The esports community was all excited about the fact that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had finally acknowledged esports as a sport and decided to incorporate an array of esports titles in the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Sadly, things didn’t go according to plan and the IOC recently announced that it was not ready to incorporate esports in the Olympic games just yet. The IOC in its 8th summit came to the conclusion that instead of the more generic esports titles like DOTA 2, CSGO, and LOL, it was for the best to promote VR sports-based titles which emulate and stimulate traditional sports.
A recent blog post regarding the 8th summit of the IOC read “With regard to electronic games simulating sports, the Summit sees great potential for cooperation and incorporating them into the sports movement. Many sports simulations are becoming more and more physical thanks to Virtual and Augmented Reality which replicate the traditional sports.” The statement further continued and read “With regard to other electronic games, the Summit concluded 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, including a health management model for elite esports competitors including both physical and mental health.”
IOC president Thomas Bach further explained that the decision was made because “some egames are not compatible with the Olympic values,” claiming that certain titles “promoted violence or discrimination.” These statements makes us question the stance of the IOC about esport as a sport in general and their skeptic treatment of the topic. What remains to be seen is if the exponential growth of esports as a sport in the coming years is capable of changing the stubborn stance of the IOC about it.