Esports Takes Step Closer to Olympic Inclusion

The prospect of esports being included in future Olympic Games has taken another step closer to becoming a reality after tech giants Intel held talks with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Games’ governing body. The two parties came together to discuss the possibility of esports being introduced to the Games. The IOC has previously admitted to holding reservations about making esports a medal event due to the violent nature of some gaming content, although the governing body has so far refused to reject the idea out of hand.

Intel, a partner of the Olympics, showcased esports at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, staging an Intel Extreme Masters in conjunction with the IOC to highlight the opportunity technology can offer the Olympics. In 2017, the IOC agreed that esports could be considered a sporting activity, but made a point of stating that it must not infringe on what they describe as “Olympic values.” It’s unclear whether anything has changed to result in these talks, but it certainly does give plenty of encouragement for those who have campaigned for esports’ inclusion.

The world of gaming is huge business right now, influencing large sections of the current cultural landscape. From movies to comics, music to art, gaming is no longer seen as something done by a small but dedicated community. It’s the same story in online casinos, with wider trends in gaming playing a huge role in the layout of traditional games such as poker, blackjack, roulette and poker. If you visit leading online casino names such as Redbet, you’ll be able to play casino slots that bear much more than a passing resemblance to modern video games of the sort we play on PCs and consoles.

In the latest Newzoo Global Esports Market Report, the one for 2019, revenues from esports are being tipped to be more than US$1 billion, with the global audience exceeding 450 million. With such huge numbers, both financially and in terms of participation, it’s no surprise the IOC are open to the idea. The prospect of gaming becoming a genuine Olympic event would have been unheard of only a few years ago, but there is a growing feeling it’s becoming a very real idea. The latest development comes amid reports that the Paris 2024 Olympic Organising Committee has also held meetings to discuss the involvement of gaming at the event, as it aims to establish the French capital as a European esports hub.

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“Blizzard Overwatch Gamescom gaming” (CC BY 2.0) by dronepicr

China-based esports company Alisports teamed up with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) last year to exhibit esports as a demonstration event in the 2018 Asian Games. The event, held in Jakarta, was also run as something of a trial run aimed at to strengthening the case for esports to be included as an exhibition event in the 2024 Paris Olympics. In a bid to change the negative perception of gaming with many people, the OCA has also revealed it will move away from violent games in the hope it is named as a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games to be held in China.


Featured Image: “Olympic Rings” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by spcbrass

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