China approves esports careers as professions

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Published on: 31/01/2019

Right after a controversial message from a German Olympic Sports Federation executive that esports apparently ‘don’t exist’, the nation of China swings the other way – they just made a pretty historic move by officially approving esports players and esports managers as being full-fledged professions, along with several more.

More specifically, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security of China is accepting a total of 15 new career paths. Not all of them are esports related, however in the otherwise politically inflexible country, it’s a pretty big move.

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© LoL Esports

So far, in most places of the world – and in many people’s minds, anything to do with esports isn’t ‘a real career’. Regardless of the fact that many, many esports professionals wildly out-earn their critics by doing something they love, there are plenty of stereotypes and stigmas still attached to this. That of all places, China would be one of the early ones to push for this to change is remarkable, despite the huge surge in popularity that esports have gone through in Asia.

This has gone far enough for esports to be part of Olympic events – though not the actual Olympic games. At last year’s Asian games, esports were there as a demonstration sport, and this year, no less than six esports titles will be included as medal events in the 30th Southeast Asian Games – considering that, it’s high time for esports pros to receive the recognition they deserve.

The newly appointed 15 career paths were originally open for public discussion, with, specifically, esports managers and esports players being the ones most discussed in social media… and that’s world-wide, not just in China. As a matter of fact, a large number of people have come forward saying that if it was an option they would happily pursue gaming as a career – a statement was issued that a firm like would be drawn between esports enthusiasts and fans, and their pro counterparts.

With China having one of the biggest esports markets in the world, it’s no surprise that there is no shortage of interested parties that want to pursue this career path if they can. Japan already recognises competitive esports as a career – though only recently established, they have the Japanese Esports Union that issues licenses to pro players if they want to participate in tournaments.

© Jimmy Mi

Experts agree that systems like that can benefit esports as a whole – while restricting access could be a concern that could unfairly keep out great talent, it could bring a whole lot of benefits to players, such as easier paths to foreign visas, official (legal) recognition, not to mention representation in potential conflicts. All of these are issues that are currently – worldwide – nebulous at best, and especially when it comes to legal representation and travel arrangements, difficulties for players aren’t an uncommon thing to come across.

Perhaps, with Japan and China leading the way, a worldwide revolution in these matters won’t be far off, and the situation for esports pros all over the world will improve!

Read Also: Japan: a key player in the esports scene 2019 and beyond

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Author
Melanie H. - "MelanieH" | Esports writer and gamer

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