It looks like esports is now being recognised as a serious sport, as the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) is planning to make it a medal event during the 2022 Asian Games in China. There are already several games planned to be used for the event, including "FIFA 2017."
According to a report from CNET, a unit of China's Alibaba Group called Alisports is partnering with the OCA to bring esports to the Asian Games. It will debut next year in the Asian Games in Indonesia as a "demonstration sport."
OCA said in a statement that their decision to bring esports to the games shows "the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth." Participation for esports is expected to reach 191 million people worldwide by the end of 2017, showing how popular it's becoming.
The report said that the industry is currently worth $450 million, but it's expected to grow to $1 billion by 2019. Alibaba's interest in the industry is not new, as the company already invested $150 million last year in the International e-Sports Federation. The company also organised a worldwide tournament and offered a prize pool of more than $5.5 million.
GameRant reports that esports will officially be included in the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia during a demonstration event. There will also be a demonstration held at September's Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
The report said that the OCA mentioned "FIFA 17" as one of the games that would be included in the competition. MOBA games and RTS games like "League of Legends," "Starcraft 2," and "Dota 2" could possibly be included as well.
OCA, though, would first need to work on deals with the games' developers like Blizzard, Riot, and Valve to allow them to be used for the 2022 Asian Games. Check out one of the most iconic moments in esports history during the "Dota 2" TI6 tournament in the video below.