The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said it wanted to reflect the “rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation.”
Other events at the Asian Games, held every four years, include cricket, karate, table tennis, boxing and weightlifting. Esports, also known as professional gaming, is playing video games competitively against other humans and teams.
In 2016, esports events sold out Madison Square Garden (New York), Staples Center (Los Angeles), Nationwide Arena (Columbus) and KeyArena (Seattle). The industry produced an estimated $493 million in revenue last year.
Newzoo estimates the esports industry will grow to $696 million in 2017 and its audience will increase to 385 million globally.
According to reports, competitive gaming will feature as a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia. Competitive gaming will appear at this year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan.
“When I started, it was the beginning,” said Dennis Fong, the world’s first pro egamer. “It was filling rooms with 100 people. Now we’re filling football stadiums.”