The competition which is to be held in Hangzhou will feature E-sports as a competitive event, for the first time in its history.
This comes as the E-sports popularity is at an all-time high, something the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) wants to capitalize on. The OCA released a statement saying the decision is a result of the “”the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation”. For this new venture, the OCA has partnered with the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba, who have a sports wing called Alisports.
According to E=sports analysts Newzoo, E-sports is estimated to have a global audience of around 320 million people. As the audience has grown, so have the revenues generated, with 2016 revenues being estimated at $493m (£400m). This is expected to grow to a whopping $696m (£553m) in 2017. Professional gamers can earn massive amounts of money, with the winners of the League of Legends tournament, the gaming equivalent of the football world cup, earning close to $1m in prize money.
The 2018 Asian games in Jakarta will feature competitive gaming as a demo sport, with the 2022 games being the year it officially debuts as a medal winning sport.