While competitive gaming has been around for decades, the past half decade or so has turned it into a video game and media phenomenon. And today, esports has taken another big step towards becoming more mainstream as the Olympic Council of Asia has announced a partnership with Alisports, a subsidiary of Chinese online retail giant Alibaba, to bring esports to the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
The OCA President, HE Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah said in a statement:
The Olympic Council of Asia has constantly been committed to the heritage, development and improvement of Asian sports, and we are extremely pleased about the strategic partnership with Alisports. We look forward to further collaboration with Alisports in regards to digital sports concepts along with sporting events. We are sure that the extensive organising capabilities of Alisports, and their experience in e-sports, will assist the OCA in developing all sports.
Before the 2022 Asian Games, OCA is already featuring esports as part of the programs for the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, in September of this year as well as the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, next year. During both events, esports will be presented only as a demonstration sport but at the 2022 Asian Games it will be an official medal sport.