The idea of bringing esports to the Olympic has been failed by the International Olympic Committee who said that it would be ‘premature’. However, IOC did not totally refuse esports, as they stated there should be ‘accelerated cooperation’ with games that are based on sports.
IOC announced the decision at its meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland. For anyone who supports the idea of featuring esports in the Olympic, the announcement had definitely disappointed them. Before the IOC meeting, some experts even forecasted that the revenue of the esports industry might reach $180 million by 2021. Thus, the optimism can expect this growing industry to hold an entire new Esports Olympic, instead of being just a sport in the traditional Olympic.
Some reasons behind the refusal of IOC
In a conference in July 2018, the IOC had invited a lot of experts in the esports industry, showing some chances of letting esports in the Olympics. Yet, against the hope of esports lovers, in the IOC summit in Lausanne, it is clear that there still are obstacles that prevent esports from being featured in the Olympics.
One main reason to refuse esports is that it is considered to be violent. Take the famous CS: GO for example. The game involves too much killing and fighting, which is against the regulations of the Olympics: non-violent.
Another reason lies like esports: the ever-changing formats of the games. In recent years, many new games have become a new trend such as Overwatch, PUBG, Fortnite, and it is difficult for the Olympics to be able to cope with these rapid changes. New rules will also have to be continuously given to regulate the original games.
Besides, the commercial motive behind each esports game is also being taken into consideration. Publishers like Blizzard Entertainment makes a profit not only on their games but also by holding the tournaments such as Overwatch League and World Cup competitions. While traditional sports are usually ‘values-based,’ these seem to be contrary to the nature of a ‘true’ sport.
Will esports get its own Olympic tournament?
The sad announcement from the IOC does not mean an end for the esports industry. Instead, it was the news from the IOC that they would consider the simulation games that shed light into the esports community. Many games mimic the sporting activities, and some minor changes can be made for these games to fit alongside traditional sports.
There is still some confusion regarding whether esports should be considered a ‘mind-sport’ game such as chess and bridge, it is clear that the sport’s lawmakers would prefer the non-violent games.
Such considerations of IOC coincides with the desire of this committee to target the younger audiences. Just by looking at the fact that esports will probably make more money than rugby in the next 3 years, the popularity of this industry is undeniable, and the youth is behind this massive growth since it has gradually become a common activity of them.
Esports have every reason to open its own worldwide tournament and do not have to depend on the traditional Olympic. In this way, legendary esports such as Lol, CG:GO and Dota 2 would be involved without concerning the traditional Olympic core rules and can be competed worldwide at a higher level.
Esports and its undeniable growth
Having not considered esports a real competitor, the traditional sporting world might be surprised by the impressive growth of it. The SEA Games 2019 will be one of the pioneers and feature esports for the first time ever, yet the public is still in doubt whether esports is truly appreciated.
Witnessing the dominance of esports, it seems like IOC will have to change their decision sooner or later. If they still want to keep their core values, the only way is to hold a separate Olympic for esports only.
Instead of trying to modify the existing rules, having a dedicated esports tournament would also enable the Olympics to draw more attention from the youth.
Big brands are also into the growth of esports that it is suggested that by 2021, the 10 most valuable brands worldwide will sponsor the esports industry. The rise of esports would probably help them overcome the hesitation from IOC.