It is the moment many esports lovers have been waiting for. The Olympics Council of Asia (OCA) has officially announced that the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, will feature 8 esports titles with Dota 2 as one of them. The other titles are League of Legends, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, Arena of Valor Asian Games Version, Hearthstone, Street Fighter V, EA SPORTS FIFA branded soccer games and PUBG Mobile Asian Games Version. This means this is the first time esports will be included as official medal events in the games scheduled to run from September 10 - 25 next year. This is inspiring news, especially for esports lovers and according to bookmakers, the question is now when we will see these events officially as a medal event in an Olympic.
The timely announcement that Dota 2 and other esports will be medal events at the forthcoming Asian Games gives time for teams to prepare adequately ahead of the upcoming qualifiers. The announcement is likely to trigger excitement in the gaming community, as enthusiastic fans await to experience the high levels of adrenaline and competition associated with such events. The official announcement will further boost the increase in popularity, which esports has enjoyed in the last couple of years.
During the 2018 Asian Games, five video games, namely the Arena of Valor, StarCraft II, League of Legends, Clash Royale , and Pro Evolution Soccer 2018, were featured. Esports made its debut as a demonstration event during the 2018 Southeast Asian (SEA) games sanctioned by the International Olympics Committee in Indonesia. They will also be a medal event during the 2021 SEA Games in Hanoi, Vietnam, which have been postponed till 2022 due to coronavirus. During the last year's event in Muscat Oman, the Philippines won 5 medals (3gold, 2 silver), Thailand 4 medals (2 gold, 2 silver), Malaysia 2 medals (1 gold, 1 silver), Indonesia 2 silver, Singapore 2 medals (1gold, 1 silver) and Vietnam 3 bronze.
The introduction of esports games such as Dota 2 and League of Legends in the International Olympics Committee sanctioned Asian Games as medal events goes to show their increase in popularity and growth in Asia. This popularity is expected to reverberate to other parts of the world. By them in such a prestigious sporting event, it is also hoped the games will gain a worldwide audience and attract a wide range of players after suffering years of isolation. It also appreciates esports as a niche event, which requires training, passion, teamwork, mental strength, and physical resilience as other traditional sports. This recognition comes in line with the booming of the esports industry, which has huge economic potential. The IOC also recognizes that esports is rapidly gaining popularity among the youth, thus fostering and encouraging it. The event's success may also be key in lobbying for the games to be included as a medal event at future Olympics.