Is Thailand ready for the global eSports hype?
Gamers around the world burst into happy tears when the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), together with Alisports, the sports-focused subsidiary of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, announced in April that eSports will be one of the medal events at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou—with an introduction of the event as a demonstration sport at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan and the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia. It’s the next big step for an industry that has captured the imagination of an entire generation for many, many years. Finally, somebody of authority has officially approved the existence of the gaming industry—video games are now more than just living room pursuits and those who play it are no longer just gaming geeks. EXL 2015 Grand Final, photo courtesy of OS What exactly is eSports?You’re probably not the only one asking the question, especially in a country where videogames are considered by many as a waste of time. According to Patid Mahakittikun, webcontent manager for OS (formerly known as Online Station), Thailand’s leading video gamesportal, eSports is a form of competition where video games are played at a professional level, and are facilitated by rules and regulations. You may be surprised to learn that eSports date way back. One of the oldest eSports matches took place in 1972, when Stanford University organized a Spacewar video game competition, with a one-year subscription of Rolling Stone magazine as the grand prize.
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