After more than 10 years of competition, Dota 2 has finally been accepted by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). The game will be featured at the 19th Asian Games, which will take place in Hangzhou a year from now, in September 2022. This is certainly good news for Dota 2, as well as 7 other esports titles, including League of Legends, FIFA, and Hearthstone.
The Relevance of the Asian Games 2022
For the time being, there aren’t any details available regarding the Asian Games’ Dota 2 competition. Based on the specifics, we will not whether or not it will provide any real value to the best players in the world. After all, in esports titles and medals mean absolutely nothing, in the sense that nobody cares you won the gold medal at an event outside of the professional circuit, unless the best players in the world were there.
The Dota 2 community gives a lot more credibility to its own regional leagues, Majors, and world championship (The International) than to anything else. The prize pools and the prestige that comes with winning such events are substantial. And so we ask ourselves: will the Asian Games be relevant for Dota 2? Will the best players in the world show interest in this competition from outside of esports?
Let’s do a simulation: imagine we’re in 2022 and the Asian Games are taking place right now. Would Team Secret, OG, Virtus.pro, or any of the TI 10 participants show interest in them? Another question: assuming that the teams themselves will not be able to participate with their standard members and that national teams will be formed, will the world’s best Dota 2 organizations allow their players to go to this foreign tournament just weeks before the start of a $40-million event?
The International 10 dwarfs all other tournaments and everyone is preparing for it. A top 6 result would be phenomenal for any participant from a financial standpoint. And because of that, it’s almost certain that the Dota 2 competition from Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 will be a non-event for the esports scene if The International 11 takes place right after it. If things go back to normal, TI 11 should be taking place in August. But what if it doesn’t?
The Olympic tournament may have a different kind of relevance for Dota 2 and esports. With millions of people watching, it’s clear that some of them will learn about this thing called esports and who knows, maybe even try to play Dota 2. But as you probably know, this is not a casual game. It is so complicated that anything below 1000 hours of play is considered irrelevant and its community is not exactly friendly with the new players. Everyone wants to win and nobody enjoys losing because of newbies who don’t even know how to place a ward properly.
That aside, it’s good to see that the Olympic Council of Asia has decided to not turn its back on the future and include in its event one of the biggest phenomena that entertainment will know in this decade.