The Olympic committee has discussed it many times over the years and they have finally considered the option of video games and esports as a viable option during the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games. But, there’s some fine print to read beforehand.
With the idea that esports has finally hit it big, between paid contracts, cable network shows, and full athletic leagues dedicated to the sport, it was only a matter of time before the Olympics took to the idea of including it.
Now, they’ve put some ground rules that might cause some difficulty in developing the idea to be fully functional. No violent video games. This leaves out esports mainstays like League of Legends, StarCraft II, Halo series, Street Fighter series, as well as a slew of notable “violent” genres and games.
"We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people," said, without irony, Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee and former Olympic fencer. "This doesn't match with video games, which are about violence, explosions, and killing. And there we have to draw a clear line.”
This thought process can possibly curtail major esports ideals and focus on the lesser utilized genres. But, on a positive side, this opens up racing games and sports games more to a forefront than the average shooter or MOBA. Additionally, competitive games that don’t focus on violence like Rocket League, Splatoon 2, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe have a chance to shine with the portability and competition options of the Nintendo Switch. Silver lining, as the saying goes.
Bach, (again) a former Olympic fencer, has shown his disinterest in the violent side of games as whole, believing that sports games like basketball and baseball are the real esports titles. He believes those that play may be interested in the real thing. This is a far cry to the reality of esports-based games that are played in majority.
While the official word has not yet been spoken, esports will definitely play a part at the 2022 Asian Games, which has been signed off by the Olympic Council of Asia themselves. The Asian Games are only beaten by the Olympics in attendance, meaning that the inclusion of esports will at least get some time to shine. The inclusion of esports is possibly due to the overgrown demographic out of China and South Korea. In 2018, they will include an exhibition of esports, which will include FIFA 18, an unannounced MOBA (think League of Legends or DOTA 2) title, and a Real Time Strategy game (akin to Starcraft 2 or Command and Conquer). No word on exact games that will be included in 2022.
I guess boxing, wrestling, fencing, archery, Judo, Taekwondo, karate, American football, rugby, and hockey are just too non-violent to not make the cut. Only time will tell what the official list will entail, if anything actually comes of it.