Tencent, the Chinese online games developer and owner of mobile messaging service WeChat, is to open an esports theme park.
The attraction in Wuhu, eastern China, will be part of a larger esports town which will also include an esports university, cultural and creative park, animation industrial park, a technology entrepreneurship community and a cloud data centre. Commentators have suggested Tencent could be planning a League of Legends theme park, having acquired the franchise from Riot Games a few years ago.
An agreement has been signed with the local government for the development in Wuhu. Tencent and others are now planning further theme parks pitched at Chinese esports and computer game fans.
In Chengdu, capital of the Sichuan Province, Tencent will develop a park based around the fantasy role-playing game Honor of Kings. As of January, the game boasted 50 million players, roughly 10% of China’s computer game market.
In addition, in Suzhou, west of Shanghai, a 3.55 square-kilometre (1.37 sq mile) esports town is planned alongside Taicang Lake. Those plans include a combined space for esports cultural displays, “experience zones” and an esports industrial park.
Opening dates for all three of the above could not be confirmed by Blooloop. Clearly, however, there is a market for places where large numbers of esports fans can gather and indulge their passion. If that creates a new genre of tourism in the process, all the better. Because it’s better than playing games at home.
Image courtesy Riot Games/Tencent