View More
Repercussions and Ramifications to Esports Following the COVID-19 Outbreak
Just like traditional sports, several Esports events are directly affected by the recent outbreak of the novel Coronavirus, recently renamed as COVID-19. From postponements to cancellations, the fates of a number of competitions planned for in the Asian region remain in limbo as teams and players await further instructions from the organizers. Below are several major Esports tournaments in Asia which were affected by the outbreak of COVID-19. 
 
Overwatch League (OWL) Season 3 
Multiple cities in China starting February 2020 onwards.  
In late January, the Overwatch League cancelled all of their Season 3 matches scheduled to be played in China. Last week, they announced that all of these postponed matches to be played in South Korea. However, due to the recent spike of cases reported throughout the country, the Overwatch League has proceeded  to cancel all matches scheduled to be played in South Korea. 
 
League of Legends Pro League
Multiple cities in China from Jan - April 2020
Easily the largest Esports circuit in the world, the League of Legends Pro League (LPL) were also forced to postpone week 2 of the tournament until further notice. The most recent update sees the organizers hosting an online scrimmage league starting next week.  
 
Counter-Strike: Global Offensive WESG Asia-Pacific Finals
Macau, China, early February 2020
Initially postponed from its initial dates of January 3-5, 2020 to February 16-18, 2020, the circuit has cancelled the CS: GO WESG APAC Final for this year. 
 
Repercussions to Online Gaming and Streaming Services
According to Will Hershey, the Co-Founder and CEO of Roundhill Investments based in the U.S., “The initial market reaction has been negative thus far, especially for Chinese Esports and game streaming companies,”.  He added “However, if the virus is to persist, it could be a net positive for gaming and game streaming companies. As people are relegated to the indoors, particularly in Asia, they are likely to turn to mobile games and live streaming as a form of entertainment.”
 
While there is yet to be a full-on online tournament to replace the rescheduled or postponed Esports events, the organizers of League of Legends Pro League dabbled with that idea via inter-team scrimmage league to keep players focused. Typically regarded as training matches with no implications save for bragging rights, this appears to be the most logical move for now. Whether these online scrimmages are to be upgraded into full-on replacements of offline matches soon due to prolonged disruptions due to the COVID-19 is yet to be seen. 
 
Although resorting to online tournaments may prove to be the most viable short-term solution for affected offline events, it does take the allure and spectacle away from an industry which thrives on local fan presence and fanfare. 
 
The AESF implores everyone to remain vigilant of their health and undertake necessary precautions to ensure they remain healthy and safe from any chance of infection. We wish our friends in the Esports community all the best during these trying times and look forward to swift solution for the issue at hand.