The recent announcement that eSports will be included in the 2022 Asian Games as a medal event as well as a demonstration sport in the 2018 edition has sent waves through the eSports community. This is because there is a potential for eSports to get into the main Olympics, therefore players from all corners of the world can compete against each other.
However, the International Olympic Committee is not fully confident about possibly adding eSports into the games in the future. This is according to Thomas Bach, the president of the IOC. He spoke at the Pan American Sports Organization General Assembly about eSports.
In his statement, Bach said that he is not fully sold on the idea of eSports being included in the Olympics. He is not fully certain as to what kind of physical efforts are needed in order for people to be competitive in eSporting events.
Bach did state that he understands that today’s youth has been interested in eSports. He recognizes that the sporting discipline has become rather popular and that people are always looking to compete. This especially comes amid the growth of Dota 2 and League of Legends among many other prominent games.
However, he also argues that the discipline does not work in accordance with general IOC standards. He also states that the discipline will continue to be reviewed in the future. It is not certain as to whether or not eSports will be considered again in the future although the sport will be open for consideration. This especially comes as some organizations have been putting in a strong effort to try and get eSports into the Olympics. This also comes amid the financial incentives for people to compete.
The South Korea-based International e-Sports Federation has expressed a strong interest in getting eSports events out to the Olympics. The organization recently sent a request to the IOC to get information on how eSports could potentially become an Olympic sport in the future in the prior year.
The application included points on the history, popularity, functionality and governance of the sport. This was used as a means of providing information on how well eSports events are organized.
Money Could Be a Factor
The potential for eSports players to be paid sizable amounts of money for earning medals could potentially influence them to compete in the Olympics if eSports does become an Olympic sport. Prizes are typically given to Olympic medalists based on the medals that they win. Singapore offers the best payout with nearly $750,000 US given to gold medalists. Russia, a country that has its own big eSports scenes, offers $180,000 for each gold medal and $90,000 for each silver medal plus $45,000 for a bronze.
The words from the IOC came not long after an eSports event was held in Rio de Janeiro during the 2016 Summer Olympics. Although this event was not recognized as an Olympic-related event or as a demonstration sport, it was held by the International eGames Committee and featured teams from Brazil, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.