Good news for China’s elite gamers. The United States has officially recognised professional video gaming as a sport, enabling pro-gamers to travel to the US on the same visas as professional athletes.
The decision affects players of League of Legends, a multiplayer online game produced by Riot Games. After a lengthy negotiation between Riot Games and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, it was announced on 14 July that competitive League of Legends players will be eligible for the P-1A Internationally Recognised Athlete visa – the same visa given to athletes travelling to the US for competitions.
Chinese League of Legends players reacted enthusiastically on Sina Weibo to the news, which went viral and received thousands of comments. Many were excited for a chance to compete professionally in the US and even join US teams, while others joked that they were going to start playing the game in order to obtain Green Cards.
The American P-1A visa is awarded to those “participating in [an] individual event, competition or performance in which [they] are internationally recognised with a high level of achievement.” Pro-gamers will be able to reside in the US for up to five years so long as they are competing in gaming competitions.
League of Legends is insanely popular in China. In February we wrote about a League of Legends-themed (though not necessarily licensed) restaurant which opened for gamers in Chongqing.
[Image credit: IBTimes]