League of Legends will be one of six esports titles debuting at the 2018 Asian Games, as announced in a Monday morning press release. The other five titles will be Starcraft II, Hearthstone, Pro Evolution Soccer and mobile games Clash Royale and Arena of Valor, Matthew Chan of IGN SEA reports.
The Asian Games is one of the largest multi-sport events in the world, held every four years since 1954 (the first games were in 1951). This will be the first time esports titles will be included in the event, but they will be demonstration events only and thus will not count toward the total medal count.
“We’re honored that League of Legends was selected for the Asian Games,” Riot’s co-head of esports, Jarred Kennedy, said in the release. “Representing one’s country at the Olympics is a dream for athletes around the world, and with this step, that dream is one step closer to reality for the best in our sport. We admire and respect the values of the Olympic movement and look forward to supporting the Olympic Council of Asia in making this competition a success.”
National team rosters have long been coveted by League fans from around the world, with fan-made rosters often showing up on League communities around the internet. The press release notes each country’s National Olympic Committee can pick their roster by whichever method they choose.
The 2018 Asian Games will be held in Jakarta, and host nation Indonesia will receive an automatic invitation to the games. The other teams will be determined by qualifiers: one each from the South East, South, Central and West Asia regions, and three from the East Asia region, which includes League powerhouses South Korea and China as well as Hong Kong, Japan, Macau and Chinese Taipei.
The Olympics have reportedly looked into esports as a possible addition to their event lineup. Perhaps a strong showing at the Asian Games could make Olympic esports even likelier.