China is the world’s largest esports market despite crackdown: study

China’s esports market revenue is up 14% year-on-year in 2021, despite a tight regulatory framework for gaming in the world’s second-largest economy, according to a new report from analyst firm Niko Partners.

Esports refers to professional games in which gamers often play against each other in large tournaments, and fans watch live broadcasts.

China remains the largest single country market in the world with $403.1 million in esports revenue in 2021, Niko Partners said in a report Thursday.

“What China has [a] sort of an edge in the esports space, it’s a really phenomenally big market with a really huge amount of gamers who are interested in esports content… in becoming esports pros ourselves,” Alexander Champlin, head of esports at Niko Partners, told CNBC on the program Squawk Box Europe on Thursday.

China continues to grow despite tighter gaming policies. Last year, Beijing introduced the rules this limits the amount of time under 18s can play online video games to three hours per week.

Chinese regulators also froze the approval of nnew games to give away and monetization between July 2021 and April this year.

the impact was palpable from the largest gaming companies in China NetEase as well as tencent.

While the esports market is holding up well, Champlin warned that this could have some impact on the future of professional gaming in China.

“What these rules are doing, especially in regards to youth games, is actually limiting the flow of players in esports. So while there is still a lot of interest in esports games and esports celebrities, we are a bit concerned about what it will be good for future generations of esports fans and professionals… and what it could do for China’s historic dominance in space,” Champlin told CNBC.

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Despite the wider harassment of young people playing games, it appears that the government is supporting esports. Major city last year Shanghai laid the foundation in the esports arena with an area of ​​500,000 square meters.

Japan and South Korea are two other major markets in Asia for esports revenue.

While China continues to dominate, there are other regions and countries that are growing faster.

Esports revenue in Southeast Asia was $80.1 million in 2021, up 27.3% from last year. Esports revenue in India grew by $20.3M last year, up 26% from 2020.

“His [India] a huge market, and historically it was underestimated as a kind of dollar-to-volume ratio,” Champlin said.

“This means that as the purchasing power of Indians grows, as the market becomes more saturated with smartphones, the base of potential players and the audience is expanding dramatically. We are also seeing a lot of investment from key players in the Indian gaming market,” he added.