from the go-for-the-gold dept
While we’ve continued to cover the rise of esports as an emerging force in the competitive games marketplace, the rise in popularity and adoption of it have started to grow exponentially. Some of this has to do with the COVID-19 pandemic, with esports first taking the place of shut-down IRL sporting events and then cementing its position as a viewing spectacle almost perfectly designed to be consumed from home. But the fact is that the growth and rise of esports was occurring prior to the pandemic and was always going to continue its rise, with professional sports organizations jumping on board, and major marketing and apparel players in the sports world jumping in as well.
But one major milestone that has eluded esports thus far has been to be included in major regional and international competitions. The Olympics, for instance, has reportedly considered adding esports to its games, but previously there has been a lot of shade thrown on the topic by IOC officials as well. That’s why it’s somewhat notable that the Asian Games in 2022 will feature esports as a medal event.
Organisers of the Asian Games that are expected to commence in Hangzhou, China in 2022 have announced that they will make esports as an official medal event, marking a historic moment in the field of competitive gaming.
In case you were wondering that such an inclusion happened all of a sudden, it actually wasn’t. In the previous Asian Games that were held in Jakarta in 2018, esports was included as a demonstration sport, featuring competition between six popular games — Arena of Valor, Hearthstone, League of Legends, StarCraft II, Clash Royale and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018. At this event, China claimed two gold medals while Indonesia, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong took one gold medal each.
In other words, while esports have had events in the Asian Games previously, this is essentially the codification for their inclusion by making them official medal events. This is notable in that the Olympics tends to incorporate the trend lines for what games to include from these smaller, regional international competitions. Does that mean we’ll definitely see an Olympic medal esports event in 2024? No, not definitely.
But the smart money would certainly be on seeing such events in the Olympics eventually, and likely in the near term, given the rising popularity of esports.
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