Invictus Gaming (IG) has become the first Chinese team to win the League of Legends World Championship, taking a clean 3-0 sweep over European team Fnatic during the finals this Saturday at Munhak Stadium in Incheon, South Korea.
“Everyone just feels really proud and relieved — this is the first time a Chinese team has won the League of Legends World Championship,” said Duan Yushuang, a renowned League of Legends commentator also known as Candice, “This is hugely significant for China’s gamers — it’s a dream come true.”
League of Legends is an online multiplayer battle arena game played by over 110 million people in China. After buying most of Riot Games in 2011, Tencent bought out the remaining equities of the studio in December 2015, owning the studio fully. League of Legends reportedly makes $1 billion a year via in-app purchases.
It has been six years since China last seized the world championship with Taipei Assassins winning the tournament back in 2012. For the past five years, the crowning teams have all been Korean teams. This year, no Korean team even reached the semi-final as American Cloud 9 and European G2 Esports landed on third and fourth place.
Fnatic beat IG twice in earlier stages of the championship, but in the final, the European team didn’t stand a chance. After the three hour long game, IG emerged victorious with a comfortable 3-0 score. The team will take home a hefty trophy known as the Summoner’s Cup and a cash prize of over $840,000.
It is evident that e-sports have become an emerging industry with promising prospects. Tencent, JD.com, Suning.com and other Internet and retail giants have found a way to enter the e-sports market. According to the market research institute Gamma Data, the market size of China’s e-sports industry in 2017 reached 77 billion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 44.8 percent, and is expected to exceed 88 billion yuan this year.