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Asian Games 2018

Asian Games: e-sports event gets under way in Indonesia as global sport takes a step into the unknown

E-sport’s future could be shaped by the success of the test event in Jakarta this week

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 26 August, 2018, 5:45pm
UPDATED : Monday, 27 August, 2018, 10:43am

Multi-sport events officially entered a new era on Sunday with the start of the e-sports demonstration event at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia.

The five-day test event kicks off with Arena of Valor, a mobile phone game developed by Chinese tech giant Tencent, the first of six titles being exhibited in front of a potential 5,000-capacity audience at the Britama Arena in Jakarta.

As a test event, medals won during the competition will not count towards the final medals tally.

E-sports will be included as a full medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, and could well be included as a test event at the 2024 Paris Olympics. A successful trial run this week in Jakarta would help its cause immeasurably.

Participants from 18 nations will compete at six different video game titles including Pro Evolution Soccer and League of Legends.

A total of 185 gamers will display their skills in titles chosen by the Hong Kong-headquartered regional governing body of the sport, the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF).

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E-sports was only afforded sport status by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in November last year, but the potential global appeal encouraged the governing body to quickly put the wheels in motion to have it showcased in the Indonesia programme as an Alibaba-sponsored exhibition event.

Hong Kong’s Kenneth Fok, the president of the Asian E-Sports Federation, is bullish about the future of e-sports as the IOC aims to attract a younger audience.

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“AESF’s goal will be trying to help put e-sports in the Olympics and on the bigger Olympic stage,” Fok told Reuters on Saturday.

“Now we take it through the Asian Games to a more mainstream, main stage. I think that is a very important deal. It’s an important step towards being accepted by society and also being accepted by the Olympic movement.”

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