The presence of esports was confirmed in the 2022 Asian Games, eliminating the fear that hovered over the heads of fans since 2019, when the schedule was first released. It seems that esports is finally getting some real attention from organizing committees due to both its undeniable success and the consequences of the recent pandemic over traditional sports.
Why is Esports Part of the Asian Games?
Asia is the continent with the largest audience of fans and players of esports, according to Niko. Therefore, it is no surprise that the Asian Games of 2022 in Hangzhou will feature it as a medal event.
In fact, most esports fans were waiting for that confirmation, as the 2018 Asian Games already had esports as a demonstration event in Jakarta. Back then, six electronic games had their debut:
- Arena of Valor
- Clash Royale
- League of Legends
- Pro Evolution Soccer 2018
- StarCraft II
Also, the 2019’s Southeast Asian Games, held in the Philippines, featured esports as a medal sport. That said, it is clear that esports did not get a seat among the Asian Games overnight. It took a couple of years, but esports is slowly establishing a growing pace.
About the 2022 Asian Games
The event held in Hangzhou officially announced a total of 40 official sports. It is expected to take place between September 10 and 25. By then, the unpleasant consequences and limitations of the pandemic must have stopped major events from happening.
Is Esports to Debut in the Olympic Games?
Just as players and fans had to wait until now to discover about the 2022 Asian Games, they might be surprised with the news of its addition of esports to the Olympic Games. According to Wire Sports, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, declared that esports should be taken seriously with urgency.
At first, however, it seems that the IOC (International Olympics Committee) is only interested in evaluating the potential of electronic games based on traditional sports, especially soccer.
There is a large number of other genres, including first-person shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Multiplayer Online Battle Arena games like League of Legends. Being a committee that took quite long to at least consider the possibility of adding esports, the IOC might need some more time to understand the relevance of other genres.
What Does the Sports World Reserve For Esports?
The next Asian Games will most probably continue to feature esports and add new games to their schedule. The future ones, like those held in Japan (2024) and Doha (2030), should not back out with the new medal event.
As for the Olympic Games, titles like FIFA, NBA 2K, and Pro Evolution Soccer might be the first ones to grab a seat among the events. Although esports fans and players still do not have any sign of them being added, it is clear that the greatest sporting event cannot continue to ignore them.