Fans of esports may be seeing their favorite past-time taken to the Olympic stage as early as 2022, according to recent reports. In the world of professional gaming - which includes both passive Let's Play videos on YouTube and organized competitions around the world - esports has quickly become more than a passing fad. Defined as a form of competition facilitated by electronic systems - specifically video games - the sporting event has quickly taken the world by storm since its dawn in the early 2000s, with multi-player online battle arena titles like Dota 2 and League of Legends, and real-time strategy mega-hits such as StarCraft II, frequently taking center stage as wildly popular spectator events.
Even as online and offline competition has always been well organized and an active component in the world of video games and gaming culture, esports has seen a significant uptick in terms of popularity throughout the late 2000s and early 2010s. As a result, many professional gamers are receiving the kind of mainstream attention in the world of spectator sports primarily reserved for physical competition - a trend that may soon give rise to officially recognized Olympic esports events.
According to Compete, the 2022 Asia Games will make competitive video games an official medal sport for the first time ever, per an official announcement made by the Olympic Council of Asia. Before that, however, esports will be tested as a competitive event of Olympic caliber at the upcoming Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, where FIFA 17 is already a confirmed title. In addition, the Olympic Council of Asia has announced a partnership with the Chinese sports internet company Alisports - a company that previously invested $150 million to the International esports Federation, an organization committed to getting esports recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
All of this would lay the groundwork for esports to become an official Olympic event on the world stage, and Alisports obviously wants to be a big part of that movement towards worldwide recognition of esports as a competitive spectator sport. Furthermore, considering the fact that rifle shooting, skateboarding, and sport climbing have all been officially added to the 2020 Olympics, esports' chances may not be all that far fetched.
Fans of esports would undoubtedly be excited to watch one of their favorite past-times make it all the way to the world stage by way of becoming an Olympic event. For now, all eyes will be looking forward towards the upcoming 2022 Asia Games held in Hangzhou, China - in addition to a preview event serving as a run-up to its official inclusion at the 2018 Asia Games in Indonesia.