Esports in the Olympics could be on its way to becoming a reality. In a report by China Daily, it was stated that a deal between Alisports and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has been struck which will see esports feature in the 2022 Asian Games.
The deal also means that it’ll feature in some form at other competitions including the 2017 Ashgabat Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah, President of the OCA stated: “We look forward to further collaboration with Alisports on digital sports concepts along with sporting events.”
Alisports, which is the sports focused arm of the Alibaba Group, signed a deal with Changzhou back in January. The terms of this were centred around a ‘strategic ten year partnership’ with the headline being that the city would play host to the World Electronic Sports Games (WESG) for the next five years. Changzhou is a large city in the Southeastern China and is fairly close to Shanghai.
There has been a vocal element that of the opinion that esports doesn’t need to feature in the Olympics, and its only ‘inclusion’ so far has been the eGames which didn’t get the best reception. Speaking to Mashable last year, Echo Fox CEO Jace Hall made the point that only certain titles could ever hope to work. He said: “Whatever the game is or games are, they have to be straight forward enough for the average person to pick up in the first minute of watching. You can’t just be entertaining to people who know what they’re looking at.”
Alisports has been committing serious money into esports generally, and specifically in Hangzhou, so this new plan shouldn’t be looked down upon. Moreover the involvement of the OCA doesn’t necessarily translate into a direct route into the Olympics proper for esports, but it could be seen as something of a testing ground.
Esports Insider says: The question is which esports titles will feature in the Hangzhou 2022 Games? This event is naturally geared towards an Asian audience first and foremost so we can presume that League and Dota will definitely play a part, but then this goes against Jace Hall’s point that only titles that are easy to understand for the uninitiated masses should feature in such competitions.