The Asian Games ignite the Olympic dream of eSports
The inclusion of e-sports as an official competition for the first time in the Asian Games this month constituted the first foundation for subsequent steps that fans of these games hope will be established through their recognition and adoption in the Olympics.
E-sports were included for the first time in the Asian Games in 2018 as an exhibition competition, but this reality will change in the current edition of the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, where the winners will crown their necks with medals, in addition to regional glory in 7 different games. Such as “PUBG”, “Dota 2”, and “Street Fighter”.
Mayank Prajapati, India’s hope of winning a medal in the game “Street Fighter”, believes that the Asian Games, which begin on September 23 and continue until October 8, will determine the extent of his development and that of electronic sports.
Prajapati, 33, remembers how his father would beat him because he would sneak out of the house to play video games.
He said: “I played for the first time in the late 1990s on a machine in a market with the two rupees I had.”
He continued: “This was my first experience with the game (Street Fighter) and I fell in love with it. I became addicted to it, and I would often lie to my parents and tell them: I will go to study, but I would spend hours playing.”
Prajapati, a 3D designer, recalls how his father once tracked him down at night and discovered him playing video games, surrounded by six happy children.
“I was scolded severely… I think I was beaten,” he said, laughing. He is now the father of a two-year-old son.
Prajapati’s story sounds familiar to many.
For his part, Kim Gwan-woo, 41, who will represent South Korea in the “Street Fighter” game, told Agence France-Presse in Seoul: “My parents hate me when I play video games,” stressing that they are still “hesitant” about his participation in the Games. Asian.
He continued: “I think they will be very happy if I actually win a medal.”
South Korea, along with host China, are expected to be the dominant forces in esports competitions during the current edition of the Asian Games.
E-sports events at the games are expected to see large crowds at the state-of-the-art Hangzhou E-Sports Center, a far cry from the dingy arcade venues where players used to sneak out against their parents’ wishes.
“Including it in the Asian Games is a milestone for e-sports in its quest to be recognized as a real sport,” said Professor Kang of Shingu College, who was one of the first generation of professional players under the pseudonym “HOT Forever,” in an interview with Agence France-Presse.
He continued: “When I was a gamer in the late nineties, the initial reaction was: Why are video games shown on TV?”
He added: “But with the hard work done by the players and the technical staff, I think we have reached approximately 90 percent of becoming a real sport.”
On the other hand, Lokesh Suji, Vice President of the Asian Electronic Sports Confederation, described the Asian Games as a milestone towards a greater goal.
“The dream will finally come true once it is included in the Olympic Games, as a sport in which the winners can get medals,” said Soji, who is also the director of the E-Sports Federation of India.
Despite all these tremendous steps, the Olympic dream does not seem to be achieved in the near future, and certainly not before the Paris Olympics next year.
For its part, the International Olympic Committee is keen to attract younger audiences, so it included break dancing competition for the first time in the Paris Games.
But although the International Olympic Committee officially recognized eSports as a sport in 2017, there is currently no plan to include it in the Olympic program. One hurdle is the type of games to be included, because promoting violence goes against Olympic values, so this would immediately exclude some of the most popular eSports games.
Although the Olympic dream is still far away at the present time, practitioners of these games confirm that the inclusion of e-sports in the Asian Games has already led to a radical change in attitudes.
They hope that the success of e-sports over the next month in Hangzhou will attract more fans, players and recognition.
Sanindia Malik (21 years old), who participates in the Indian team in the “League of Legends” game, used to pretend that he was studying on his computer, while in reality he was participating in online games.
He said: “Sometimes during the tournament, I had to hide from my parents so that they would not know what was really happening, and so that I could play.”
He continued: “But after I was chosen to represent India, my parents noticed the appreciation that this game could give me.”
He concluded: “Even my relatives and friends who had previously questioned the length of time I was serving congratulated me, and this is a good feeling.”