If all you’ve known about internet cafes are dingy darkened rooms where people stare into screens, you’ve got to see some of the new, slick gaming havens that are popping up in China.
The Wolfz 狼域电竞俱乐部 gaming lounge, opened this week, is a 1,700 square metre (18,298 square foot) space in south China’s high-tech hub of Shenzhen. It’s got 230 computers, 11 large rooms to book, and 5 VIP rooms.
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It also has a spot for professional teams to live-stream their games, and for other gamers to watch live matches around a bar.
Wolfz is also owned by a huge Taiwanese pop star, by the way.
Megastar Jay Chou is such a huge gaming fan that he owns a professional League of Legends team, called J-Gaming.
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Chou’s gaming company, J-esports (魔杰电竞), said it plans to franchise Wolfz out throughout China, Sina Games reports.
The company is supported by both Chou and IDG Capital, a venture capital fund that has backed companies like Xiaomi.
China’s internet cafe scene is ripe for investment by bigger firms; its 160,000 cafes of which only 0.2 percent are managed by chains.
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Internet cafes in China are getting increasingly high-end as well, as players in the country demand gaming in a more social setting, according to Tech in Asia.
Despite a rise in mobile gaming, cafes in China have found that players still want to watch professional live and televised esports tournaments right next to other gamers — and games like League of Legends and CrossFire have been popular amongst livestreamers.
The cafe says it plans to work with Chinese companies — like Tencent, which owns Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends — to host esports tournaments.