Esports are not quite ready for an Olympic future, estimates the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Despite the strong push by President Thomas Bach, competitive video games may have to be put on the backburner.
Esports, Not Quite Olympic Yet
During one the latest meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has expressed their concern that adding competitive video gaming or esports to the format of the event would be “premature”.
The Olympic Summit reunited executives and industry experts who addressed the issue head-on, pondering the uncertainties that surrounded the entire matter. Previously, it was IOC President Thomas Bach who championed the idea.
Shortly after, though, he himself raised concerns about the “violent nature” of the games, citing fears that the Olympic movement should be about unification and not promoting violence.
Esports, some considered, were seen as the exact opposite of the stated Olympic goals. In a word, the Committee reached a unanimous conclusion that esports are not yet fit to be a true Olympic discipline as there existed a disparity between the values promoted.
This is not entirely a wrong surmise. Earlier this month, there was a controversy surrounding racial stereotyping in one of the most popular competitive games, Dota 2. A professional player from TNC Predator, an outfit, has been caught using racial slurs against Chinese players.
The scandal that his words cost was further aggravated by the team’s manager attempt to conceal the fact in the first place and then mustering up an excuse which the offender didn’t write himself.
Apparently, there is still a lot to address when it comes to establishing the correct attitude during official and recreational competitions. Apart from that, IOC also argued that the majority of the industry remains commercially driven, which was yet another disparity with the stated goal of the Olympic movement.
While concerns for esports persisted, ranging from the elusive definition of the games to their violent nature, the Committee seemed to agree that the same restriction couldn’t be applied to simulation sports which should be encouraged.
It was agreed that the organization should look into perpetuating the partnerships between industry experts and the simulated titles which should be pursued in full.
An Asian Future for the Games
While esports may not yet be deemed appropriate for an Olympic future, they certainly have a place in the heart of many mainstream sporting events. The 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games will feature a number of competitive titles, including Dota 2, League of Legends, and Mobile Legends, as official disciplines.
The move has been backed by the Philippines South East Asian Games Organizing Committee (PhilSGOC) and Razer, the gaming life style brand, which has been supporting regional esports events for a fair while now.
Razer has been investing millions to bolster the development of SEA esports, and it comes as no surprise that this specific region may become more inclusive towards esports, as part of the mainstream sporting culture.
From Razer to the Malaysian government, esports are part of the very fabric of SEA and the people who live in the region.