Hearthstonethe competitive card game from Blizzard Entertainment, will no longer be a medal at the Hangzhou Asian Games.. This is because Hearthstone servers are no longer open in China following Blizzard’s breakup with Chinese tech company NetEase, according to the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF).
The AESF stated in its release that the federation had made every effort to resolve the issue, however, after discussions with the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (HAGOC), it was proposed to remove Hearthstone from the event’s competition schedule. This decision was later confirmed by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). The news has come as a monumental blow to the Hearthstone scene.
The other selected esports titles include. Arena of Valor, Dota 2, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, FIFA, League of Legends, PUBG Mobile and Street Fighter V. The Hangzhou Asian Games will start from September 23 to October 8, 2023.
It is unfortunate to hear that Hearthstone will not be included in the upcoming Asian Games, especially since India’s first esports medal in the tournament came in this very title in 2018, when Tirth Mehta won the bronze medal. However, we respect the OCA’s decision and remain confident that our athletes will perform at the highest level in the other titles to make the country proud. We look forward to supporting them as they represent India in the prestigious tournament.
Lokesh Suji, Director of the Indian Esports Federation and Vice President of the AESF.
This is not the first time that e-sports has crept into traditional multi-sport events. The SEA Games have held medal esports events since 2019. In addition, the 2022 Commonwealth Games hosted a pilot esports event.