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.