The 2019 SEA games, a competitive event that takes place every other year, will include esports as one of its medal events for the first time ever in 2019.
The organizing committee of the Philippines SEA Games, which also partnered with Razer and Moontoon for the 2019 SEA games, made the announcement on Wednesday during a press conference in Pasay City. This marks the first time that we’ll see esports added as a medal event. Additionally, this follows esports’ inclusion in this year’s Asian Games as a demonstration, where, after a successful showing, it was later confirmed to be an official medal event for 2022.
In total, the 2019 SEA games will award and distribute six gold medals across three gaming platforms. This includes two for consoles, two for PC, and two for mobile.
As of the moment, we can only confirm the inclusion of Moontoon’s MOBA game Mobile Legends: Bang Bang. However, we shouldn’t have to wait too long to receive a final confirmation of the list of titles. The committee announced that they will have the final list of titles available by December 15. In the said press conference, the committee added that they will choose games based on the values and standards set by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
While not confirmed, we should expect either one of Dota 2 and League of Legends in the 2019 SEA games. Although most fans would ideally love to see both, that might not happen. Despite the popularity of both titles worldwide, especially in the hosting country, the competitive scene and structure of League of Legends makes it more “palatable” in the eyes of organizational bodies who might not have had a lot of experience in esports. Meanwhile, Valve’s hands-off approach with Dota 2 makes including the game a huge risk.
What’s Next for Esports after the 2019 SEA Games?
As already mentioned earlier, the 2022 Asian Games will include esports as a medal event for 2022. For many, though, this is just the first step. The big leap would be esports’ inclusion in the Olympics.
For that to happen, its “trial run” at the 2019 SEA games in the Philippines next year would have to be wildly successful.
Of course, given the popularity of today’s esports titles, it would take a massive failure for that not to happen. Once relegated as “amateur” competitions, esports are here to stay. Commercially and financially, including esports in the 2019 SEA games makes a lot of sense. The move allows the event to cater more towards a younger audience, which makes up the majority of the market today.
So, while it may seem weird at first to see esports included in a traditional sports event, we should expect to see it more in the future.
Hopefully, this is just the first step towards legitimizing esports and providing some much-needed stability to the scene as a whole.
Which games do you think will make the cut for the 2019 SEA games? Do you think only one of Dota 2 or League of Legends will make it? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comments down below.