Competitive gaming took a great stride towards parity with their non-digital counterparts with the announcement that eSports will be hosted as a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games for the first time.
Competitive gaming has featured at such events in the past as a demonstration sport, and will do so again at the more imminent 2018 Asian Games, but 2022 will mark the first time that medals are awarded to winners.
Featured games have yet to be announced, but given the success of Tencent's League of Legends-esque MOBA Honor of Kings, mobile games could well have a part to play.
And so, to discuss this landmark moment for eSports, we called upon our expert panel of Mobile Mavens. We asked them:
- Is the presence of eSports at the 2022 Asian games a significant step towards mainstream acceptance?
- Do you predict that by 2022, mobile will have a significant role to play in this?
This is truly awesome news and definitely a sign of broad acceptance of eSports going into the mainstream.
It's no surprise that the Asian Games are the first mover, considering how popular eSports have been in the area for a long time now.
France made significant steps in this direction last year by recognising eSports as a sport - largely to avoid being classified as gambling which would have killed the scene - and creating our own eSports association.
The role of mobile is harder to predict. I'd say (hope!) that by 2022 mobile eSports will definitely have taken off, but perhaps the lead time required to organise the Asian games and set up qualifying rounds won't be enough for a mobile game entrant.
ESports is really becoming more mature. I hear mumblings of big investors and sports organisations actively looking to enter eSports in the USA and other parts of the world.
It makes complete sense that eSports are coming to the 2022 Asian Games, but what games will it be?
League of Legends, Dota 2, StarCraft 2 and CS:GO are the most popular eSports games, but will they be by 2022?Jared Steffes
League of Legends, Dota 2, StarCraft 2 and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are the most popular eSports games, but will they be by 2022?
It has become clear that Overwatch is a world phenomenon and the characters in the game are very progressive.
The game is also growing in Asian countries. CS:GO will likely not be used because the teams represent terrorist and counter-terrorist. That makes it difficult to find sponsors comfortable with the event.
I believe there will be a chance for a mobile game at the 2022 Asian Games.
The game will have to remove much of the element of randomness and have all players start at the same level. A game like Clash Royale would need to have both players' keeps and towers at the same level and make all cards balanced at the appropriate level.
Games that have a level progression from one on are more attractive for eSports because they require high skill to out level/farm the other player.
Another unknown is the chance for a VR game.
Oscar Clark has been a pioneer in online, mobile, and console social games services since 1998. He is also author of the book, Games As A Service – How Free To Play Design Can Make Better Games.
Wow! We have come a long way since my first taste of eSport with Quakadelica (organised by James Kaye whist we were at BT) in the Ministry of Sound back in 1998.
The scene has matured profoundly since that time, of course, with massive crowds filling stadiums to watch live matches.
Bringing this to the 2022 Asian Games is an amazing recognition of that progress especially in the region which has wholeheartedly adopted the format.
I suspect, though, that this is just the start of the journey for us in the West. We have been slower at adopting the viewing of game players than in Asia, but it is now being taken seriously by sponsors and some broadcasters.
There will be more to come I'm sure, especially when you see a game like Clash Royale beating the top eSports games for an audience-voted BAFTA award.
Interesting times to come.
Asia has pioneered the whole eSports phenomenon and is still the only region where you can talk about real mainstream acceptance.
Mobile gaming is going to be absolutely crucial to the increasing acceptance of eSports in the West.Brian Baglow
Here in the UK, across the whole of the creative industries, I still run into people who have never come across Twitch and to whom the idea of playing games 'professionally' is utterly incomprehensible.
The inclusion within the Asian Games will be an enormous validation for the eSports world as a whole, but for a lot of regions around the world it's unlikely to accelerate the adoption of competitive pro gaming by the mainstream.
Mobile gaming is going to be absolutely crucial to the increasing acceptance of eSports in the West, especially the UK.
I suspect the first 'mainstream' eSports winners to gain recognition will be playing titles which are not considered 'real' games, but something like Bingo or Poker.
That should cheer the proper gamers right up!