Last week, Shanghai welcomed its second large-scale international esports offline event of 2020, the Peacekeeper Elite Championship, to the Shanghai Oriental Sports Center, after the League of Legends World Championship. The event invited four Chinese teams and 11 international teams, including T1 Entertainment and Sports, NaVi, and Unicorns of Love (UoL), among others. Chinese team NV-XQF would go on to win the championship and take home ￥5M RMB ($760K USD) in prize money, the lion’s share of a ￥12M ($1.82M) total prize pool.
With the League of Legends annual event concluded, most of the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) teams entered the off-season and player transfer period. However, players’ improper behavior created a backlash in the community, some of which was punished by LPL operator TJ Sports.
Meanwhile, the Dota 2 esports scene welcomed the second season of Perfect World Dota 2 League. The organizer Perfect World increased the seasonal prize money from $68K to $100K, but the competition received rejection from the Chinese Dota 2 Association (CDA) due to allowing teams and players that had been accused of match-fixing in the past.
Among the top stories of China’s esports industry: teams and players accused of match-fixing competed in Perfect World Dota 2 League (PWL) season 2; TJ Sports fined a Vici Gaming (VG) player for using an in-game bug; Chinese search company Baidu announced plans to acquire JOYY’s live streaming operation; and Tencent announced a $30.4M investment for the Peacekeeper Elite esports ecosystem in 2021.
Teams Accused of Match-Fixing Cause Controversy During Perfect World Dota 2 League Season 2
On Nov.13, Chinese game publisher Perfect World announced its plans for the second season of Perfect World Dota 2 League (PWL). The new season would begin on Nov. 18, and feature ￥700K ($100K) prize money, which increased ￥250K ($32K) from the first season.
However, none of the major Chinese Dota 2 teams such as PSG.LGD, Royal Never Give-Up, and Vici Gaming, among others, joined the competition. Perfect World said in its announcement that PWL is a major part of the Chinese Dota 2 professional system, and would feature $200K total prize money in three seasons.
Chinese Dota 2 Association (CDA), the joint organization of seven Chinese major Dota 2 teams told The Esports Observer that it rejected taking part in the competition due to communication issues from Perfect World, and more importantly, the match-fixing concerns from participating teams and players.
In May, Chinese esports organization Newbee was accused of match-fixing. CDA and Chinese tournament organizers ImbaTV and Mars Media delivered a life-long ban to all players and team managers.
CDA told TEO that the match-fixing incident began from the second match of Newbee and Avengerls, during the Dota 2 Starladder ImbaTV League (SL-I) in February, one of the Minor events at Valve’s Dota Pro Circuit (DPC). Both Newbee and Avengerls were involved in the match-fixing, and was initially reported by Avengerls’ managing director.
The video of the second match of Newbee and Avengerls has been widely spread on the internet, and Zhang “Xiao8” Ning, former Newbee retired Dota 2 player who won the 2014 edition of The International with his teammates, commented on his stream that “If Avengerls didn’t match-fix the game, he would eat shit during the stream.”
Back to the current PWL season 2, Avengerls is one of three teams who qualified for the competition from the open qualifier, which received criticism from the community. The team changed its name to “Rebirth” but with the same team logo. Newbee players who were accused of match-fixing also competed in the competition, but on different teams.
A source close to Perfect World told TEO that the company did not have the right to ban Avengerls and Newbee players to attend PWL because “Valve did not ban” them.
TEO will continue to monitor this situation.
TJ Sports Fines Vici Gaming Player Lu ‘Leyan’ Jue for Using in-game BUG
China’s League of Legends Pro League (LPL) has entered the off-season, and the League of Legends welcomed its new patch to the game. It’s common to find in-game bugs, glitches, and exploits during the early period of releasing a new patch. But what if a professional player uses a bug in the game? TJ Sports has made a declaration on this situation.
On Nov.13, TJ Sports announced that the company received a report from the community that Vici Gaming (VG) player Lu “Leyan” Jue was using a bug, to gain advantages in the game.
According to the announcement, Jue was given a two-match (Two best of three match) ban in the 2021 LPL Spring Split, and suspensions related to attending the 2020 All-Star events and 2020 League of Legends Demacia Cup, as well as a three-year account ban from Tencent. The decision was also discussed with Riot Games headquarters, according to TJ Sports. VG was given a ￥50K ($7.5) fine, and the organization also gave Jue a three-month salary deduction and a strong warning.
Chinese Search Company Baidu to Acquire JOYY for $3.6B
On Nov.17, Chinese searching company Baidu (Similar to Google in the West) announced that it will acquire JOYY’s Chinese live streaming business for $3.6B. The deal will be subject to conditions and the transaction is expected to complete in the first half of 2021.
JOYY is not a familiar live streaming platform in the West, but is actually one of the oldest live streaming businesses in China. JOYY was founded in 2012 as a part of the live streaming business in Chinese chat service YY, the Chinese equivalent to Discord. Between 2012-2016, the Chinese live streaming platform Huya was a part of JOYY and especially known for gaming content. In 2016, Huya established its own company and independently developed itself.
This year, Huya became a subsidiary of Tencent Holdings, and is expected to merge DouYu in 2021.
Other Esports Business News:
- During the Peacekeeper Elite Championship (PEC) last weekend, Tencent announced that the company will invest ￥200M ($30.4M) in reinforcing China’s Peacekeeper Elite esports ecosystem in 2021. In August, Tencent committed to investing ￥100M ($14.5M) in Peacekeeper Elite in 2020.
- On Nov.18, Chinese esports organization TOP Esports (TES) celebrated its star player Yu “Jackeylove” Wenbo’s 20-year-old birthday. Wenbo was wearing a Dior branded t-shirt, and the brand and PUMA prepared a birthday cake and present for him. PUMA is the apparel sponsor of TES, and Wenbo is Dior’s “Friend of Brand.”
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