A $1 baseball game shadow dropped by Konami during a Nintendo Direct, WBSC eBaseball: Power Pros was a very odd release in February. That said, the purpose of its launch and low price point is becoming clearer as the International Olympic Committee revealed that it’s one of the featured games in its Olympic Esports Series 2023 lineup.
Starting this month, players can start competing in featured games like Power Pros to qualify for the Olympic Esports Finals 2023, which will take place at Singapore’s Suntec Centre between June 22 and June 25. A more arcade-like and low-poly take on the sport than something like MLB The Show 23, Power Pros was a fairly small-scale and simple game that mainly stood out because of its low price point. Clearly, its international baseball focus and approachability enticed the IOC, who’ve decided to elevate its esports status.
Esports has been popular for quite a while, although the most popular esports titles are games that can’t really be emulated in real life, like Starcraft 2, League of Legends, Call of Duty, and Fortnite. The IOC is taking a decisively different approach with its esports competition, instead choosing to include games that emulate real-world sports, with the IOC calling it a “virtual and simulated sports competition.” That ultimately results in an unexpected esports game lineup that also consists of Tic Tac Bow (archery), Virtual Regatta, Virtual Taekwondo, Zwift (cycling), Gran Turismo (motorsport), Just Dance, Tennis Clash, and Chess played on Chess.com.
This unorthodox approach to esports is why a Konami game like Power Pros, which came out less than a month ago, isn’t the most in-depth baseball simulation out there, and only costs $1, made the cut. Still, there is something exciting about the barrier of entry for an official Olympic competition being this low.
WBSC eBaseball: Power Pros is available now for PS4 and Nintendo Switch.