Esports made their much-anticipated Asian Games debut as official medal events Sept. 24 in China’s e-commerce hub Hangzhou.
Myanmar defeated Kyrgyzstan in the Arena of Valor mobile game in the day’s first completed match, as spectators cheered from the stands and waved penlights, creating an atmosphere similar to a live concert.
Hong Kong then defeated Taiwan in the same multiplayer online battle arena, or MOBA, game at the China Hangzhou Esports Center, a day after the official opening of the Asian “Olympics.”
“We had good communication, so we could win this game,” said Chan Tsz Hin, a 22-year-old player from Hong Kong whose English name is Justin.
“I’ve played this game for eight to 10 hours a day. When I have spare time, I play other games, but I focus on this game every day. Our team is looking for a medal.”
Asked if it is gold, he said, “No, just a medal. Any color.”
There has been debate about whether esports are actual sports and concern about gaming addiction, but the esports market’s growth potential cannot be ignored.
Esports were introduced at the previous Asian Games in 2018 in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, as an exhibition. They are set to be one of the most watched events of the two-week Hangzhou games.(Kyodo)