E sports to become a medal event in 2022 Asian Games

Gamers taking part in esports competition

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said it wanted to reflect “the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation”.

Competitive video gaming will also feature as a demonstration sport in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.

And it will first appear in this year’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Turkmenistan.

Alongside Fifa 2017, gamers at AIMAG can expect to compete in MOBA (multiplayer online battle arena) and RTA (real time attack) games.

The move is the result of a partnership between Alisports, the sports wing of e-commerce giant Alibaba, and the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

Prize money

E-sports generated $493m (£400m) in revenue in 2016, with a global audience of about 320 million people.

Revenue is predicted to rise to $696m (£553m) in 2017, with 15% of that coming from China alone, according to e-sport analysts Newzoo.

The winning team at the biggest e-sports event, the League of Legends World Championship, shared $1m (£810,000) in prize money last year.

While millions of viewers watch online, tournaments staged in front of live audiences attract tens of thousands of fans.

In 2014, more than 40,000 people attended the League of Legends World Championship finals when they were held in Seoul.