The possibility of esports inclusion in Olympics has received a major boost. The one big obstacle is cleared as an Olympic Summit in Lausanne has acknowledged the legitimacy of eSports as a sporting activity.
There still are a few key issues and riders for the gaming bosses to realize their dream getting a formal nod for esports entry in Olympics as a medal sports. However, it may still happen as early as at Paris 2024.
The top functionaries of the Olympic movement, while recognising the growth of esports, discussed and deliberated on various positives about electronic gaming.
Gaming fraternity is excited about the latest development. “This was bound to happen and we are excited to see this happening very soon. Esports is the fastest growing sport and cannot be ignored. The numbers and engagement in eSports are huge. The game is rising at a rapid pace. Esports’ inclusion at the Paris Games will be a realisation of realistic goal. We are confident that this will happen. The potential, rapid growth and popularity of gaming cannot be ignored,” Lokesh Suji of the Esports Federation of India told insidesport.co.
Esports will be a medal event at the 2024 Asia Games. The members at the Lausanne Summit have asked the International Olympics Committee and the Global Association of International Sports Federations to work together in exploring the industry further.
The summit while acknowledging the growth of gaming sports has stated that “esports is showing strong growth, especially within the youth demographic across different countries, and can provide a platform for engagement with the Olympic Movement.”
The members while acknowledging E-gaming as a ‘competitive’ sport also highlighted the fact that the “players prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports.”
“Esports was there as a demonstration sport this year at Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games-2017 at Ashgabat and will be there at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. The 2022 China Asian Games will have esports as a medal discipline. For esports things are moving in the right direction and in India ESFI is already gearing up for that,” adds Suji, also the VP-South Asia for Asian Esports Federation and Founder/Chief Gamer of Indian League Gaming.
However, the IOC President would still like to force a number of changes for allowing esports to be a part Olympic moment. He was a guest at the summit. “In order to be recognized by the IOC as a sport, the content of esports must not infringe on the Olympic values,” said Bach, who in the past has been a strong opponent of egaming. “We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people. This doesn’t match with video games, which are about violence, explosions and killing,” Bach had said earlier.
If Bach’s words are valued, games lime CS:GO, Call of Duty, Leagues of Legends and Overwatch may never get an Olympic recognition.