Electronic competition had become among the top sporting events, and with advancements in technology, the internet was omnipresent and electronic competition had permeated into everyone's lives. This new form of electronic competition had overtaken many older sports, and throughout the world, it was known as the most widely accepted sporting entertainment program.
For entertainment, other than film, music, and livestreams, there was one other major player, and that was gaming. It's place in the New Era was way higher than that of football, basketball, or other sports.
Electronic competition also had no lack of stars. The main team members of the five e-sports clubs of Yanzhou had influence comparable to the A-listers of Silver Wing, and every time they participated in large-scale competitions, these main team members would take the stage at the same time, so the influence they had was naturally even bigger.
Song Miao lamented, "The drama series that I was watching is going to have a break after today. I have to wait till February or March next year to catch the next episode."
"No choice, if it continues on like this, it will die out," Zu Wen said.
"Battle of the Century," which was about to be released, had captured most of the attention and popularity. Movies and online television had seen a decline since the start of the year. During July and August, there had been a sharp drop in viewership. If it continued on till September, many investors would be disappointed with the results. Hence, other than a few highly popular drama series, many other programs went into a rest period, giving way to "Battle of the Century."
"Yesterday in the chat group, I heard those from the film department mentioning that the gamer-actors, those dual profession celebrities, have been recalled by their clubs. Probably to prepare for the publicity that's to come," Rodney added in.
"Gamer-actors, dual profession celebrities?" Fang Zhao totally did not understand this.
"It means that they are actors and, at the same time, they are professional gamers too," Zu Wen explained.
Some gaming stars some would enter into showbiz as they played. For some, they would sign contracts after their prime and hold both professions. And there were some that were discovered when they were still schooling. After signing on with a company, the company would arrange for them to enter professional gaming competitions.
"All of them can be considered a form of investment by the company and have been lying in wait for the past couple of years just for this time. However, I feel that, even if the company manages to recall all these people back, it will not have much of an impact. Just recalling what happened ten years ago... Oh, right, Boss, ten years ago, you were still in secondary school, right? You probably didn't pay much attention to this," Zu Wen said.
Fang Zhao understood what Zu Wen said by "not much of an impact" on the second day.
The previous day, there had still been a number of movie and film stars appearing on the headlines of each major entertainment media's news, but today, all the trending news by the big media firms was dominated by news related to e-sports clubs.
With this widespread news coverage, movies and music both took a backseat.
The big e-sports clubs had all started preparations a year ago. They had declined invitations to all sorts of competitions, and even when they did participate, they only sent out their second-string or third-string players. They had handpicked gamers from all sort of genres and had focused on "Battle of the Century," training intensely for it. Some clubs were even rumored to have engaged a military school for a few months of military training. All the clubs had been in confined training, all for today, where they would remove the secrecy surrounding them.
When Fang Zhao was watching the entertainment news, he realized that of all the trending stars that appeared, 90 percent were from Yanzhou's big five e-sports clubs. A certain gaming superstar riding an automated car could also start trending.
And this was just the start.
Aug 26, Qi'an City's People's Stadium, the largest stadium in Yanzhou. One of Yanzhou's big five, Big Dipper e-Sports Club held a pre-battle pledging ceremony. A million fans went in person, and those unable to enter just stood directly outside the stadium.
Aug 27, At Qi'an's business center's highest building complex, at the "Jungle of Light" public square, Transcendental e-Sports Club held a pre-battle pledging ceremony, and vast crowds were present.
Aug 29, 2S e-Sports Club rented out Yanzhou's largest garden on a lake to hold its pre-battle pledging ceremony. The live broadcast nearly jammed from viewership.
Aug 30, BOOM e-Sports Club held their pre-battle pledging ceremony on the summit of Yanzhou's highest mountain. Photographers nearly froze.
Aug 31, HWR e-Sports Club held their pre-battle pledging ceremony on a virtual stage. Team captain Jess said, "We have the lowest profile," then proceeded to display a video of the team driving cars and motorbikes from the Old Era, causing fans to scream nonstop. A digital fan fainted from excitement and was sent to the hospital.
Although the game was to be officially released in October, during the entirety of September, the teams would all undergo adaptive training. To the business minded e-sports clubs, the battle had already started early.
September 1, 8 a.m., Fiery Bird released an official announcement. The "Battle of the Century" age restriction would be altered. From the original 16 years and above, it was raised to 18 and above. A clear-cut rule: People below 18 were prohibited from playing.
An hour after the announcement was released, several hundred seventeen year olds staged a sit-in outside the entrance of Fiery Bird's office, pressing Fiery Bird to lower the age restriction from 18 to 17. After that, their parents were called.
Fiery Bird's official spokesperson explained that protesting at the entrance would do no good. The limit had been set by the Electronic Competition Union in conjunction with other relevant departments for the good of everyone's physical and mental well-being.
Because of the internet, kids in the New Era matured faster. Smarter kids knew a lot. However, this did not mean that their mentalities were mature. One's outlook on the world, life, and values could be seriously influenced by small matters. Previously, Fiery Bird had set the age restriction as 16, but now, after some prudent consideration, they had determined it necessary to be raised. The game was too dangerous for minors.
Fang Zhao received a call from Su Hou early in the morning.
As he had not reached the age restriction, Su Hou could not play "Battle of the Century." Thus, he had called Fang Zhao to relieve some of his misery, and his motive was to borrow Curly Hair from Fang Zhao.
Su Hou had bought a few decent shepherd dogs and had hired a professional to specially train them. However, the results were not so good, so he wished to loan Curly Hair for a bit. Who knows, maybe with Curly Hair to spur them on, those dogs would learn faster. The same had happened back at Shanmu Farm.
Fang Zhao did not agree right away; he needed to consider first.
After ending the call with Su Hou, Fang Zhao called Curly Hair over.
"Do you want to head to a Muzhou farm to play? Su Hou called and wants to borrow you."
"Woof!" Curly Hair's tail wagging was extra jubilant, seeming like he was very excited.
He prefered carefree running on real grasslands. The house was a little too small; he had gotten used to running in fields. After returning to Qi'an, he had felt that there was too little space.
"Remember what I told you before. Make sure you guard the farm properly when you are over there."
"I'll get Su Hou to come fetch you."
Curly Hair frisked about happily in the house.
When Fang Zhao told Su Hou the news, Su Hou was very happy. He had been waiting for these words. "I will leave Muzhou and pick him up right away."
Suddenly, there was a new notification.
Fang Zhao gave Su Hou his address and said a little more before ending the call and checking the notification.
"Your express delivery is arriving. Please be ready to receive it."