Esports have taken on a life of their own, and seem to be spreading across the globe like wildfire. The latest nod to their popularity comes from the 2018 Asian Games usually, an event that features traditional sports like tennis, swimming, and wrestling.
The Olympic Council of Asia announced last year that they were partnering with Ali sports to bring esports to the 2018 Asian Games, and this year, the Asian Esports Federation has confirmed which games will be featured in this much-anticipated event.
Esports fans can expect to see League of Legends, Starcraft II, Hearthstone, Pro Evolution Soccer, Clash Royale, and Arena of Valor.
What’s even better for the esports scene at large is that Clash Royale and Arena of Valor are mobile games, which don’t typically receive as much attention as the more established titles. But again, the winds of change seem to be blowing.
No Medals Just Yet
If you’re already getting hyped to watch your home team duke it out MOBA-style for the gold medal on such a prominent platform, you might want to hold your horses till 2022. Because this year’s Asian Games, taking place in Jakarta, Indonesia, only features the above-mentioned games as a demonstration sport—so no medals, and no actual competition.
Think of it as a trial run. But, it has been confirmed that the 2022 Asian Games will feature esports as a ‘full-medal’ event.
A Mobile Gaming Renaissance
When most people think of esports, titles like League of Legends and Starcraft are probably what they picture. These games have long-established fan followings and esports scenes that have been alive and thriving for decades, so this is hardly surprising.
What is surprising, though, is the appearance of mobile games on this roster. It speaks volumes for the popularity of mobile gaming in Asia. Both Clash of Clans and Arena of Valor have a huge (and growing) market share in this region, and the 2018 Asian Games certainly rolls out the red carpet for these two titles.
What’s more, all these titles have been specifically chosen for “adhering to a vision of promoting integrity, ethics, and fair play.” High praise when it comes from the President of the Asian Electronic Sports Federation, Kenneth Fok.
National teams for esports are relatively unheard of. Most pro teams are privately owned, and till now, there’s been no reason to form national teams. For the 2018 Asian Games, each country’s Olympic committee put together rosters, and qualifiers were held to determine which teams received invites to the main event.