Chinese League of Legends esports operator TJ Sports reported on Monday that the company is currently investigating a “match-fixing” claim by FunPlus Phoenix (FPX), a Chinese esports organization, naming Zhou “Bo” Yangbo, FPX’s League of Legends player.
Yangbo initiated the FPX study, according to FPX’s official Weibo, but claims that during his professional career in the League of Legends Development League (LDL), the secondary league in China’s League of Legends esports, he was coerced into it by threats from some unspecified group.
“This situation has been reported to TJ Sports by the FPX management team and Yangbo, and Yangbo will be suspended until the investigation has produced a complete result,” FPX said.
Yangbo was an LDL player and joined the FPX LPL squad in January as a rookie. Replacing player Gao “Tian” Tianliang, who left the pro scene due to chronic pain, he was expected to play FPX’s “Jungle” spot.
This culminated in a broader debate regarding match-fixing and the insecurity of younger players in the Chinese esports industry. On the one hand, conduct such as match-fixing is a serious allegation in esports or any other sport, but some argue that if a senior individual or group really threatened Yangbo, he is used as a means to an end and is an easy target to exploit or coerce because he is very young and wants to join the LDL LPL.
PFX signed a long-term collaboration agreement with the U.S. furniture design firm Herman Miller earlier this month. The official poster featured Yangbo.
TJ Sports reported that a third-party law firm would also be involved in the investigation. This situation in China will continue to be tracked by the Esports Observer as it evolves.
The eSports world has grown considerably in the past few years, and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Having started to creep into the mainstream, it’s now a major source of entertainment for people.
With further investment coming into eSports, there’s surely more to come as well, which must excite fans. Yet, when it comes to the most popular eSports titles, there are only a select few. Whilst you can find a range of games if you look a bit deeper, the reality is that the main leagues and biggest events seem to center on certain games, such as CS: GO, Dota 2, and League Of Legends.
Why are these so popular?
Firstly, it’s no surprise that FPS and MOBA games are so popular. And, it’s easy to see why the players love playing them, as they’re fun games that offer a lot of value. Recent studies have shown that action themes are the most popular across the gaming industry right now, so eSports is just following that trend. To look at this in more detail, it is possible that games use the modern and fantasy setting is because it is so popular and relevant in modern culture. They are popular outside of gaming, so it makes sense they are popular within gaming too.
Beyond that, the starting point is that these games need to offer a multiplayer mode suitable for competitive play, which ensures that you can organize teams and tournaments. The game also needs to be balanced so that the gameplay is fair, which means each match will be decided by skill rather than abusing a broken weapon or game mechanic. Equally important, the game needs to be fun to watch.
The reality is that any game that isn’t exciting to watch isn’t going to attract a wide audience. A host of factors need to come together for this to work, which means the games are good to play, good to watch, and have an interesting setting. All of the titles listed ensure that is the case, which is why so many play them.
Other games can still thrive
There’s nothing to suggest that other themes can’t break through and enjoy similar success in the eSports world. Fortnite is the clearest example of that, which is quite cartoony in appearance. This is a relatively new game compared to the likes of LoL or CS: GO, and it has proven to be massive in the competitive scene. Then you have other titles, such as FIFA, that are starting to develop a bigger support base for eSports, with major tournaments taking place.
What does the future hold?
The future for everyone connected to eSports is very bright. As touched upon, it’s growing in popularity, and that’s not stopping any time soon. The level of investment into the industry is continuing, and when you have high-profile figures such as Drake, Michael Jordan, and David Beckham, getting involved, then you should expect more to come.
In terms of the games, they will eventually branch out as well. When eSports has a bigger reach, there will be more calls for different types of games, although the popular action and shooter games now will still grow.
Ultimately, as reflected in the gaming industry, on the whole, certain types of games are flourishing in eSports right now, but the great thing is the choice available for players. With more publicity and investment coming into eSports, the depth of games is only going to increase.