Esports has been growing in recent time to where there are many international competitions around the world devoted to different esports events. These include the Overwatch World Cup where teams representing certain countries compete with each other. The 2018 Asian Games also had a successful demonstration sport run for esports with League of Legends, Hearthstone, Clash Royale, and Arena of Valor being among the esports games being highlighted in the international event.
The successes have led to beliefs that esports may get into the Olympics in some form in the future. But a review from the International Olympic Committee has found that the IOC is not close to considering esports to be a part of the Olympics. This comes following a meeting of IOC officials in Lausanne, Switzerland this past weekend.
The IOC acknowledged that esports is becoming increasingly popular in many forms. However, there are worries among many in the IOC as to whether or not esports should be included in the future like it has been for the Asian Games.
Definition of Sport
The greatest concern for the IOC entails the definition of esports as a proper sport. The IOC argues that while some physical effort is needed for esports competition, it is hard to figure out if that effort can be compared with what is found in larger sports events. This comes as there is a dispute over the skills that people need when competing in esports events in all forms.
There are also worries in the IOC that the esports competitions involved might not share the same values that the IOC has for other sports. Esports events often entail games that might be interpreted violent to some. By added violence and pressure found in some esports competitions, particularly in CS:GO and Call of Duty games, have made it to where people are not all that comfortable with promoting esports for Olympic events.
Also, the IOC argues that the esports work is based on commerce. Meanwhile, the sports world is more based on traditional values of cooperation and friendly competition. This may harm the potential for esports games in the future.
What Games Would Work?
Although League of Legends was found to be very popular in Asian competitions, it is unlikely that the IOC would consider that game or other traditional esports games for its competitions. Rather, the IOC is leaning towards options like the official Formula One game and the FIFA series of games.
However, the IOC has warmed up to other esports games in recent time, albeit to an extent. The organization has allowed for parallel esports competitions to occur during the 2016 and 2018 games in Rio de Janeiro and Pyeongchang. The 2018 event was particularly held the Intel Extreme Masters series. However, those esports events that ran parallel to official Olympic events were not considered to be demonstration sports. Therefore, the sports were not as promoted as what people might have noticed with other demonstration sports in the past like basque pelota, Australian rules football, Finnish baseball, and korfball.