Olympics the ultimate goal for e-sports as Asian Games debut in Indonesia approaches, says Hong Kong official
Kenneth Fok pays tribute to the movement’s development at the city’s qualifying competition
The introduction of e-sports to the Asian Games this summer could be its stepping stone to the Olympic Games, according to a top Asian e-sports official.
Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, president of the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) and one of the vice presidents of the Hong Kong Olympic Committee, paid tribute to the development of e-sports at the city’s ongoing Asian Games qualification competition.
“E-sports is going strong and fast and is not like computer games before, which were mainly for leisure,” Fok said.
“We have now developed a set of competition rules with specific equipment to play in designated venues.
“E-sports also requires quick reflexes and reactions, strategies and intelligence like traditional sports and it’s not only played by an individual on his own but requires team work.
“It’s a big step forward for e-sports to be competing in the Asian Games in Indonesia this summer before becoming an official sport at the next Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2022.
“But we won’t stop there. Our long-term goal is to promote e-sports so that it can appear at the Olympic Games one day.”
Fok said e-sports could also help promote the Olympic movement through its core values of green, healthy and fair play.
“Traditional sports games need electronic sports as much as e-sports need multi-sport games. It’s reciprocal and can work for both,” he said.
Last year at the sixth Olympic summit in Lausanne, the IOC recognised e-sports could provide a platform for engagement within the Olympic movement.
They also noted competitive e-sports could be considered as a sporting activity on the basis that the players involved prepare and train with an intensity comparable to athletes in traditional sports.
There will be another summit between the IOC and e-sports bodies next month. E-sports will be featured in this year’s Games in Indonesia as a demonstration programme with six games chosen: League of Legends, PES 2018, Clash Royale, Hearthstone, Arena of Valour (AOV) and StarCraft.
There are 27 nations and more than 300 players in the qualifiers and the East Asian zone qualification in Hong Kong is being held for three events – League of Legends, Clash Royale and AOV.
No result will be released until the completion of other qualifiers in Ho Chi Minh City and Changzhou.
Hong Kong hopeful Ho Ho-nam says e-sports’ inclusion in the Asian Games gives it a positive image.
“We are now in the Asian Games which means our effort has been recognised. It also lets other people know e-sports is very professional, just like many other traditional sports,” he said.