In a significant step towards mainstreaming competitive video-gaming, eSports will debut as a “demonstration sport” at the Asian Games—the world’s second largest multi-sport event after the Olympics—in Jakarta beginning August 18.
The result of a partnership between the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and Alisports, the sporting arm of tech giant Alibaba, the Games this year will feature multiple titles such as the League of Legends, Hearthstone and Pro Evolution Soccer. Mobile gaming titles Clash Royale and Arena of Valor will also be featured.
Globally, eSports, short for electronic sports, is a hot market, generating $655 million in revenue in 2017, and a global audience of about 335 million people. By 2020 the market revenue is set to touch $1.48 billion and global audience is projected to nearly double, according to research portal Statista.
This “rapid development” and “popularity” of the sport, especially among the youth, is what prompted the OCA to make this move. What’s more, at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, eSports will be an official medal event. Soon enough, an Olympic gold might beckon for online gamers.