iG.ChuaN and iG CEO Efeng question and answer session

iG held an event on t.qq (similar to Twitter) where anyone could ask questions and they would answer. Good questions, good answers. Check it out.

Questions to ChuaN and his answers

Q: How tall are you and YYF?
ChuaN: I am 190cm (roughly 6 ft 2 in), I dunno about YYF

Q: Will your girlfriend think you’re too fat?ChuaN: I am working hard to lose weight!

Q: Can you reveal how speaking rights are divided within the team?
ChuaN: We discuss things together, there isn’t really anything like that

Q: ChuaN-god, it’s been a while since you’ve come to China. After your pro gaming career ends, what are your plans? Will you stay in China? Or go back home?
ChuaN: Right now all I’m thinking about is how to play well, and get good results.

Q: Will there be more interactive events between players and fans?
ChuaN: We often do these on our official YY channel 90007, and we’ll be frequently streaming first person gameplay there as well, we welcome everyone to come visit! (Dotaland guide on how to watch YY streams here)

Q: How did you first step onto the path of becoming a pro player? In many people’s view, esports is the same as casual play… Can you tell us what your training is like? Is it at all similar to what some people think?
ChuaN: I stepped onto this path by playing and fighting for my dreams! Esports has become my professional career, so it isn’t simply play! Every day we undergo specific, targeted, and planned training!

Q: ChuaN-god! I am here in the name of my roommate, who wishes to profess his love to you!
ChuaN: Thank you, I love you guys too!

Q: You went from being a solo mid player to successfully transforming into a 4 position support, very different roles both mentally and attitude-wise. How did you adapt?ChuaN: Thinking back on that moment standing on stage as champions, all the sacrifice is worth it! The team and togetherness above all else!

Q: Are you optimistic about Dota 2 in China?
ChuaN: I am very much optimistic about Dota 2 in China!

Q: How long is your daily training, does the club arrange other activities for relaxation?
ChuaN: The club arranges physical exercise; I am really good at basketball! ;P

Q: How much longer do you plan on playing Dota, ChuaN-god?
ChuaN: I will play until I cannot play anymore!

Q: Which competitions will iG.Dota take part in in the coming year?
ChuaN: All big competitions we will participate in! And we’ll do our best to achieve good results, we hope that everyone supports us!

Q: iG add oil
ChuaN: Thank you for the support!

Q: iG is my spiritual belonging, I believe in iG… How does an esports club have this much magic?
ChuaN: It is the result of a collective effort and nurturing! 🙂

Questions to iG CEO Efeng and his answers

Q: Will there be iG-branded merchandise? Stuff like gaming peripherals, perhaps?
Efeng: Yes! This year, even!

Q: Out of iG’s players, who do you think will get married first?
Efeng: My guess is either YYF or Zhou.

Q: Can I get a blessing from you in my quest for the goddess in my life?
Efeng: Sure, as long as your goddess isn’t my wife, I officially bless your quest.

Q: What do esports players do after they retire?
Efeng: The cream of the crop can continue on as leaders, coaches, or managers after they retire. Others can transition into club support staff, media people, or work at gaming companies, or become a commentator. Lots of possibilities 🙂

Q: Efeng, what are your views on those players who are still very young, and also need to continue their studies?
Efeng: I feel that these things aren’t necessarily in conflict with one another. Games can be their hobby from youth, it’s the same basic principle as those kids that take up things like art, sports, etc. And if they display true talent in some way, then they can consider a career in it. 🙂

Q: Hello sir, can you say whether you’re satisfied with the atmosphere of our esports scene? Compared to foreign esports, what are some weaknesses of Chinese esports?
Efeng: Still lacking in mainstream recognition and understanding.

Q: When will the iG website get an overhaul? It’s lacking compared to many foreign clubs’ sites. Looking forward to official iG forums, so we iG fans have somewhere to go. What do you think?
Efeng: It’s all in the works! There’ll be an all-new look soon!

Q: I would like to ask, what is average pay and compensation like in the industry, what are the benefits?
Efeng: Staff are comparable to typical gaming companies. For players, it depends on the club and the players’ ability. The better the results, the more popular the player, the more they get paid… similar to professional sports.

Q: As a university student, how can I best contribute to esports?
Efeng: Study hard, graduate, then join the esports industry!

Q: Any considerations for creating sub-teams, for example regional or provincial feeder teams?
Efeng: Yes, in the future we will have all sorts of developmental squads.

Q: As management of the club, what are the most important things for the club’s success? Where does most of your funding come from? Thank you.
Efeng: I think that the most important things are stability and the ability to execute well. Funding mostly comes from sponsors, sales, events, and promotional activities.

Q: Have you thought about creating an international squad?
Efeng: If Chinese players are the best in something, then what’s the point in creating an international team?

Q: What are your thoughts on flexibility of roles and the ability to transition between roles in esports?
Efeng: I feel that the limits are much fewer, and it is much easier to transition between roles in the esports industry, as long as one is willing and able to work hard. Those who can be successful players can also be successful esports staff. 🙂

Q: How do you compare Chinese esports skill level with foreign?
Efeng: Chinese esports is very strong!

Q: For esports to sucessfully become an Olympic event, what do you think is the biggest bottlenet? What are primary cash flows for various parts of the club? Thank you.
Efeng: I think the biggest bottleneck is popular support and recognition… As for funding for, players have their salary, bonuses, sponsorship and events, the club has sponsors and sales, and staff have their salaries.



Chinese Esports National Team incoming? …and related public debate regarding the status of esports in China [article]

Dotaland note: Worth a read for sure! Background info on esports in China, along with a report on the current state of esports, as triggered by a recent controversial online statement.

Original: http://dota2.sgamer.com/news/201303/149593.html via Chinese newspaper Morning News

Last week, an announcement from the national sporting agency instigated a wave of debate. The announcement suggested that they were looking into establishing a national esports team of 17 members, the purpose being to go participate in the upcoming 4th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

“Electronic sports” can be counted as a sport too? This was the topic of dispute, and it spread rapidly throughout the internet.

On the 22nd, one He Chao, the younger brother of national and international diving champion He Chong, posted on his weibo: “Electronic sports counts as a real sport??? Just playing a game is enough to win Olympic gold, if this were the case then all our real training and hard work is for nothing, might as well go and play games all day……” This ripple, by the power of the internet, magnified into waves of controversy, as things quickly exploded into a war of words online.

Yesterday, our reporter interviewed long-standing participants in the esports realm, and gained a deep understanding of the living conditions of an esports player — this is an environment which, on the outside, looks like a casual, entertaining way of life, yet in reality it is a stringent, grinding, often dull profession; it is something that has been misunderstood by society from the get-go.

A 30 minute game requires no less than 7200 keystrokes

Just last night, the He Chao who had provoked the proverbial hornets’ nest in the way he addressed this topic, deleted the offending post and in its place put up a serious and sincere apology to all those in esports. Yet this act did not serve to calm the already disturbed waves of dispute revolving esports, this new and rising sport. The discussion remained divided between two camps, and the debate continued as to whether esports was simply “playing a game” or not.

In actuality, it could be very simple to determine the real truth and solve the dispute. In order to better understand the problem at hand, we must first clearly understand what really encompasses ‘esports’, and what, exactly, the difference is between ‘esports’ and the much-loved and mainstream accepted ‘online gaming’?

Way back in November of 2003, esports had already been included as the 99th entry in a list of sports as determined by the national sporting agency, and on their official website, it is possible to search and find many pages on the topic of esports. There are real facts and figures to support the fact that esports has requirements of brainpower and stamina alike, and these demands are comparable to other competitive sports. For example, WCG 2006 Warcraft 3 Champion, Sky, had an APM over 200 on average, which is to say, he clicks the mouse and hits the keyboard 200 times per minute. According to calculations, over a 30 minute game this amounts to over 7200 keystrokes, with an added 6000 mouse clicks, far outstripping the intensity with which an average computer user might operate. The concept of ‘sport’ is precisely displayed in this form of high intensity, quick tempo activity — and this is without taking into account the high pressure mental environment in such a competition.

It can be said that, over the years, esports competitors have existed in an environment of extreme misunderstanding of what they do.  As computer usage has gradually become an integral part of people’s lives, as people have accepted and grown accustomed to mice and keyboards, the misunderstanding grew. Average people view these things as a normal part of life, and so the connection between a mouse and a keyboard and ‘sport’ has never been made, instead they assume that these things are the same things that they use in work, or play, and so there must not be much difference in what esports competitors do and what they are familiar with.

An online survey found that 70% of respondents accepted esports as a sport

Therefore, many of those in esports feel ‘alone’. Current marketing director of SCNTV gaming media company, Cui Fangzhou, is a veteran of the earliest crop of Chinese esports competitors, having once been part of a national team training camp in 2007. Today, even though esports has been an officially recognized sport for nearly a decade, and officially support for four years, yet mainstream attention and understanding of it is still miniscule. Cui Fangzhou says, even though in terms of mainstream penetration and acceptance, casual online gaming has more reach than many traditional sports, the concept of ‘esports’ is still mired in the idea that it is an ‘improper profession’.

Yet, Cui Fangzhou believes that, from an objective point of view, esports shares many similarities with traditional sports. From talent scouting, to intense training, and everything in between, esports shares the same type of hard work and sacrifice required for success in traditional sports.

Cui Fangzhou gave our reporter a very simple exampe to illustrate his point: For example in the game Angry Birds, average players might only play to pass each stage — once a stage is past, it’s past. Perhaps the average player passed it due to sheer luck, or an accident, but a professional player would not have this attitude, and would seek to be able to reliably reproduce the result on demand. Thus it can be said that a competitive gamer would focus on the smallest of details, the slightest of angles or power level in an Angry Birds stage, and even spend hours or days on figuring out the equivalent details in an esports title. The end goal, of course, being that if the player were to meet this same situation again in the future, he or she could guarantee that they would know how to handle it right away.

Such is the difference between playing for fun and playing as a profession. Even so, many people remain in the attitudes of “esports is no more than just a squeeze of a mouse, some taps on a keyboard”, and even more parents, because of an inherent lack of understanding for these things, decide that this is a path with no future for their children. Cui Fangzhou, on the other hand, believes that the current industry and market for esports has reached a relatively mature degree. He reveals to us that just last year in the Dota 2 game, six teams from China competed for a prize of 1 million dollars, with one of the teams succeeding in winning it. Additionally, first team players for most teams maintain a monthly salary of around 10,000 RMB, with living and eating expenses covered.

From Cui Fangzhou’s point of view, there’s a reason each and every competition sport exists. He told us he’d also seen He Chao’s post online, but he brushed it off: the roots of misunderstanding in esports are deep, and not something that can be reversed overnight. As someone who’s been through it all, he said, his hope is that society as a whole will become more accepting of esports over time. As with competitions in ‘normal’ sports, every competition in esports has sacrificed, given sweat and tears, and worked hard — on this, they do not lose out to anyone.

Worth a mention at the end is, perhaps their passion in esports has influenced another batch of bystanders. As of this writing, popular sentiment within the debate itself has shifted in favor of esports, and on a major domestic web portal, a survey showed that over 70% of respondents supported the notion of esports as a true sport. This, it seems, would be a good start for people like Cui Fangzhou.


2009 in the papers, as Shenzhen Evening Post responds to criticism of esports in Chinese schools

Original: http://dota.sgamer.com/201301/news-detail-161003.html

Dotaland note: 2009 and esports are mentioned in the mainstream again, as debate flares up once more on the importance of esports and its influence on students.

The incident: The Chinese Ministry of Education recently held a discussion about strengthening physical and sporting environments at universities around the country, inviting leadership from 16 different large universities to participate.

Zhejiang University’s principal, Yang Wei said: “Nowadays there are fewer and fewer people who achieve one hour of daily exercise. Gaming, and online activities instead take up the vast majority of this time. Even though our school has not produced Olympics champions like Sun Yang, we still do have a hero in the form of an esports world champion that is arguably more influential to more of our students than anyone else (this hero being none other than 2009, who graduated from Zhejiang University).”

This kicked off a myriad of discussions, and the Shenzhen Evening Post published an editorial looking at the issue, entitled “Esports is not the enemy of physical sport”.

Esports is not the enemy of physical sport

Shenzhen Evening Post reporter Fang Zhou — Zhejiang University’s principal, with one declaration of “Sun Yang is less influential than esports champions”, once again revealed the weaknesses of our campus sports programs across the country. Many schools have cancelled track programs, and there have even been incidents involving casualties recently.

This time, “the vicious esports industry” has been singled out by many people as the primary source of the demise of sporting and physical excellence on campuses, and its logic goes as such: If we were to smash all the students’ computers, they would naturally then go outside onto sports fields instead.

2009, as the example at hand here, even seemingly sank into the role of ‘villain’ for many people here, as he represented everything that was ‘wrong’. However, consider this: the reason why 2009 is more beloved at Zhejiang University is not because of this, but more because he is like everyone else — he tested into the university like everyone else, we could have met him in the cafeterias, while people like Sun Yang we can only see on TV. Things like being able to claim a national sports star for one’s university are things that typically only administrators care about.

In college, playing computer games is indeed more popular than traditional sports. When I was in college, whenever anyone wanted to hook up and play some Counterstrike, there was always massive interest, while our football (soccer) tournaments meant going into individual dorms to drag people out of bed to play. But you cannot simply take this to mean, a love of Counterstrike is linked to no love for football. Another root cause to be considered here is the fact that tough and lengthy schooling and preparations before college have squeezed the sporting genes and interest out of many kids, so by the time they’ve made it to college, they’re all wearing glasses and physically weak, and so can only find fulfillment in online worlds, playing hero.

English film “The Black Mirror” displayed some of the drawbacks of virtual worlds, and speaking of the drawbacks, they certainly aren’t only limited to affecting campus sports. So students spending so much time gaming cannot possibly be said to have a cause-and-effect relationship with the lack of sports on campuses, it can only be said to be a manifestation of the lack of sports. If you don’t believe me, try this experiment: turn off the internet in the dorms, and see how many people actually go out onto the sports fields instead.

Strictly speaking, esports is also categorized in the realm of sporting in general, and it’s a relatively smaller item in this realm. Just as 2009 said before, don’t approach esports with biases and just assume. Esports can also exercise participants’ decision making, analytic thinking, mentality, and teamwork. 2009 and esports in general are not the monsters that some people think they are. Some school principals only know to blame the internet and gaming; conversely, they should think more seriously about how they can improve things on their own, and reflect on the actual reasons their schools lack sporting.



People.com.cn interview: commentator DC talks Chinese eSports

Original: http://dota2.sgamer.com/news/201210/147620.html (technically the real original is from people.com.cn, but I can’t find that one, and didn’t look hard for it either)

Dotaland note: insightful look into Dota2’s place in competitive esports, the Chinese market, player development, and more, from one of Chinese Dota’s most experienced and well-rounded contributors… interviewed by a mainstream website’s gaming section.

DC, personal name Dong Chan, is a legendary Chinese Dota figure. Formerly played on EHOME, winning countless Chinese and international competitions, nicknamed Teacher DC. After retiring became a commentator, and is now a top Chinese commentator.

Q: As a veteran of Dota competition, how do you view the changes coming from Dota2?

DC: In terms of game quality, Dota2 has escaped from the limitations of the old game engine, and thus quickly achieved an overall improvement; IceFrog and his development team need no additional praise, and their future innovations on a new and limitless platform will be something we all look forward to. The transition from DotA to Dota2 has been a series of practical changes that lead to improvements, allowing Dota to be more stable, and more lively and open for creativity, it’s great!

Q: Dota2’s Chinese agent Perfect World has estimated that Dota2 will hit the market in 2013, will this affect the game’s domestic market share?

DC: The issue of Dota2’s official date of going open, has already become a major weakness. In the past two years, large amounts of Dota-type games have arisen, and in many ways have limited Dota1’s territory, even to the point of affecting Dota2’s growth. How to solve and conquer this issue will be the core of Dota2’s growth strategy. Even though Dota2 is an unparalled game of high acclaim and fame, when it does finally hit the Chinese market, perhaps it would be best to focus on its inherent production quality and superior user experience.

Q: Dota-type games, such as League of Legends, what are their current status in China? Are you able to make a prediction in regards to this segment of the market?

DC: League of Legends can be said to have chosen the right time to lay out all their cards. Its development was quick, its momentum is fierce, all to the point of having no equal. It was because of League of Legends’ momentum and growth that ultimatley pushed Dota2 to make its belated appearance, so the pressure is immense here. There’s no question about it, LoL on the Tencent platform will be a juggernaut on the scene for a considerable period of time yet. In the competitive scene it also has been very effective, and taking the lead Dota1 set, it has become a world-leading competitive title.

Q: When competiting in international competition, what exactly is the competitive level of Chinese players?

DC: In terms of Dota 1 and 2, Chinese players have attained a dominant level of performance in the world. Looking at competitions over the years, at the highest level, it’s common to see Chinese teams take consecutive championships, and sometimes even take all three top spots. In the recent International 2 in September, not only did Chinese team iG defeat Ukrainian juggernaut NaVi to take first place, all five Chinese teams made it into the top 8, and 3 out of 4 of the top 4 spots were taken by Chinese teams, once again recording a legendary feat. At this competition, players from all over the world gave high praise for Chinese players’ skill level, noting the excellent training environment and competitive atmosphere available to them.

Afterwards, many well-known international players expressed desire to come to China to train and develop, and top Chinese team LGD has already created an international team, currently training in Hangzhou. This Chinese-created international team, how well they perform exactly, will be a point to look forward to seeing.

Q: What are the prospects for professional players in China now?

DC: After many years of development and growth on the scene, current players in China now enjoy very decent compensation and benefits. From champions iG who just moved to Shanghai, to LGD who just moved to Hangzhou, as well as the kings of kings DK, situated in Yunnan… the players have access to excellent training facilities and conditions, and countless fans envy and follow them. And their incomes are continuously rising, with dense calendars of competitions and high prize pools, added to their good salaries, all allow them to completely focus on training and competition with no other worries. The most representative example here is team iG, who, after taking the 1m dollar prize, are now being called the million-dollar team by the media.

In summary, the players who are currently stepping into their career peaks right now, have conditions that are worthy of envy.

Q: What is the greatest barrier to the growth of a professional gamer?

DC: Lack of enough time and background support. For the entire player development scene, it is still very much a grassroots situation currently. There’s virtually no strict or organized system for developing and bringing up new players, so new infusions of talent into the scene is still in a confusing and random status. In the majority of examples, the rise of a new player relies mainly on that players natural talent and ability to work hard, plus an exceptional amount of luck, to be able to ultimately display a little bit of their brilliance.

The difficulties at this level perhaps require an organized, unified, and intentional administrative push to resolve and eventually create a positive and sustainable model for the scene, thus breaking our current awkward situation of the professional scene being a virtual ‘building in the sky’ type of isolation.

Q: After the national government made efforts to encourage professional work in culture and creative arts, were there any changes in this situation? Why or why not?

DC: For now, there haven’t been much noticeable changes. The entire industry, for now, is still relying on its own internal momentum, as well as pushes made by industry insiders for their own purposes. On this topic, there remains a considerable amount of conservatism; how we can accurately and fairly portray the difference between addiction to games and playing games professionally, how we can provide balanced news reports and publicity, and how we can engage in dialogue rather than plug our ears and embark on single-sided narratives, these will all be things that will have effects. If we want to build a concrete foundation for the entire industry, then we still need firm and strong leadership and support.

(editorial) After iG’s win — “All those years, the championship I wanted, it was this one”

Note: This is a pretty powerful piece written by a Gamefy (Chinese gaming TV) reporter named Ling Zhihao. It describes the dreams of a generation of young Chinese gamers being fulfilled in seeing iG win…

Original: http://www.gamefy.cn/topic/dota2_120830/view.php?id=24774

BBC and DC (Chinese commentators), their hoarse voices floating about my ears, 5 golden stars on a red background, the Chinese flag dancing in the air in front of me, brought me back to images of Sky (major Chinese Warcraft 3 player) winning the WCG championship on stage years ago.

That thing we call a dream, it always takes flight quietly at some point in the past. Years ago, those kids staying up late secretly watching their heroes winning on stage, now they’re grown and standing on the stage themselves victorious, leaving their own names on the walls of eSports history.

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