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Esports is an official medal event at the Southeast Asian Games

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Image via AESF.

Image via AESF.

The Southeast Asian Games, an event taking place every two years and supervised by the International Olympic Committee and the Olympic Council of Asia, will include esports for the first time when it comes to the Philippines in 2019. 

The Philippines SEA Games Organising Committee made the announcement today, revealing that it would be partnering with Razer to support the Filipino athletes.

“Gamers are an important part of our community,” said chairman emeritus Alan Peter Cayetano. It’s the first time esports has been included in a medal event capacity. It featured in the Asian Games earlier this year, but only as a demonstration. In 2022, however, it will be added as an official medal event (opens in new tab)

Six gold medals will be awarded across multiple platforms. Two golds will be up for grabs on console, two for PC and finally two for mobile, with qualifiers being held for individual games. These games are still up in the air. The only announced game so far is Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, a MOBA for mobiles. The final list will be out by December 15. 

Notably, there are restrictions established by the International Olympic Committee, and games featured cannot promote violence or gambling. This is one of the rules that has held esports back from becoming a medal event in the Olympic Games. An esports forum was held earlier this year, resulting in the creation of the Esports Liaison Group (opens in new tab). It’s meant to facilitate communication between the committee and esports representatives, which would be great if IOC president Thomas Bach was on-board. In an Associated Press interview in September, Bach rolled out the old “but video games are too violent (opens in new tab)” chestnut. 

"We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination," he said. "So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted."

Bach was an Olympic fencer, a sport that celebrates stabbing people with swords. 

The 2019 Southeast Asian Games will start on November 30, 2019. 

Cheers, ESPN (opens in new tab).

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.