Olympic e-sports are becoming inevitable as IOC says they ‘could be considered as a sporting activity’

The International Olympic Committee has formally stated that it may consider e-sports a sporting activity.

“Competitive e-sports could be considered as a sporting activity, and the players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports,” IOC summit attendees declared in a statement. “E-sports are showing strong growth, especially within the youth demographic across different countries, and can provide a platform for engagement with the Olympic Movement” – provided those sports uphold Olympic values, like anti-doping, betting practices, and match manipulation.

Last summer, the co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee told the AP that the organization was considering bringing video gaming on board for the 2024 program in France. The 2022 Asian Games also announced e-sports as a medal event, citing the inclusion of e-sports at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games, though multiple countries bailed out of this year’s AIMAG e-sports events, citing health concerns, poor regulation, and “governance concerns.”

Earlier this month, we polled our own userbase on whether or not e-sports belongs in the Olympics; almost 80% of those who voted said no, while only 15% said some or all should be included, in contrast to Nielsen’s poll of actual e-sports fans, which asserted that over 50% of fans believe e-sports are real sports and less than a third believe e-sports belong in the Olympics.

Source: GIbiz, Gamasutra
SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Code of Conduct | Edit Your Profile | Commenting FAQ | Badge Reclamation | Badge Key

LEAVE A COMMENT

55 Comments on "Olympic e-sports are becoming inevitable as IOC says they ‘could be considered as a sporting activity’"

Subscribe to:
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most liked
Reader
sirsam

The other day I threw a crumpled napkin behind my back into the trashcan from around 15 ft. It was amazing. Lets have crumpled napkin throwing as a sport.

In fact, I’d rather watch that than watch my screen that has people sitting watching their screen and have it be called a sport.

I swear we are like 100 years away from the movie Idiocracy.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Byórðæįr

Skill pushing your body and mind beyond average. Shooting requires holding you body perfectly still then racing to the next station. e-sports would require more than run and gun in an a first person shooter, for an Olympic version. The question actually came up once before when Nintendo made the track and field games back in late 1980s.

So likely we would need special maps that the teams could train on six months leading up the the Olympics where various companies work together to create a single game that show unity and coming together. So you might find that for it to work you would have to have say Capcom and blizzard work together to create a track and field game for the Olympics with the avatars being cartoony characters from various companies to show people working together for a common good. Nintendo was told that they would have to create every person represented if they wanted their game at the Olympics, companies like blizzard and capcom likely will side step that by using silly looking avatars representing individuality while not suggesting that it does not look like the person. But seeing a belf, a gnome, and a couple other ip charaters wearing a tabards with a countries colors at the olympics working together might actually be interesting to watch.

Reader
draugris

Absolutely not a fan. A lot of those e-sport guys would need a serious lesson in what the olympic spirit means and what fair sportsmanship is first. Too many of them are just raging cry-babies.

Reader
Malcolm Swoboda

That’s my bigger concern than ‘video games being sports’ (IMO they are or rather can be).

Reader
Utakata

I’ll file this under the “Just no!” folder. /sigh

Reader
MrNastyButler

E-Sports in the Olympics…hard for me to say no on this one. Especially with the fact there have been in the past mental sports (ie Chess) and there are non-physical sports like shooting, which are more hand eye coordination events. Really, it’s going to come down to how much the industry pumps money into the Olympics and if people will watch it. That’s going to be the deciding factors.

Me, I’d never watch that stuff on the Olympics really. I don’t watch them much at all, nor pay attention to them. If someone walked up to me and told me they won a gold metal for *insert activity here*, I’d just say congrats and walk on by.

Reader
MesaSage

So I guess Olympic hacking won’t be far behind. *sigh*

possum440 .
Reader
possum440 .

Gaming in the Olympics, what a damn joke. Next thing you are going to tell me is that sliding a big rock across some ice with a broom in front of it is a sport too……

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Lol! Best response.

Reader
Grave Knight

What? But esports is not a physical sports. It’s why there isn’t an Olympic chess event. If esports wants it’s own olympiad then go ahead but keep the Olympics about physical sports.

Reader
MrNastyButler

There actually use to be Chess in the Olympics. They got rid of it cause no one was watching it. They also have a number of non-physical events in the Olympics.

Reader
traja

You need to come up with some really strange definitions if you call lying on the ground and shooting an air rifle a “physical sport” but spamming your keyboard is not. This is a line that the Olympics has already crossed.

Reader
rafael12104

Lol. Well, I’m both sides of this.

On the one hand E-sports requires skill. And let’s face it, there are many Olympic sports that feature skill over athleticism. Archery, Sharpshooting, Billiards, etc. etc. So why not? And lest we forget, E-sports already have “global” competitions. I use the term loosely because certain countries don’t have the tech to even field a team. Then again, the Jamaicans don’t have snow and they have a bobsled team.

On the other hand, will the general public spectate such an event? After all, the Olympics is driven by the same need as most events especially those televised, eyeballs. Take women’s softball which is no longer in the Olympics. The reason it was dropped was because of a lack of participation and a general poor viewership. Aside from us, some of us at least, will people watch E-sports after the nuisance is over?

Ah, what hell, make it one of those exhibition events. Officially, not official, but in the Olympics. Let’s see what happens.

possum440 .
Reader
possum440 .

You are comparing Shooting, Archery, Billiards to playing games? Puh-lease.

Reader
rafael12104

Indeed I am. Thank yeee.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Jack Pipsam

The Olympics is boring enough without E-Sports.

Reader
rafael12104

Damn good swimmers you Aussies. ;)

Reader
Loyal Patron
Armsbend

You would have enjoyed it when the aussie’s dominated at swimimming I bet!

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Loyal Patron
Jack Pipsam

Didn’t honestly pay attention. If we do well, great. If we don’t, oh well.
The only part of any Olympics I watch is the opening ceremonies, I rather see the state-funded culture stuff.

Australia is a very sporty nation, it’s all very dull. Swimming is great as a thing to do for exercise, leisure or adventure. But as a sport? Meh.

Reader
Carebear

That will give me a great excuse for my monolithic friends… “I am not playing games you flintstones, i am practicing sports!”

Seriously though, i dont think is a good idea… keep it classic

Reader
Malcolm Swoboda

Not reading comments yet, but just getting this out here: I’m not sure about the Olympics, but sports are not the same thing as athletics (nor specifically do athletic sports need to be the only sports worth caring about competitively). Sport is really anything we can put each other towards in an organized competition of something otherwise leisurely. Its removing the fun from having fun, in pursuit of being better (which participants find a sort of ‘fun’ in, and especially spectators). Athletic sports are the most popular sports because of their dynamic and entertaining nature, but we include the least interesting actions like running, and least athletic games like chess as sports. ‘E-sports’ isn’t to split it away from ‘sports’, but just to communicate that electronic sports are sports too. Technically you can be ‘sporting’ about anything you do with others, but you might want to see if there’s a lot of cultural and financial support behind your thing if you want to put major structure (media, facilities, etc) behind it.

If we’re looking for definitions from athletic sporting organizations, I think we’re looking at the wrong place. Their bias may be there, or even essential for known or unknown reasons.

Reader
Robert Mann

Follow the $$$$$! To even compare the physical demands with most sports… there’s some cash moving here.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Alex Js.

Of course IOC are considering it, it gives an extra HUGE bribing opportunity for them. They can, for example, decide that there could be the only one official, “Olympic” MOBA game, then just wait and see who will “donate” more $$$ to individual IOC members “behind the scenes” – Valve or Riot ;-)

Reader
Knox Harrington

The Olympics really lost all credibility when men were no longer allowed to wrestle naked. It’s been all downhill from there so of course they’ll eventually add video games.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Ashfyn Ninegold

“E-ports are showing strong growth, especially within the youth demographic across different countries, and can provide a platform for engagement with the Olympic Movement”

Translation: money

Reader
Randy Ward

1.
an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.

Is this a competition? Sure, in the same way playing chess, hungry hungry hippos, or simon says hand electronic game is a competition. But it is definitely NOT a sport. And I’m a gamer. But I’m not letting any bias cloud my judgement on this.

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Having played competitive games as well as real life sports, I can only say that they feel quite similar. Being on edge all the time, trying to see everything at once, react very quickly while already thinking about your next move, etc. They have a lot in common. (Note: this does only apply to real time games, not stuff like Hearthstone… that’s more comparable to chess than sports).

Games are also physical exertion, in a way. You just use only a small part of your body (fingers / wrists). But that small part has to be very well developed to have the speed and mind-muscle connection required to compete. Just like with other sports.

Reader
BDJ

Things change all the time. A definition can change and countless definitions have evolved over time. The definition of sport will change eventually to include eSports. I dunno why people hate the idea of it being included as a sport. I could name an activity or two that people call a “sports” yet they take hardly any athletic exertion.

Take sharpshooting for example. It requires less movement than what league players do with their hands.

Reader
Sray

Just going to copy and paste what I wrote in the last article MOP did on the subject, it still applies.

Logistically, I don’t think it’s possible for e-sports to be an Olympic event. We’ll definitely see the rise of some type of worldwide governing body and an “ultimate” competition that it runs, but I don’t see it as being part of the Olympics itself.

A few thoughts off the top of my head:

First: as others have pointed out there’s not actually a such thing as “e-sport” in the public domain like there is “hockey” or “swimming” or “figure skating”: there’s simply organized competitions built around particular video games that are owned and operated by individuals/organizations, making them private property. No one owns basketball or long jumping, but Activision-Blizzard most definitely owns Call of Duty and Overwatch. Olympic sports being public domain concepts allows for the IOC to have a governing body that dictates the rules and content of the competition: can anyone here imagine that a company like Valve or EA is going to allow the IOC to tell them how large the hit boxes must be in their popular shooters? Or whether or not they can even have loot boxes in their games?

That leads me to my second thing: you can’t just use the latest patched version of “competitive game X” at an Olympic sporting event: the final rules and basic conditions of any Olympic competition are finalized months in advance so that all athletes have time train and prepare to compete on one exact rules set. This means that any game that is used in an Olympic competition would either need to be owned and maintained by the IOC, or else whatever game is used would have to be donated by an organization that would also maintain a separate, non-commercial version for IOC events (can be a lot of work for something that would not likely be a profitable venture in the private sector).

Finally: Olympic athletes are supposed to be amateurs, and there is no structure for organized amateur e-sports: you’re either a hobbyist or a professional. E-sports are literally the only instance where you can be spotted being good at something that you’re playing for fun, and immediately be awarded a professional sports contract, all from the comfort of your living room. Yes, there’s presently an exception for basketball and hockey in regards to professional athletes, but the IOC is presently reconsidering those waivers as that means that only one country has a real shot at gold for basketball (USA), and only six have a shot in hockey (USA, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Czech Republic, and Slovakia); and the same would likely happen in e-sports if you make a waiver for professionals: you’d wind up with a short list of competitive countries (mainly Japan, South Korea, and USA), and the rest of the world can go suck it.

Regardless of your feelings of whether or not e-sports are real sports or not, I just don’t them becoming part of the Olympics.

Reader
BDJ

You act like things cannot change. We used to walk everywhere, then started riding animals, then boats , wagons, bikes, cars, planes, etc. Things change all of the time.

Your TLDR is pretty much “I dislike eSports, I don’t want it to be recognized”.

Reader
Sray

No. I actually quite admire e-sports professionals. I’m by no means against an “Olympics of/for e-sports”, but the set up of the Olympics does not support the inclusion of e-sports. If you would like to continue this discussion, please refrain from ad hominem replies.

Reader
silverlock

Let me throw a monkey wrench into all this, how would you pick the games to be played? Really think about it no way will nations agree on the official Olympic computer game. China just banned PUBG so that’s out, Overwatch is out because some characters are gay, lol maybe but the Chinese and the Russians would both want locally produce games.

So even if they accept ESports in concept I just don’t see them ever being able to pick a game, and the politicking of game companies trying to get their game picked would be a nightmare.

Reader
BDJ

League and CSGO, maybe Dota 2. Thats all you need. They are by far the most watchable, most successful esports ever made. PUBG might have a lot of players but its very far from spectator friendly.

Reader
Sray

Crossfire is a far more likely game than CSGO as FPSes go: it has something like 10 times the install base that CSGO does.

Reader
BDJ

Install doesn’t = viewership. Install base doesn’t = viewership. When is the last time you saw anything related to crossfire. CSGO is top 5 on twitch and other platforms constantly.

Reader
Sray

Twitch viewership largely only accounts for North America and Europe. Crossfire is wildly popular outside of the Western markets, where its viewership on primarily Asian streaming services is huge.

Reader
silverlock

Correct me if I’m wrong but aren’t all of those owned by US based companies? Theirs no way that would be acceptable. Remember national pride is on the line there.

Reader
BDJ

League is owned by Riot who is owned by Tencent, which is a Chinese company. Regardless of who owns what game, they are international games, from representatives from a whole ton of countries. National pride is on the line with the competition, not which company develops. Come on maaaaaaaaaan.

Reader
Hirku

Live to win, ’till you die, ’till the light dies in your eyes
Live to win, take it all, just keep fighting till you fall

l2w.jpg
Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Do you people ever watch esports? Because none of the participants look like that.

Reader
Hirku

Calm down, skippy. It was an image made for fun.

Reader
Hirku

.

wheaties.jpg
Reader
Loyal Patron
Armsbend

As cities are quickly exiting the Olympic games as potential hosts I imagine the viewers are tiring of the endless cavalcade of silly sports as well. I see a decline in the Olympics over the next few decades until it is irrelevant again. Sports may be on their way out in general. It seems, at least on the US front (politics aside), that people are tiring of watching them.

Reader
A Dad Supreme

“It seems, at least on the US front (politics aside), that people are tiring of watching them.”

I wouldn’t go that far.

The main difference is that nowadays there are far more venues and opportunities to watch sports.

Football used to be only in your home market and once on Monday night each week so that meant only two games. Now there is Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and several games you can see in addition to your home team each week. The same for Baseball, the NBA and Autoracing.

People aren’t tired of watching sports as in losing interest; it’s just that they can tune in anytime they want to exactly the games they want to see so there isn’t any reason to watch everytime it’s on.

The US is simply flooded with the amount of sports you can see so people can pick and choose.

I’d say Americans are more bored with Olympic sports in general because most don’t understand what they are seeing or the rules. You might watch Bobsledding for 20 minutes then change the channel only because you don’t normally get to see Bobsledding.

Reader
Loyal Patron
Armsbend

I don’t know I think over-saturation is a problem. That’s my opinion. The NFL’s ratings were going down before the controversy.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Ashfyn Ninegold

Rio was really a jump-the-shark moment for the Olympics. The rot and corruption at the core of the IOC stinks up everything it touches.

Reader
Helder Frozenheart

And the result is there for everyone with a functioning brain cell to see: a broken city.

Reader
Bruno Brito

The world cup was also pretty damaging to us here.

Reader
Helder Frozenheart

Oh yeah, a very healthy sport indeed…

Reader
BDJ

The haters just had their jim jams rustled to unimaginable levels.

This should be a great thread!

Reader
Patreon Donor
Veldan

Indeed!

popcorn_2.gif
miol
Reader
miol

With con crud on the rise even in small events, spreading Zika and bankrupting hosting countries, surely we need e-sports to make people lose interest in the Olympic Games, so they are forced to scale those events down and possibly avoid future pandemics! ;P

Reader
A Dad Supreme

Not impressed or suprised.

Slide the IOC enough money under the table, and they’d consider Sleeping as a sporting event. And if there’s one thing we know that e-sports is all about is money.

https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/sep/07/corruption-olympic-movement-ioc

045-0614055911-olympic-bribe11.jpg
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
Ashfyn Ninegold

Bingo! (Is that an Olympic sport yet?)

Reader
Helder Frozenheart

That’s what I thought exactly, the price of that opinion.

wpDiscuz