Esports are on the cups of becoming an official Olympic discipline. Even though confirmation is still needed, the vision of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach includes video games as a future discipline of the iconic tournament. The purpose of such an event? To reach out to younger audiences. It seems the idea is gaining stronger endorsement, despite some minor local opposition, including the hawkish stance of the German Olympic Committee.
Key People Meet
A number of c-level executives, experts and key figures have gathered in Lausanne, Switzerland over the weekend to discuss the future endorsement of electronic sports (esports) in the future tournament. The event is the courtesy of the International Olympic Committee and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF).
Held at the Olympic Museum, the pow-wow featured NBA super star and eSports enthusiast Rick Fox. Stakeholders have also been present. Investors came from all of the big names in the industry, including shareholders in Riot Games, Epic Games, Blizzard, and tournament host program ESL. In a word, the Olympic Movement may consider including eSports as early as 2024<.
The Possible Titles
One of the most debated issues about the possible inclusion of eSports in the Olympic movement is to avoid the display of violence. Many of these games are all about tackling the enemy, which usually involves a fair amount of bloodshed.
However, only few titles have the gut-wrenching gritty realism which puts spectators in a mind of genuine carnage. Instead, titles such as Starcraft II, Hearthstone, FIFA 18, Overwatch, League of Legends and many more, look like firework of colors. Even then, developers can modify certain animations and elements to make the games more streamlined for the Olympic Movement.
Adding Olympic-compatible titles will make inside opposition more lenient and it will always disarm them of one of their main arguments. Another issue, though, remains – are eSports real sports? This question has been pondered by mainstream media and research firm.
The evidence suggest that they indeed are. Player reaction time can be taught and trained and it peters out over time as athletes mature. This is the first time that eSports organizations have come to realize that just like in real sports, the athletes skills will diminish later on as they age.
The Real Sports Conundrum
Even if the acceptance of eSports on a larger scale faces some heavy opposition, it’s not too far-fetched to call eSports real athletic events. Beyond the dispute about the legitimacy of the discipline, the segment has been driving steady numbers across all metrics imaginable, including viewership, brand rights, and live performance attendance.
The Olympic Movement, led by IOC President Bach have been quick to realize what’s been happening under their very noses. It’d be easy to convince a broader public that eSports are legitimate as an athletic discipline, because let’s face it – they require their own skill set to succeed and people who exceed in pure athletic sense will most likely turn out to be laughably inapt coordinating digital armies, and vice versa.
Of course, the relatively unhealthy lifestyle of gamers and their general athletic aptitude is often questioned and for a good reason, too. The IOC may oblige eSports athletes to try and maintain specific body traits in order to be admitted, meaning they will have to cover certain qualifying standards, just like other athletes from the mainstream have to before being admitted to compete for their respective countries.