The online digital collectible card game Hearthstone has been removed from the Esports program at this year's Hangzhou Asian Games.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) on March 16 confirmed the decision proposed by the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC) and the Asian Electronic Sports Federation (AESF) during the fifth Coordination Committee meeting.
Since negotiations between Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase regarding the extension of operating rights and their partnership agreement fell through, all servers hosting Hearthstone on the Chinese mainland operated by NetEase have been shut down and the operation team has been disbanded. This has left the game ineligible to be included as one of the competition events at the Hangzhou Asian Games, according to a statement by the Hangzhou Asian Games organizers.
After the OCA's latest decision, the Hangzhou Asian Games will feature seven Esports events, namely FIFA Online 4, PUBG Mobile Asian Games version, Arena of Valor Asian Games version, Dota 2, League of Legends, Dream Three Kingdoms 2 and Street Fighter V.
"We remain fully dedicated to providing a world-class platform for Esports athletes to showcase their skills and abilities to the world. We sincerely hope you will join us in making history at the Hangzhou Asian Games and demonstrate the boundless potential of Esports as a major sporting phenomenon," said the AESF.