The International Olympic Committee had supported an esports tournament that paralleled the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games. Esports was an official medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. But there is no public timetable for an Olympic video gaming event.
Thomas Bach, the IOC president, said the organization has made clear its concerns over violence in video games. “We have a clear red line, a very clear red line that we do not want to deal with any game which is contrary to the Olympic values,” Bach said. “Any game where there is violence glorified or accepted, where you have any kind of discrimination, they have nothing to do with the Olympic values.”
The esports scene, as per SCMP, is dominated by first-person shooters and battle arena games such as Counter – Strike: Global Offensive, Dota 2, League of Legends and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, while non-violent games such as Hearthstone constitute only a minor, albeit substantial, part.
However, Yelena Isinbaeva, a member of the committee and a two-time Olympic pole vault gold medalist, said games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2 should at least be considered in the Olympic programme.”In the future, it will be a huge challenge to the Olympic movement and traditional sports, this computer sport, which is not less interesting than the Olympic Games,” she said.
Dr Juanita Cheung Sin-ting, a senior lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told SCMP that esports, though they are sports, are of low physical intensity. “Whether you walk 8,000 or 10,000 steps sitting down, the physical intensity is still low,” she said.
Matthew Payne, an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame’s film, television and theatre department who specializes in video game studies, said the IOC’s clear preference for video games that emulate real-world sports competitions is an attempt to leverage the popularity of esports without taking on any unnecessary baggage that comes with more popular, but perhaps more broadly problematic, games like Fortnite. “If the IOC wants to test the waters with esports, it makes sense that they would begin with titles that have real-world equivalences to appease sceptics, even if those titles aren’t those that attract most professional gamers and fans.”
Furthermore, IOC might feel a backlash from viewers and advertisers if the organization thought that including esports in the world’s most prestigious sporting competition would grant it undeserved cultural legitimacy.