The Hangzhou Asian Games are set to begin on September 23rd, and e-sports will be included in the event. As a result, the game industry is also paying close attention to the Asian Games. However, upon closer examination of the seven e-sports events, one can see the China's selfishness. From the perspective of the gaming and e-sports industry, this Asian Games is a historic event, but it's important to highlight this issue.
The Hangzhou Asian Games are scheduled to take place in Hangzhou, China, from September 23rd to October 8th. It will be the first Asian Games in which e-sports will participate as an official event. E-sports players representing their respective countries will have the opportunity to present gold, silver, or bronze medals to their homelands. The Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee is working in conjunction with the Asian e-Sports Federation (AESF) to prepare for the e-sports events.
As this is a historically significant event, the selection of official games for the Asian Games is very important. The chosen games are 'Arena of Valor', 'Dota 2', 'Dream Three Kingdoms 2', 'FIFA Online 4', 'Hearthstone', 'League of Legends', 'PUBG Mobile’ Asian Games version, and 'Street Fighter 5'. However, on March 16th, 'Hearthstone' was excluded, reducing the number of official events to seven.
However, since the announcement of these eight events, there has been criticism that the games were chosen with China, the host country, in mind. The main reason for this criticism is because of 'Dream Three Kingdoms 2' and ‘Arena of Valor’. While the other six games are launched in various countries, 'Dream Three Kingdoms 2' and 'Arena of Valor' are only available and popular in China, making it impossible for any other country except China to form a national team for these two games. Consequently, China will win two out of the seven gold medals in esports.
Looking at the remaining five games, there aren't any that could be seen as unfavorable for China. ‘League of Legends’ was developed by Riot Games, a subsidiary of Chinese company Tencent, and there are many strong teams from China competing for the championship in world competitions. Chinese teams have also done well in the Dota 2 World Championship. 'PUBG Mobile' is a game jointly developed by Tencent and Krafton. ‘FIFA Online 4’ was originally released in only a few countries and is currently only available in China, South Korea, and some Southeast Asian countries. This structure greatly increases the probability of the Chinese national team, being the host country, winning. 'Street Fighter 5' has no special relationship with China and is the only 'neutral' game in which China does not exhibit particular strength in world competitions.
However, 'Hearthstone' was recently excluded from the event. The Chinese version of Hearthstone ended in January, making it difficult for China to form a 'Hearthstone' team. However, this has already happened with some games selected as Asian Games events. Among the seven remaining games, some are only available in China, while others are only available in East Asia. Nevertheless, they were selected as Asian Games events without any issues, despite the fact that 45 countries participate. In this situation, it cannot be argued that 'because the game is not available in China, the host country, it must be withdrawn from the Asian Games'.
Of course, it cannot be concluded that these things had a great influence on the Asian Games selection. However, decisions that could be interpreted as such have been made one after another. In this way, e-sports leaves an impression that it is being used as a kind of ‘host country advantage’ that supports the number of gold medals in the host country of the Asian Games. It is certainly gratifying and meaningful that eSports has been selected as an official event at the Asian Games, but the selection of an official event should not be done in this way.
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