tech Park. STEAM provides more than 20,000 games to millions of players worldwide.
“It is a chance for domestic game developers to make their games known to the world and means domestic players don’t need to access servers overseas,” Gu said.
Online gaming operator NetEase has plans to build an industrial chain in Pudong’s Lingang area, already a major incubator of science and technology.
“Next year, we will hold a new online game tournament in Lingang. We will also set up incubators for professional players and promising game developers,” said Wang Yi, vice president of NetEase. “We want to create a healthy ecosystem of online gaming with a complete industrial chain.”
Yi said Lingang with its cluster of smart manufacturers working on AI and VR can play an important role in the development of online games.
In China, the value e-sports is increasing by over 20 percent each year and may exceed 80 billion yuan (US$11.51 billion) this year. Pudong generates nearly one tenth of China’s e-sports output.
It will be the first district in Shanghai to register professional gamers and launch e-sports classes in schools.
“Young people play and design online games. They represent the future. If we grab the hearts of young people, then we catch the future,” said Hang Yingwei, director of Pudong.