Six eSports have been chosen by the International Olympic Committee to be played at this year’s Asian Games. They will be played as a demonstration sport for what is considered the second-largest multi-sport competition in the world. The 2018 Asian Games will be held in Jakarta, Indonesia’s Capital, and Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra province in Indonesia.
The six eSports to be played include League of Legends, Hearthstone, Starcraft II, Pro Evolution Soccer, Clash Royale, and Arena of Valor. The games chosen are reflective of trends in eSports in the Asian regions. So some major eSport titles like Counter Strike: Global Offensive that are not as popular in Asia as in western regions will not be included. Clash Royale and Arena of Valor are both mobile games, and mobile culture is huge in places like China. Arena of Valor (known as Honor of Kings in China) having its own league, stars, and an upcoming TV show. Clash Royale recently launched professional leagues for various regions including China, which includes big eSports teams like LGD, EDG, and Gen.G. Riot Games eSports has stated they will be advising the Olympic Council of Asia on the selection of teams competing and the tournament layout for League of Legends. Jarred Kennedy, co-head of Riot eSports had this to say about League of Legends inclusion in the games:
“We’re honored that League of Legends was selected for the Asian Games. Representing one’s country at the Olympics is a dream for athletes around the world, and with this step, that dream is one step closer to reality for the best in our sport. We admire and respect the values of the Olympic movement and look forward to supporting the Olympic Council of Asia in making this competition a success.”
The Olympic Council of Asia has a partnership with Alisports, the Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba’s sporting subsidiary. This partnership has worked to get eSports into the 2018 and 2022 Asian games. The International Olympic Committee stated only games that were not violent and gory could be considered for the competition. The eSports will be demonstration sports, meaning they are played only for the purpose of promotion. No medals will be won by competing eSports teams this year, but it is confirmed in the 2022 games that this will be a full medal event. Even though this is sanctioned by the International Olympic Committee, the inclusion does not mean we can expect to see eSports in any upcoming Summer Olympic Games, but it’s a start!
Will this help eSports grow globally? Let us know what you think in the comments!