The Olympic Council of Asia has announced that esports will be added to the 2022 Asian Games in China. In an ongoing effort to make professional video gaming an official Olympic event China’s Alibaba Group has invested heavily in the sport and has advocated for its inclusion in the Asian Games. It won’t be until 2022 that esports will be added to the official program for the games but demonstrations at a few other major sporting events will be occurring sooner.
The Asian Games are a pancontinental sporting competition for countries in Asia. They started in 1951 and have been going strong ever since every four years. Events typically include soccer, baseball, cycling, various martial arts, basketball and in future events, esports.
A statement from the Olympic Council of Asia on Monday explained the decision to include the new event as being due to, "the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth." Esports won’t be an official event in which participants can earn medals until 2022 but it will be included in the games for the first time in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia as a demonstration sport.
In September esports will also be included as a demonstration sport by the Olympic Council of Asia at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan. Alisports, a unit of China’s Alibaba Group, have partnered with the OCA to bring esports to the official pancontinental competition. The group's dedication to the up and coming sport has included investing $150 million in the International e-Sports Federation.
Other events will be joining the Asian Games for the first time in Indonesia next year such as surfing, martial art sports, skateboarding, card sports, sport climbing and mechanical sports. The OCA appears to be open to including new events that will appeal to a new generation of athletes and sport spectators. What actual video games will be included in the 2022 Asian Games have not been decided but FIFA 2017, MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) and RTA (Real Time Attack) gaming types are being considered.
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