Although esports could be considered for the Olympics in the future, the most competitive titles appear to be on the outside of the conversation.
Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, said Monday in an interview with the South China Morning Post that non-sports video games have no place in the Olympics, classifying them as a medium promoting violence.
“We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people,” he said. “This doesn’t match with video games, which are about violence, explosions and killing. And there we have to draw a clear line. Esports that mirror those played in real life – like soccer or basketball – could be considered for the Olympics, but those that involve gratuitous violence and bloodshed (go) against “Olympic values.”
The most watched and popular esports titles are all based in some level of violence — whether as explicit as terrorists versus counterterrorists in Counter-Strike or the more lore-filled MOBAs like League of Legends or Dota 2. Eliminating those from consideration would make any Olympic esports involvement come from a game like FIFA, Madden or Rocket League, games with far less competitive followings.
Esports has already been acknowledged in international sporting events such as the Asian Games, which will continue to feature esports in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China (and, for what it’s worth, will include games with violence). Esports has not been ruled out for inclusion in the Olympics as early as 2024, but Bach clarified that it’s “too early to say” since the gaming industry has “not yet really established in an organizational way.”
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games