Diablo III revives professional gamers in China

Summary:After a worldwide frenzy following the launch of Diablo III in May, Blizzard is still keeping its Chinese fans on their toes.


(Screenshot by Liu Jiayi/CBS Interactive at http://us.battle.net/d3/en/blog/6360586/)

The company has not set up any servers in China, nor has it had official seller in the country. Thousands of gamers have to buy the Gamekey overseas, in most cases, from second hand dealers at a very high price. Before it was banned from buying and selling, the price for a Gamekey skyrocketed to over RMB1000 ($157) on Taobao, China's most popular B2C website.

However, the lack of access to the long-waited game could be dawn for the shrinking population of professional gamers.

"There is a ton of business opportunities in Diablo III," said Pan, a gamer who sold virtual gold online.

Pan told a local website in an interview that he quit professional game playing years ago and started his own furniture business because of vicious competition. It was the launch of Diablo III that brought him and his 8-people team back together.

"There is someone who is very good at English in our team, because we have to play on the US and Europe servers. We also have to know how open a bank account in the US and apply for a RMB-USD credit card," said Pan. "We then sell the virtual gold on Taobao; our buyers are mostly from mainland China."

The recently available Real-Money Auction House was another source of income for the professional gamers.

"You could earn quite a big amount of money by selling weapons and armors for real money through the Auction House," said C, an English graduate who plays on the US server for 15 hours a day.

Blizzard actually "owned" the professional gamers by letting them trade virtual items online, according to C, "It is just like in reality. Blizzard offers you a platform to demonstrate yourself. The harder you work, the more you make."

Topics: China


Liu Jiayi is a Hong Kong-based writer and editor. He produces video stories for Al Jazeera English and Seven News Australia, and also worked as the video editor for the Hong Kong-San Francisco Ocean Film Festival 2012. He is studying under a Master of Journalism Programme at the University of Hong Kong.

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