The first Asian Games with esports as a medal event has been postponed until 2023. The Hangzhou Asian Games 2022 were set to be held in September. Eight titles were listed, up from the six at 2018’s demonstration event.
The Olympic Council of Asia has made the call to postpone the Asian Games, due to take place in September 2022 in Hangzhou, China.
“The OCA today decided to postpone the 19th Asian Games, which were scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China, from 10 to 25 September 2022,” it stated in a May 6 press release.
“HAGOC [The Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee] has been very well prepared to deliver the Games on time despite global challenges. However, the above decision was taken by all the stakeholders after carefully considering the pandemic situation and the size of the Games.”
The OCA has not confirmed a new date for the games to be held, with analysts expecting a date later in 2023.
The postponement came as little surprise to most, given even within esports China’s representative for MSI 2022 Royal Never Give Up will be competing remotely from Shanghai instead of in Busan, South Korea.
However, esports’ introduction for the 2022 Games came with plenty of logistical issues. In League of Legends, China’s domestic league was going to be scheduled to fit in the Summer Split before the games.
In Korea, there was criticism about KESPA rushing the selection process to be locked in before MSI 2022, with coach Kim ‘kkOma’ Jeong-gyun floating the idea of stepping down.
The Asian Games is set to host eight esports medal events.
This includes PC titles League of Legends, Dota 2, and Hearthstone. Mobile giants Arena of Valor, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, and PUBG Mobile are listed, along with FIFA and Street Fighter V.
It comes after esports originally debuted as a demonstration event in 2018 with six titles. China took two gold medals, while Indonesia, South Korea, Hong Kong, and Japan took home one each.