Alibaba is venturing out of e-commerce and further into esports.
eSports will be an official medal sport at the 2022 Asian Games in China, in the boldest step yet toward mainstream recognition of competitive gaming. The only game to be mentioned by name in the announcement was Federation Internationale de Football Association 17, but MOBA and "Real Time Attack" games will also be played at these events.
"The Olympic Council of Asia has constantly been committed to the heritage, development and improvement of Asian sports, and we are extremely pleased about the strategic partnership with Alisports", said Olympic Council of Asia president HE Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah.
The 2014 Asian Games had 45 participating nations.
No details were given on which video games would be included. At the same time, Alisports will actively participate in working with the OCA to continue market development for every sports event at the games.
The OCA also confirmed the video games that will be contested when eSports is introduced at this year's Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Turkmenistan. For the AIMAG, which will be held from September 17 to 27, a series of online qualification rounds across the three e-sports will be held in two parts: first at a national level followed by region-specific.
The winning team at the biggest e-sports event, the League of Legends World Championship, scooped £810,000 in prize money past year.
Jacques Rogge, then International Olympic Committee pres., and OCA pres. Sheikh Ahmad go head to head at the Asian Games in Doha, 2006.
It seems like E-sports is moving forward in its appeal to be recognized as an official Olympic sport.
E-sports generated £400million in revenue in 2016, and attracted a global audience of about 320million people, according to e-sport analysts Newzoo.
The IESF is one of two organizations, along with the British government-backed worldwide eGames Committee (IEGC), that submitted a request to the IOC past year to obtain information on how to gain inclusion for eSports in the Olympic programme.