There are a few prominent female gamers in the space. ColaGirl (Zhu Li), Miss (Han Yiying) and Cany (Xiao Cang) have all won international and national female championships for MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) games, including Warcraft Ⅲ: Frozen Throne and StarCraft Ⅱ. These select few have successfully transformed to live commentators, and have been active on the Chinese esports scene since the mid-2000s — but most female players don’t stand a chance to catch up with their male peers, technically or economically.
<img src="https://imagedelivery.net/WLUarKbmUXuuhDC7PG5_Qw/articles/30a9bbc1c94f41df182fc0ccb8df0ec5.jpg/public" alt="esports china king's avatar"/>
<span>Esports in China Hit the Mainstream with Movie Adaptations and Official Recognition</span>
<span>40-episode Tencent series "The King's Avatar" blends game-like 3D animation with an IRL narrative based on a wildly popular esports-themed online novel</span>
<span>Aug 12, 2019</span>
“Compared to male esports players, who may make millions of RMB annually, female players can only make 10% of that,” says Mu Zi, manager of Beijing-based national champion team RE-Girls, in an interview with Chinese language esport publication Titan Dianjing. “Many more ordinary female players can not reach even 5%.”
One of the best currently active female players, Nv Qi, who is the leader of an Arena Of Valor subdivision of RE-Girls, proved that girls are not necessarily un-competitive after her all-female team beat an all-male team on Tencent Video’s talent show Ultimate Masters (Zhong Ji Gao Shou) this year. Discrimination against female players in the esports scene, which Nv Qi addresses within the show, nevertheless still exists, and the vicious circle is hard to escape.
<a href="https://pvp.qq.com/v/detail.shtml?G_Biz=18&tid=478539&e_code=pvppvpweb_detail.userVideo.r0" rel="noopener" target="_blank">“Many in the esports scene discriminate against women” – Nv Qi</a>
<a href="https://pvp.qq.com/v/detail.shtml?G_Biz=18&tid=478539&e_code=pvppvpweb_detail.userVideo.r0" rel="noopener" target="_blank">“We girls are not weak” – Nv Qi</a>
While esports in China have professionalized over the past few years, professional female competitions have been disappearing since last year, further stifling the development of female esports. A lack of professional competitions leads to low exposure, and waning sponsor interest.
To find a way out of this cycle, and to attract audiences as well as capital, most of the all-female esports teams are being reformed into girl idol groups. On top of game livestreaming and learning to commentate during professional games, many female players have recently gotten onto esports-themed talent shows.
Female esports team <a href="https://photo.weibo.com/6291172409/wbphotos/large/mid/4381637590394003/pid/006RL7kJly1g3yldcb212j30v90v9aoh">RE-Girls</a> moonlight as an idol group
Take another Tencent-produced talent show as an example: Carry You (“Honor Girls” in Chinese), which began airing on August 6, invites 45 female Arena Of Valor players from different levels to compete in teams and “present the female players’ spirit.” The contestants mostly have day jobs — white collar office workers, flight attendants, actresses, and startup owners, for example. Few are professional players.
<a href="https://photo.weibo.com/6291172409/wbphotos/large/mid/4407473710273131/pid/006RL7kJly1g66gexpvzbj31h10v9e0l">Esports teams on <em>Carry You</em></a>
There is an elimination round, followed by competitive 5v5 games in each episode, but what the girls need to do is more than just play Arena Of Valor. They also have to play soccer in inflated uniforms, do cosplay performances, and may also be trained to sing and dance, according to the show’s trailer.
<a href="https://weibo.com/6168512232/I38jswjhH?type=comment#_rnd1567073163112"><em> Carry You</em> contestants in cosplay costumes</a>
Another reality show — Girls’ Dormitory on Tencent-owned esports streaming platform Penguin Esports — features the most popular contestants from Carry You, allowing the audience to get to know the players more off-stage.
Outside such variety shows, all-female esports club Killer Angel has collaborated with Japanese company Aisan Entertainment Group to create MiKA Girls, an esports-themed idol group. Killer Angel has landed sponsorship from esports platform JBO, while Beijing club RE-Girls has earned endorsements from the likes of Logitech and Li-Ning.
<a href="https://photo.weibo.com/5893248565/wbphotos/large/mid/4401547796237813/pid/006qPtadly1g5njw3sasyj30u00u0478">MiKA at 2019 China Joy</a>
<a href="https://photo.weibo.com/6291172409/wbphotos/large/mid/4402995368300212/pid/006RL7kJly1g5s645dikhj32yo2801la">RE-Girls using sponsored equipment</a>
Under Tencent’s much-touted “pan-entertainment strategy,” female esports clubs may have found more methods to strive for public attention, while also fighting to survive. Hopefully we will see a real market for female professional players emerge before long, allowing these esports stars to focus on competing in MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) games, just like their male counterparts.
Cover photo: KA members playing Arena of Valor (Weibo)
A young Qatari prince has become an overnight sensation on Chinese social media, but many netizens believe it is inappropriate to give the country any positive pressRead More
1 minutes ago
3 hours ago
What does the ideal weekend look like for you? Sleeping in, making yourself a coffee and a lovely brunch, meeting up with friends to shop or skateboard, and enjoying an alcoholic drink (or many) at the bar come nightfall? Many Chinese youths strive for this lifestyle but find it just beyond their reach.
According to a survey conducted by the Chinese online publication Tamen, many young people in China would like to be active on weekends but always do nothing or simply watch TV. The reason is that their busy workweeks leave them feeling drained. Around half of the respondents admitted that they find it hard to separate their work and leisure time, as many do overtime or frequently check work-related emails and messages on the weekends.
The survey revealed that only 1 in 10 youth spend their weekends engaging in outdoor activities. As a result, most rate their average weekend a low 5.7 out of 10. Interestingly, the younger they are, the more frustrated they feel. It would seem that while some young people embrace the idea of ‘lying flat’ at work, being stagnant on the weekends feels like a waste of time.
If given a choice, most young Chinese workers would spend their two work-free days with their partners and enjoy new experiences together. Surprisingly, very few chose to spend their weekends meeting and making new friends, instead choosing to spend time alone or with their pets.