Asian Games 2018: League of Legends dominates esports schedule, as survey shows most prefer video games to real football
Jakarta set for three days of League of Legends competition, while a UK survey shows the extent of popularity of esports and its status as a genuine sport
The schedule for the Asian Games e-sports demonstration events has been released while a survey in the United Kingdom shows that more than 70 per cent of people prefer to sit on their couches playing computer football than actually kicking a real ball on the field.
The Asian Games e-sports competition in Jakarta will take place from August 26 to September 1 and will feature six games, with League of Legends dominating the schedule by taking up three days.
The event starts with Arena of Valor followed by Clash Royale, League of Legends, StarCraft 2, Hearthstone and, finally, Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 (scroll down to see schedule).
Meanwhile, a survey of 1,000 fans who like gaming and football by British quad play internet service provider Plusnet last month shows an overwhelming preference for sofa games than real ones.
The respondents were 54 per cent male and 46 per cent female and 72 per cent of them said they prefer video games to playing for real.
In addition, 32 per cent said they were “better at playing video games than the real thing” while 31 per cent said video games allow them to “play as my favourite player”.
“Sports video games allow us to fantasise about being our favourite players, which means we also have the skills of our favourite players and athletes,” Andrew Selepak, professor of telecommunications at the University of Florida, was quoted as saying by Plusnet.
Whitney Meers, founder of video game marketing agency Platformer Marketing, adds: “I could not now, nor could I when I was younger, play like Messi, but on Fifa, not only can I play like him, I can be him.
“The barrier to entry is lower with video games. Even in the middle of the night, all you need is the console and the game to get started, not an entire team and access to a pitch.”
Esports has emerged as a billion-dollar industry worldwide with gamers such as South Korea’s League of Legends star “Faker” considered global celebrities.
Last week in London, Saudi Arabia’s Mosaad Aldossary beat Belgian Stefano Pinna 4-0 on aggregate in the two-legged Fifa eWorld Cup Grand Final to win the US$250,000 first prize.
Reports show that 7.6 million people in Europe have bought Fifa 18, the latest in the Fifa football game series, since it was released in September 2017. In England, Football Association data show that 6 million people aged five years and above play some kind of physical football every month.
The Plusnet survey also reveals that 49 per cent of respondents consider e-sports players to be bona fide athletes and 35 per cent say they appreciate the different skills of e-sports players and pro footballers.
Also, 56 per cent say they consider esports to be a genuine sport.
With esports being considered by the International Olympic Committee in the 2024 Games, Meers says there is too much money in the industry to ignore it.
“The bottom line is that it’s too lucrative an opportunity to miss,” said Meers. “It’s tough to imagine that a sports industry so popular with people from all over the world shouldn’t be included in the Olympics. As the world becomes more digital, it’s important to remember that as times change, our definition of sports does, too.”
Asian Games esports demonstration sport schedule
(Jakarta time: GMT+7)
August 26 – Arena of Valor: 10am to 9.30pm
August 27 – Clash Royale: 2pm to 9.30pm
August 27 – League of Legends: 9am to 2pm
August 28 – League of Legends: 10am to 9pm
August 29 – League of Legends: 1pm to 6pm
August 30 – StarCraft 2: 1pm to 7.30pm
August 31 – Hearthstone: 9am to 9pm
September 1 – Pro Evolution Soccer 2018: 10am to 9pm