Tencent Esports and the Global Esports Federation (GEF) have partnered on a new project called the #worldonnected initiative that was unveiled at the annual Tencent Esports Global Summit held this week at the Hainan Bo Asia International Conference Center.
“Today, I’m proud to announce the launch of the #worldconnected initiative, in partnership with Tencent Esports,” said GEF President Chris Chan on a video uplink at the summit. “We invite the world’s esports community – the world’s publishers, developers, athletes, and players, as well as the broader international sporting community.”
Simply put, the initiative is designed to build a bridge between sports and esports.
Following Chan’s speech backing the initiative, four more industrial leaders showed their support via video at the summit, including Chester King, CEO of British Esports Association; Aurelia Ruetsch, director of international relations of WorldSkills France; T.A. Ganda Sithole, former executive board member of the International Olympic Committee; and Hideki Okamura, chairman of Japan esports Union (JeSu).
In addition, executives from four game publishers, Riot Games, Supercell, Smilegate, and Electronic Arts also showed their support for the initiative in a photo session that included Edward Cheng, vice president of Tencent and GEF, and Anne Kelly Aikman, GEF senior advisor.
Tencent fully owns Riot Games and 51.2% shares of Supercell. Smilegate and EA have also partnered with Tencent in China’s gaming market for years.
A few hours before Chan’s speech, Tencent Esports held a 25-minute discussion on the main stage titled, “The New Cultural Mission of Esports in Globalization.” The discussion featured Jizhong Wei, vice president of GEF and honorary life vice president of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), and Cheng.
Wei explained that the original intention of establishing GEF was to integrate multiple interested parties, and avoid “benefit fragmentization” in the esports industry. Wei also expressed confidence that esports will join the Olympic Games at some point.
Cheng also noted the difference between the current thinking in esports that winning is everything and the Olympic message that doing your best is an accomplishment in itself.
“We should note that Olympic spirit is not only focused on getting ‘faster and higher,’ but also participation more than to win,” Cheng said “Everyone has the right to work in the sports business without any discrimination [gender, color, religion, body, disability.]”
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