eSports edges towards Olympic recognition but for simulation games only

December 16 –  Olympic esports took a tentative step towards becoming a reality with the IOC suggesting that simulation games based on the actual sport (rather than ‘killer games’) could be included in the Olympic programme.

Chair of the IOC’s esports liaison group, and International Cycling Union (UCI) president, David Lappartient, said: “With regard to electronic games simulating sports, the Summit sees great potential for cooperation and incorporating them into the sports movement.”

To this end the IOC and the General Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) will look to continue dialogue with the esports community. Their feeling is that competitive gaming “entails physical activity which can be compared to that required in more traditional sports”, and the Olympic Movement “should continue to engage”.

Where they see problems arising is over the rapidly changing popularity of games and the technological advances of virtual and augmented reality. The IOC said that the virtual iterations of federations’ sports needed to be carefully monitored.

There is also an issue over who the IOC would be contracting with if a game was admitted to the Olympic programme. Video games are generally under the ownership of corporations with the competitive esports actually making up a small fraction of their business focus. They will develop games to their own market demands rather than to the rules of a sports federation.

Video games that seem most likely to benefit from the IOC approach are the blockbusters like EA Sports’ FIFA series and Konami’s PES, along with MLB The Show and NBA 2K.

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