By Liu Yang and Oliver Trust
STUTTGART, Germany, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- The Mercedes Benz museum in Stuttgart seems the perfect choice to get deep into the soul of e-sports as it stands for a car manufacturer counting on preciseness, efficiency, liability, and innovation. Liu Shiyu seems to feel comfortable in an environment that can be seen as a paradise for car enthusiasts as the 23-year-old, known to his fans as "Mlxg," is an e-sports legend.
The Chinese youngster also regards himself as one of his sports ambassadors promoting the 2019 League of Legends (LoL) World Championship taking place in Europe. The group stage will be played in the Berlin Verti Music Hall from October 12 to 20, followed by a semifinal in Paris and final in Madrid with Mercedes China as a vital sponsor.
The former top performer might have retired at the age of 23, but hasn't lost his passion for a genre he sees on the same level as traditional sports. "We share many common features with traditional sports like fair competition, teamwork, mentality, and the most important its popularity," Liu told Xinhua in a recent interview.
The 2018 version of LoL might speak for e-sports popularity, as 99.6 million viewers attended it.
In 2022, e-sports will be part of the Asian Games with hopes aside to one day be part of the Olympic movement.
Lui is outing himself as a gourmet, having chosen a nick-name hinting at his desire for traditional Chinese food. Mlxg stands as an acronym for Ma La Xiang Guo, a Sichuan dish.
The Chinese is convinced e-sports will continue its progress and gain a growing number of participants as parents seem to meet their youngsters' desire with more openness.
It took a while for him to convince his parents. "When I became a professional player, they saw me in the news and live broadcasts more frequently and started to accept my passion," he said.
Mlxg doesn't see significant problems to combine school and education issues with e-sports training efforts and tournaments. To compete at an early age is supporting young people's development despite the enormous number of hours e-sport athletes have to spend in front of a computer. Tournaments usually take around five hours.
Young people love confrontational games, and e-sports is delivering the opportunity "as you don't need a huge stadium or good weather but only a computer."
Having retired at the age of 23 might sound strange at first sight, but Mlxg rates the "golden age" for e-sports between 18 and 22. "Some players can compete until 28 if they keep good form and experience," he commented.
The upcoming world tour pulls his attraction from the fact that different teams of all regions over the world meet for competition and get to know diverting strategies and tactics.
He says he can't name a favorite for this year's competition as the outcome is highly depending on "the performance on match day." European teams recently have caught up to a top-level and China's LPL has adopted the competition system of home and away courts.
"The teams fight for their cities and have more value of the cities symbol and spirit, just like NBA or other traditional sports," Liu underlined.
So, what is next for a retired e-sports legend? Mlxg intends to spend more time with his family and travel to explore new places in China and around the world. Maybe most notably, the "foodie" is in progress to open a restaurant of his own someday.