Esports has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar international industry, but the International Olympic Committee is still hesitant to put video games on the world’s largest stage for competition.
In 2017, the IOC issued a statement saying that competitive gaming “could be considered a sporting activity” and that esports could help the Olympics engage younger people around the world. But a statement following the 8th Olympic Summit earlier this month said the committee would prefer to focus on video games that simulate traditional sports. The committee also floated the possibility of embracing video games that make use of virtual or augmented reality to add a physical component to gameplay.
“With regard to electronic games simulating sports, the Summit sees great potential for cooperation and incorporating them into the sports movement,” the IOC said in a statement. “Many sports simulations are becoming more and more physical thanks to Virtual and Augmented Reality which replicate the traditional sports.”
The statement appears to open the door titles such as FIFA, MLB The Show and NBA 2K to be involved in future Olympic competitions as they represent soccer, baseball and basketball respectively.
However, on esports titles that do not reflect ‘real-life’ sporting disciplines, the committee’s view was that ‘at this stage, the sports movement should focus on players and gamers rather than on specific games.
‘This focus on individuals should promote participation in sport and its benefits as well as a healthy lifestyle at all levels.’
The summit also agreed that a ‘continuous dialogue’ should be maintained between the Olympic Movement and esports communities.
With the update from IOC about esports, not going down well with many stakeholders in the esports industry, gamers still have an opportunity to go for gold during the summer in Tokyo. Intel has announced it will host an esports tournament in Tokyo during the lead-up to the 2020 Olympics. Players will compete in Street Fighter V and Rocket League for a price of $250,000 for each game. Online qualifiers will kick-off early this year, with a live qualifier event in Poland in June.
The final championship tournament will be held on June 22-24th in Tokyo. Similar to the Olympics, players will play on teams that represent their nations. A total of 12 nations will be pre-selected to form national teams. Beginning in March, national qualifiers will determine the best four players of each nation, who will be selected to form that team. During the live qualifier in Poland, twenty teams will compete in a group stage qualifier to determine the strongest team in the Americas, EEMEA (Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and the Asia Pacific region. The final seven teams will compete against Japan in the World Open in Tokyo.
Intel will already have a big presence in the 2020 Olympics, bringing 3D athlete tracking, a 5G network and a possible drone light show. Adding an esports tournament will only add to the American tech giant’s cachet in Japan’s capital city.
Esports Stakeholders in Africa are impressed that the continent will be represented in the event, but which countries and what the selection criteria will be is yet to be declared by Intel.
Many are hoping that the continent will not suffer same treatment as EA Sports with is global championships in FIFA and APEX Legends.
Source: Business Insider & TalkEsports