The first film focusing on electronic sports in China has been produced to give the public a glimpse of a marginal group of people.
"Family of Winners", directed by Wang Wen, is based on life experiences of a famous female e-sports celebrity player and host Zhang Xiangling, also known as Xiao Cang.
The film tells the story of how a group of social losers, but brilliant e-sports players were brought together trained by Cang to win world championship, combining abundant virtual images of the video game world to create much excitement.
Wang and Cang, along with cast members, attended the premiere held in Beijing on Monday. Wang Yuexin, a leading actor, said he felt very proud of the work that had gone into the film.
It has been 31 years since the inception of the concept of electronic sports in 1986. In 1995, internet cafes started to emerge in China, pushing forward the development of online games and video games. China joined the club and soon became a major player.
The Chinese government took a supportive stance toward e-sports, hoping to facilitate the development of the IT industry and boost the economy. In 2003, the General Administration of Sport of China listed e-sports as one of 99 officially recognized sports. In 2004, the First China E-sports Games (CEG) were launched by the General Administration of Sport and the All China Sports Federation.
After nearly two decades of rapid development, competitive gaming has gained general acceptance and e-sports events are organized across the country on a regular basis.
Domestic league matches are watched on the internet and on television by millions of gaming fans and top players have become superstars. In 2008, Zhang Xiangling was selected as a torchbearer for the Beijing Olympic Games as a representative of e-sports.
In March 2013, a national e-sports team was established by the General Administration of Sport. By 2016, with a total annual revenue of US$22.23 billion, China had overtaken the United States as the world's largest e-sports market, and there are now more than 400 million video game fans in the nation.
Although the e-sports are booming in China and gaming giants are making profits, many traditional-minded Chinese parents still see them as bad profession and a source of gaming or internet addicts, wasting money and time of young and vulnerable lives without given them a recognized decent living.
Many gamers in e-sports still feel they are a marginalized group in society who suffer from bias, scold and misunderstanding, though they have fancy egos and avatars in the vivid virtual CG world.
"Family of Winners" tries to resolve the misunderstanding and tell an inspiring story how e-sports can be positive power for society rather than social problem, and pay tribute to China's e-sports players, the industry and people who love and support the video games for so many years.
A total of 21 e-sports star players make an appearance in this film, which has a 500-member crew who wanted to present the film as a gift to gaming fans.
"Family of Winners" will hit Chinese theaters on Tuesday.