The development of e-sports has been earmarked as a “city-level strategy” in Shanghai, according to Yu Xiufeng, director of Shanghai’s culture and tourism administration, speaking at ChinaJoy, Asia’s largest gaming and digital entertainment expo, over the weekend.

E-sports will create an ecosystem that helps the city achieve economic transformation, Yu said. As per the guidelines issued by the administration, e-sports venues will be categorised into four types based on capacity and purpose.

A-level venues, no less than 50,000 square meters with room for more than 10,000 people, will be used for international games. Smaller D-level locations, on the other spectrum, will offer livestreaming videos and host tryouts.

Apart from facilities, service standards were also defined to benefit players and sponsors, from network speed, equipment, staffing, as well as specific processes for advertising and sponsorships.

Meanwhile, NetEase announced plans to invest ¥5bn to establish an e-sports stadium in Shanghai’s Qingpu District. The venue will support e-sports research and training of talent, said Ding Yingfeng, president of NetEase Games in a release.

On the consumer-behaviour front, Humphrey Ho, managing partner at Hylink, a digital ad agency, told Axios that several factors are shaping the rise of e-sports in the market consisting of at least 200 million e-sports fans: long commutes to work, rapid technological advancements, and even social loneliness.

The news follows the culmination of the first Fortnite World Cup in New York, which saw the 16-year-old American gamer Bugha (Kyle Giersdorf) take home a US$3 million first prize. Despite the youth of competitors and of the category in general, the total prize pot of US$30 million has emphasized the seriousness of e-sports even among demographics and publications that had so far paid it little notice.

Across the world, gaming is becoming not only a serious pursuit but a big business. In a recent WARC trend snapshot, the rise of mass-participation games, such as Fortnite, has led to lucrative opportunities for brands partnering with publishers and gaming teams to reach the large demographic comprised not only of gamers, but e-sports fans at large.

Sourced from Shanghai Daily, Sina, Axios; additional content by WARC staff