Olympic Council of Asia announces details of esports programme for AIMAG in September ’17

The Olympic Council of Asia (“OCA”) has revealed details of the esports programme to run at the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (“AIMAG”) which will be held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in September 2017. 

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Ashgabat will play host to AIMAG 2017

The OCA has revealed that there will be four games played at the event – one from each of the MOBA, RTS, Card and Sports category. 

The titles have been revealed as follows: 

  • MOBA: Dota 2;
  • RTS: StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void;
  • Card: Hearthstone; 
  • Sports: FIFA or NBA (to be confirmed). 

The announcement reveals that the OCA has invited all 64 National Olympic Committees, 45 from Asia and 19 from Oceania to enter the esports competition. There will be a series of qualifying rounds which will produce the finalists ahead of AIMAG in September. 

The deadline for National Olympic Committees (“NOC”) to register their players before a June 10th deadline. It then suggests that from the list, each NOC can select no more than two players/teams for each game by June 30th. The chosen players will then take part in one of six regional qualifying competitions to be held from July 1-20th: East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, West Asia, South East Asia and Oceania. 

There will be 8 spots for Dota 2 teams and 16 spots for each of the individual tournaments. The national and regional rounds will be conducted online with competitors then coming together at the Ashgabat Olympic Complex to compete in the finals. Alisports and Duo Sport Group have been appointed by the OCA and the Asian eSports Federation to provide technical support for the competition. Invenglobal pointed out in their report that there’s no FPS title and no League of Legends – with Alisports and Tencent’s rivalry (from a business perspective) pinpointed as a potential reason.

One thing that’s important to consider here is the lack of success that team games have generally found when they are regimented by nationality. The Dota 2 tournament is unlikely to see the highest quality of play as teams, now more than ever, have a plethora of nationalities and thus would be ineligible to represent a single country. Add to that the fact that there’s a plethora of high level Dota 2 action and the qualifiers come in the run-up to The International 7.

The International 7’s prize-pool could be set to break $25,000,000 this year and thus it’s understandable that a team’s priority is firmly set on winning premium LAN tournaments rather than playing at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games. Simply put, most players don’t care about winning medals but more so prize money and competing on the global stage. Whilst there is substantial interest in Dota 2 in the Asian region, it is fairly unlikely that we see the best teams in the world compete in the AIMAG. Of course, it remains to be seen – and with registrations closing on the 10th June, we won’t have too long to wait.

Esports Insider says: Interesting stuff from the OCA. It’ll be interesting to see how this works and the calibre of competition out in Ashgabat. As aforementioned, team games that rely on the same nationalities don’t tend to breed the highest level of competition.