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Esports Confirmed as Medal Event for Asian Games 2026

The organizing committee of the Asian Games 2026 in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan, made an exciting announcement today, officially designating esports as a medal event. This decision brings a renewed sense of enthusiasm to the esports community, which recently faced disappointment when the sport was removed as a medal event from the Commonwealth Games 2026. While no official reason was provided for its exclusion, speculations ranged from concerns about viewership to doping testing challenges.

The Indian gaming community is also experiencing rapid growth, with numerous professional players emerging from different regions of the country. This can be attributed to deep internet penetration and the availability of affordable gaming equipment. India is actively preparing for the upcoming Asian Games 2022 in Hangzhou, China, where the country will participate in four events. A team of 15 professional players will compete in games like FIFA22, League of Legends, Street Fighter V, and DOTA 2.

Lokesh Suji, the Director of the Esports Federation of India (ESFI), expressed his excitement about the news, commending the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the Aichi-Nagoya Asian Games Organizing Committee (AINAGOC) for reintroducing esports as a medal event in the 20th Asian Games. Suji highlighted the diverse nature of esports and the wide range of skills, strategies, and teamwork demonstrated by athletes, offering an engaging experience for spectators.

Furthermore, there is a possibility that additional professional esports athletes will have the opportunity to compete at the 20th Asian Games. Animesh Agarwal, CEO of 8Bit Creatives & S8UL Esports, expressed optimism about his teams, S8ul and 8bit, participating in and showcasing their skills across various esports titles in the Asian Games 2026. Agarwal also emphasized that this announcement solidifies the growing interest of both endemic and non-endemic brands in engaging with gamers and investing in the esports ecosystem.

According to a report titled “Windows of Opportunity” published in May this year by Ernst & Young Global Limited in collaboration with FICCI, the online gaming industry in India experienced a remarkable 35% growth in 2022, with the number of players surpassing 400 million. The sector’s revenue also witnessed substantial growth, reaching Rs 13,500 crore, with 25% of players being paid ones. The report projects that the revenue will reach Rs 23,100 crore by 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20%.

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