One of the big topics that has been on the minds of many corporations, sports teams, and publishers, is eSports. The electronic competition sector has been blasting off in popularity, so much so that it even managed to catch the eye of the Olympic committee. However, not every game -- even the most popular ones -- will be considered for the Olympics, even if eSports gets the green light.
According to South China Morning Post, Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, explained in an interview that the current crop of competitive games aren't suitable for the Olympics, especially if the committee was to consider adding eSports as an officially sanctioned sport...
We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people. This doesn't match with video games, which are about violence, explosions and killing. And there we have to draw a clear line.
Bach is obviously talking about violent games such as Battlefield, Halo and Call of Duty, which feature clear sides going against each other using killing and violence to win matches.
However, there are a lot of other games that aren't about killing and explosions that aren't too different from current Olympic sports, such as boxing or Tae Kwon Do. For instance, the game ARMS is a family friendly boxing title where two through four players duke it out using the Joy-Con motion controls to beat their opponent. If the Olympics allow boxing, why not ARMS?
Also, if the Olympics allow for Tae Kwon Do and Judo then why not Street Fighter V? It's fantasy violence and no more graphic than the officially sanctioned competitions.
It's a shame that Bach wasn't informed about the non-violent games or family friendly games that are making their way around the eSports sector. Nevertheless, Bach wasn't entirely dismissive of gaming altogether. He did mention a potential upside of actual virtual sports titles making an appearance at the Olympics as an eSport, saying...
So if ever somebody is competing at playing football virtually or playing other sports virtually, this is of high interest. We hope that, then, these players are really delivering sports performance. If [fans] at the end would even play the sports in the real world, we would even be more happy.
Lucky for Bach, FIFA and Madden NFL both have bustling eSports communities, so maybe we'll see one (or both) games appear at the Olympics at some point in the future?
I'm sure some gamers are wondering about Teen-rated games like Overwatch or MOBAs like League of Legends, but the fact that you still have to kill your foes in those games would likely discount them from being considered. Although, I wouldn't put it past Blizzard to lobby hard to have Overwatch considered for inclusion into the eSports itinerary if the Olympics did decide to give it a green light at some point in the future.