The last Olympic Games may have changed the future of Olympic competitions. When the games got underway in Tokyo, there were a few notable additions to the roster of events. Along with surfing and skateboarding, the Olympic Games included the Olympic Virtual Series.

Though it might sound like it was part of a VR competition, the virtual series was the name given to Tokyo’s eSports competitions. That meant that the athletes competing weren’t just physical athletes, but a totally new genre: eSports athletes. Though the events were held outside the official games, and finished before the Olympic torch was held, it marked a huge shift in eSports perception around the world.

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Building the Appropriate Regulatory Bodies

In fact, some people are now looking at the 2023 European Games to see if eSports will make the lineup of events. Working in the favor of gamers is the fact that the European Olympic Committee is now eyeing eSports as a potential candidate for future competitions.

This is a big deal for sports and eSports fans around the continent. Usually, ‘gaming’ coverage relates to casino gaming, as all EU Online Casinos must work closely with the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA). The EGBA provides a single point for regulation of casinos across each country—something that the European Olympic Committee does for Olympic games.

So, will eSports be included in the next European Games?

Building on the Tokyo Olympics

As mentioned above, the Tokyo Olympics incorporated eSports into a limited (and pre-Olympic Games) series. This included the world’s most popular eSports games like ‘Street Fighter’ and ‘Rocket League’. And, rather than compete for a gold medal, players were fighting for a share of a $500,000 prize pool.

Officially, the games were known as the Intel World Open. And though the series was wildly popular for gamers, there were more than a few hurdles. First, the Intel World Open was held entirely online, which meant many players struggled with issues related to lagging.

This presents one of the biggest considerations for the European Olympic Committee to consider when weighing eSports for the 2023 European Games: can they prevent lag in order to host a fair competition?

All Eyes on 2023 European Games (& Poland)

In order to host a viable eSports event at the 2023 European Games, which will be held in Poland, is to invite players to compete in-person. One of the biggest challenges for organizers at the Intel World Open was ensuring internet connections were viable. Lag creates challenges for gamers—and even a split-second can cost a competitive player a match.

However, there’s one huge silver lining for the European Olympic Committee as they decide whether to host eSports next year: the setting. The 2023 European Games will be hosted by Poland. Poland just happens to be one of Europe’s top eSports destinations. The country has dedicated time and money into creating eSports-ready arenas in locations like Gdansk and Katowice.

The 2023 ESP Pro Tour, for example, takes place at IEM Katowice in January and February of 2023. Gdansk, meanwhile, hosts smaller events like the Zadyma Cup, but has plenty of arenas that are ready to host major events once again.

Struggles Ahead

The European Games is one of the primary stomping grounds for Olympic athletes to prove that they’re ready for a performance on the global stage. It’s a direct path to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics… which means that it should also serve as a qualifying event for eSports athletes.

At the moment, eSports is not included on the official docket of events for the 2023 European Games.