Esports have been officially included as a sports at the 19th Asian Games of 2022 which will take place in Hangzhou, China from 10-25 September. The 39th General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) have announced that break dance and esports have been approved for inclusion in the Hangzhou Asian Games of 2022.
According to the announcement, eSports will join the “intellectual headlines” of the event alongside chess. The titles of the official games to be played during the event were not disclosed. At the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta, Indonesia, five eSports were included as demonstration titles: League of Legends, Arena of Valor, Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, StarCraft II, Hearthstone, and Clash Royale.
“The Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) is excited to officially announce that esports will be featured as a medal sport in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. This development means all medals won under the esports category count directly into a country?s overall tally in the medal standings” the Federation announced in a statement.
Although China won two gold medals at the 2018 Asian Games, representatives of the dragon country were unable to broadcast the event live due to a legal injunction from the National Radio and Television Administration. of the Chinese government which, since 2005, has not allowed eSports to be broadcast on state TV. Given that the 2022 Asian Games will be hosted in Hangzhou, the injunction will likely be lifted.
The gamer community was expecting the incorporation of esports as a sporting event in the Hangzhou Games after the Asian Olympic Council (OCA) announced in 2017 a partnership with Alibaba’s sports division, Alisports. “The announcement whilst welcomed isn?t a surprising one. Esports has been featured in a multi-sports event since making its debut in 2017 at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. At the Asian Games in 2018, esports made its Asian Games debut by featuring six game titles in Jakarta. But the journey was not without a hitch. The Asian Electronic Sports Federation, made up of members from 45 countries and regions, said it welcomes the latest development”.
“This achievement is a step in the right direction as the esports community has worked hard in recent years not only to bring esports into the main spotlight, but also to bring them closer to the biggest stage of all, the Olympics,” the group announced in a statement. The addition of esports to the Hangzhou schedule, along with breakdance, brings the number of official sports in the 2022 event to 40. But while breakdance recently won a spot for the Paris 2024 Olympics, the future of esports in the event overall athleticism is not so clear.
The International Olympic Committee said it “sees great potential” in eSports that simulate traditional sports, as some esports tournaments are based on real sports simulation games such as FIFA, NBA 2K and Pro Evolution Soccer, most esports leagues are played on other genres such as first-person shooter, fighting games and multiplayer online battle arena ( MOBA). The Hangzhou Asian Games are expected to take place between September 10-25, 2022. Nagoya, Japan, will host them in 2024 while Doha, Qatar, won hosting rights for 2030 on Wednesday.