Perspectives

The Impact of the Global Esports Federation and Olympic Council of Asia Alliance

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the Global Esports Federation (GEF) have aligned to promote esports throughout Asia. The collaboration will aim to inspire millions of youth to “maximize the potential of esports” in the continent.

This partnership’s overall mission was revealed without specific plans other than expressing the intent to focus on forward-thinking and future-oriented initiatives and that they look forward to doing “big things together.”

OCA is made up of 45 national Olympic Committees and is said to represent 4.6 billion people in the region, including “at least” 700 million people between the ages of 15-24,” according to the organization. Founded in New Delhi in 1982, OCA is headed by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait.

Tencent-backed Global Esports Federation emerged in late 2019 with a mission to develop an esports ecosystem that is “safe, healthy, and sustainable with a particular focus on the holistic health, fair play, education, and career pathways for players and athletes.” In recent months, GEF has already forged several esports development agreements, including those with the Commonwealth Games Federation, World Taekwondo, International Tennis Federation, Organización Deportiva Suramericana and Dentsu.

Asian Esports is Ready to Explode

Just over half (55%) of the world’s 2.7 billion gamers reside in Asia-Pacific, according to Newzoo. China is the largest Asian market in terms of esports revenue, which is expected to reach $385.1 million in 2020. In addition, a recent study by Niko Partners found that 60% of gamers in Southeast Asia are “strongly drawn to esports.”

The growth of esports in scope, scale, and influence has grown tremendously in the last few years. Few industries have enjoyed such a dramatic turnaround in the amount of respect it has earned in such a short amount of time. While the debate rages on about whether competitive video games should be considered a real “sport,” the Chinese Government acknowledges “esports operators” and “esports players” as one of 15 new professions revealed in 2019.

Having an Olympic Committee on the side of esports is beneficial to the industry because it adds credibility to the growing industry. GEF already has ties to both global media giant Tencent and the Olympics. Its new president, Chris Chan, is secretary-general of the Singapore National Olympics Council. This credibility adds momentum to existing initiatives that will help present the esports industry to the world, such as the Olympics-sanctioned Intel World Open leading up to the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Global Esports Success Requires Teamwork

The association between the Olympic Council of Asia and the Global Esports Federation comes during a time when governments acknowledge the potential of esports but also realize that everyone needs to get on the same page to make it work.

Several esports organizations dedicated to the furtherment of the industry in Asia have been formed, as well as strategic partnerships among themselves to double their efforts. For example, the South Korean group, the International Esports Federation (IeSF), has made alliances with the World Esports Consortium,  International School Sports Federation, and the Asian Esports Federation (AESF).

Other esports-focused groups in Asia include The Singapore Games Association (SGGA) and Singapore Esports Association.

Esports is often called the “wild west” because it sprung up out of grassroots efforts, opportunity and a myriad of game titles. Unlike traditional sports like golf and soccer, each competitive esports title is owned by its respective publisher.

It is undeniable that esports has grown exponentially over the years and continues to do so, but the industry struggles with any sort of uniformity. Tournament structure, viewership metrics, and team valuation are just some of the areas that vary greatly across the spectrum.

OCA and GEF are dedicated to changing all that.


Written by HB Duran | image credit: NGame Esports

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