Esports confirmed as official medal event for Asian Games 2026 in Aichi-Nagoya

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Esports has officially been designated as a medal event for the Asian Games 2026 to be held in Aichi-Nagoya (Japan), the organising committee announced today.

This comes as great news after the esports community faced a huge setback when the sport was removed as a medal event from the Commonwealth Games 2026. While there was no official reason given, some believed it was due to lack of viewership while some others felt that testing for doping was one of the problem areas.

The Indian gaming community is also witnessing a rapid growth with several professional players emerging from different parts of the country thanks to deep internet penetration and availability of affordable gaming equipment.

India is already gearing up for the upcoming Asian Games 2022 in Hangzhou (China) and will be taking part in four events. 15 professional players will take part in games like FIFA22, League of Legends, Street Fighter V and DOTA 2.

Sharing his excitement about today’s news, Director of the Esports Federation of India (ESFI), Lokesh Suji lauded the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the Aichi-Nagoya Asian Games Organizing Committee (AINAGOC) for including esports again as a medal event in the 20th Asian Games.

“The inclusion of a wide array of titles in the Asian Games not only demonstrates the diverse nature of Esports but also highlights the various dimensions of skill, strategy, and teamwork exhibited by the athletes, delivering a comprehensive experience for spectators,” Suji said as quoted by afaqs.

It is also very much possible that other professional esports athletes will get a chance to compete at the 20th Asian Games, too.

Animesh Agarwal, CEO of 8Bit Creatives & S8UL Esports said, “We are optimistic that in the Asian Games 2026, our team, S8ul and 8bit, will have the opportunity to participate and showcase their skills in several esports titles. Moreover, this announcement solidifies the fact that both endemic and non-endemic brands are actively seeking avenues to engage with gamers today and are enthusiastic about investing in the Esports ecosystem.”

A report published in May this year titled ‘Windows of Opportunity’ by Ernst & Young Global Limited, in collaboration with FICCI, revealed that the online gaming industry in India grew by 35% in 2022 and the count of players crossed 40 crore.

Along with the player count, the revenue for the sector also witnessed growth, reaching Rs 13,500 crore. Out of the total number of players 25% were paid ones. The revenue is estimated to reach Rs 23,100 crore by 2025 at a CAGR of 20%.