The Olympics Are Serious About Considering Esports


The International Olympic Committee's interest in bringing esports to the Olympics continues to grow, with the organization recently hosting a forum to discuss the process by which that might actually take place. Who said countless rounds of Rocket League would never pay off?

A recent post on the official website for the Olympics covered a forum that was just held including the IOC and the Global Association of International Sports Federations. According to the post, the groups came together to discuss the possibility of introducing esports to the Olympic Games. What's important to note here is that the IOC hosted this event which, to us, means they're taking the possibility very seriously. Kicking an idea around is one thing, but this event included two major organizations and 150 folks tied to esports or gaming in general, including players, publishers, sponsors and the like.

The whole purpose of the forum was to discuss the continued growth of esports and the evolution of the Olympics. Highlighted was a discussion on whether or not esports could be considered "a sport" and, if so, where that might fit into the ecosystem of the Olympics.

One of the biggest obstacles to overcome is the fact that, while esports are on the rise, there is not a globally recognized umbrella under which they operate. This would need to be an organization that holds true to the "Olympic values, rules and regulations," according to the original story. Getting the ball rolling on something like that will take some time, which is why nobody is even referencing the upcoming 2020 games. The 2024 games in France, though, could be a reasonable goal if everyone wants to get on the same page.

We've reported on these ongoing talks in the past and one of the biggest concerns is that, in the Olympics, sports can't focus on killing or death. That's a concern because the biggest esports in the world focus on exactly that. From Overwatch to League of Legends, Counter-Strike to Fortnite, most of the biggest games in the world of esports are about blasting your opponents into tiny little pieces. It might be harder to drum up support from the gaming side of the audience when the games the majority of the crowd wants to watch aren't available for consideration.

Still, we'd be left with driving games like Gran Turismo or Forza, or even sports games like Madden, Fifa and even Rocket League. Fighting games might be another option, as the object in just about everything but Mortal Kombat is to knock your opponent out, not kill them.

Or, maybe we're looking at something completely new here. Perhaps the Olympics would like to partner with developers to create new games specifically built to be included in Olympic competitions. Or maybe an "Official Olympics Mode" could be created for games like Overwatch that keeps the gameplay the same but replaces player death with, I don't know, something else. Something to consider, anyway.

Ryan Winslett

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.