Athletic “purists” and video game players have debated back and forth for years over whether or not esports are actual sports or something else entirely, but it appears we’re getting one step closer to getting a decisive answer. In July, the International Olympic Committee will host an esports forum in a potential step toward including video games in the Olympics.
The Associated Press reported Wednesday, June 27, that the event will be co-hosted by the IOC and the Global Association of International Sports Federations on July 21, and it will take place at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.
The purpose of the forum will be to bring representatives from the Olympics to discuss esports with leaders in the video game industry, as well as players and sponsors.
Video games likely won’t be included in the Olympics immediately if the forum is successful, with 2024 potentially being the first year to add them, and you probably don’t want to get your hopes up for a game like Fortnite or Street Fighter V making its way to the games. In August 2017, IOC president Thomas Bach said the organization wants to “promote nondiscrimination, nonviolence, and peace among people,” and that video games that involved “violence, explosions, and killing” would not be welcome.
Of course, the Olympics aren’t the only place where esports players have a chance to show off their skill, and other leagues offer big cash rewards. The Overwatch League, currently in its inaugural season, is Blizzard’s attempt to create a sense of regional support for esports teams. In addition to several teams located in the United States, the league also includes teams from China, the United Kingdom, and South Korea. They all currently play in Los Angeles, but plans are in the works for teams to travel to other cities for competition, just like “real” sports teams do. The Shanghai Dragons recently turned heads with its horrendous 0-40 record, cementing its place as one of the worst professional sports teams in history.
Which games would you like to see included in the Olympics? Would you like to see virtual versions of soccer like FIFA 18 on display, or would you prefer something a little bit more fantastical?
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