On May 18, Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) revealed the esports titles and schedules for the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG), which will take place from September 17 to 27 in Ashgabat, the capital city of Turkmenistan.
The games selected for esports are Dota 2 (MOBA), StarCraft 2 (RTS), and Hearthstone (CCG) from each genre as well as an unannounced sports game from FIFA or NBA series. Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Special Force (Soldier Front in NA), and League of Legends, which were selected for the 2013 Incheon Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, were excluded.
Prior to the event, the National Olympic Committee (NOC), which consists of 45 Asian and 19 Oceania countries, will undergo a sign-up period for national athletes until June 10th on the esports player registration website. Two teams or two athletes will be selected as national representatives for each sport until June 30th. The selected athletes will go through the qualifiers held in six regions from July 1st to July 20th.
▣ Available qualifying regions:
East Asia: Dota 2 (1 slot), Sports Game (3), StarCraft II (3), Hearthstone (3)
South Asia: Dota 2 (1), Sports Game (2), StarCraft II (2), Hearthstone (2)
Central Asia: Dota 2 (1), Sports Game (1), StarCraft II (1), Hearthstone (1)
West Asia: Dota 2 (1), Sports Game (3), StarCraft II (3), Hearthstone (3)
South East Asia: Dota 2 (2), Sports Game (3), StarCraft II (3), Hearthstone (3)
Oceania: Dota 2 (1), Sports Game (3), StarCraft II (3), Hearthstone (3)
Host country: Dota 2 (1), Sports Game (1), StarCraft II (1), Hearthstone (1)
**The number of players/teams in each of the four events at AIMAG 5 is: Dota 2 (8), Sports Game (16), StarCraft II (16), Hearthstone (16)
The selection of sports for the 2017 AIMAG at Ashigabat is meaningful in many ways. Since the partnership between Alisports and OCA last April and the inclusion of esports to the 2017 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games in Indonesia as well as the one at Hangzhou in 2022, it is highly probably that games selected at the 5th AIMAG will transfer over to the Asian Games.
However, there is a concerned voice questioning that the list contains no FPS games, a popular esports genre as well as the validity of Hearthstone for its high RNG factor. Additionally, some point out that the reason for excluding League of Legends, which is one of the most popular esports games in the world, stems from the competing business nature between Tencent, the owner of League, and Alibaba, the parent company of Alisports.
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