Thumbs-up for electronic sports at the 2022 Asian Games

Asian Games organisers' decision to allow esports follows collaboration with Alisports, the sports arm of Chinese online retail giant Alibaba.

There will be an outbreak of manboobs and failed social interactions among the confident elite athletes at the 2022 Asian Games, as the event is set to award medals in a variety of esports for the first time.

ESports was first included in the 2007 Asian Indoor Games, consisted of only three official games for competitions: Federation Internationale de Football Association 2007, NBA Live 2007, and Need for Speed: Most Wanted.

Hope Corrigan is a freelance news writer for IGN.

A statement from the OCA says competitive gaming will be a demonstration sport at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in September and again at the Asian Games 2018.

I get eSports is a thing and it's got a tremendous following but c'mon, full-fledged medal status? As such, the OCA has mentioned that it will look forward to more digital sport additions from Alisports. They've already partnered with the global e-Sports Federation, known as the IESF, and are known as the hosts of the World Electronic Sports Games, which is a multi-game tournament that pays out $5.5m in prize money.

The alliance with Alibaba (more specifically, its sporting arm Alisports) may come as no surprise to those who have been following the growth of e-sports as a year ago, the company announced plans to invest up to $150m in this arena, including $5.5m towards the building of e-sport stadiums in China. That Alibaba signed an 11-year deal to be a leading sponsor of the summer and winter Olympics thought to be worth more than $1bn is interesting, too.

But the path to be included as an Olympic sport is notoriously hard.

It is a monumental moment in the young life of esports.

Esports generated $493 million in revenue from merchandising, media rights, event tickets, and other channels in 2016, according to research firm Newzoo and attracted an audience of 323 million, with over half those fans from Asia.

Vanessa Coleman