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Thumbs-up for electronic sports at the 2022 Asian Games

19 April 2017

According to Fox Sports, the Olympic Council of Asia confirmed this week it would bring competitive video gaming to the 19th edition of the Asian Games, which are the second largest multi-sport event in the world after the Olympics themselves.

The list of games that will be included in the 2022 competition hasn't been revealed.

Gamers at AIMAG will compete in Federation Internationale de Football Association 2017, MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) and RTA (real time attack) games.

Alisports, the sports wing of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and the Olympic Council of Asia announced a strategic partnership on Monday in Hangzhou, to bring the fast-developing e-sports or electronic sports to the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games. They also partnered with the worldwide eSports Federation to bring the World Electronic Sports Games, a $5.5 million esports tournament. 10,000 athletes participated at the most recent Asian Games in 2014. The OCA divides Asia into six regions: West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, South East Asia, East Asia and Oceania (only for AIMAG).

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The six regions will each provide eight qualifiers - two in each game - for the final tournament in Ashgabat, where they will be joined by four Turkmen players to take the field to 52 players.

In 2016, the International Olympic Committee permitted an esports event to be run in parallel to the Rio Games, known as the eGames. "It's stagnated and it's necessary to re-energise the sports programme". Incidentally, Hangzhou - considered to be China's e-commerce capital - is also the home to Alisports, which is one of the biggest e-sports promoters. It remains to be seen, but the idea is contentious, with many arguing that the increased profile from having esports as part of an olympic event is good for broader recognition, but could damage esports unique appeal. Alibaba have committed $150 million to the development of e-sports to help its Olympic push.

It means Changzhou will remain the home of the World Electronics Sports Games (WESG), which Alibaba launched a year ago, for the foreseeable future.

Thumbs-up for electronic sports at the 2022 Asian Games