The debate regarding whether esports is really a sport or not has plagued the world for a long time and continues to do so. There have been multiple arguments on whether the world should encourage the development of esports or not, but none has borne any result.
However certain countries have been quick enough to identify the potential the gaming market has and have recognised esports as an official sport. With esports being an official medal event at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games, here we look at nations that have officially recognised esports as official sports.
South Korea is undoubtedly the hub of esports activities in the world. The East Asian country has been at the forefront of the esports revolution in the world and was one of the first countries to recognise the potential of this booming industry. South Korea has played a huge role in bringing esports to mainstream attention.
Along with South Korea, China was one of the first countries to recognise esports. It recognised esports as an official sport in 2003 and recognised 'esports players' and 'esports operators' as valid professions back in 2019. China will also be the first country to host esports as an official medal event during the upcoming 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou.
United States of America
The United States of America officially recognised esports as an official sport in the year 2013. Moreover, the country was also one of the first to accept gamers as athletes in the same year.
The Finnish government recognised esports as an official sport in the year 2017. They have since also termed gamers as professional athletes.
Germany recognised esports officially back in the year 2018. This came after a multi-party coalition in the month of February.
Ukraine handed official recognition to esports amidst the coronavirus pandemic in September 2020. The decision was confirmed by the Sports Ministry of the country then.
Pakistan recognised esports officially earlier this year. The country's minister for Science and Technology had announced back in January that this step has been taken following the signing of a memorandum between the Pakistan Sports Body and the Pakistan Science Foundation.
Thailand is the latest country to have recognised esports officially. The South-East Asian country achieved this feat on 22nd September 2021 with the declaration published in the Royal Thai Government Gazette.
The Russian Esports Federation was established in the year 2000. It first got state recognition in 2001 before achieving it again in 2004 and 2016. On the other hand in 2020, the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, also approved of including esports in the school curriculum.
Besides, countries like Italy, Brazil, Nepal, Indonesia, Turkmenistan, Macedonia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Serbia Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Georgia have also recognised esports as regular sport.