Although six years may seem like a long way off, all of you aspiring esports athletes better start practicing. Video games may very well be making their way to the worldly stage when the Summer Olympics roll through Paris, France in 2024.
This past weekend, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) held an esports forum at the Lausanne, Switzerland-based Olympic Museum, in an effort to build a mutual understanding and set a platform for future dialogue and engagement between the esports and gaming industry in regards to their value and place within the Olympic Movement.
The Esports Forum came as a direct result of the desire for the IOC to begin exploring the potential of gaming as an Olympic sport, which was presented at the Olympic Summit that took place in October 2017.
Over 150 representatives were present, including players, publishers, teams, media, and sponsors from the gaming industry, as well as the International Sports Federations, committees, athletes, partners, and broadcasters from the Olympic Movement. Collaboration and commonality were the key areas explored during the forum, primarily in an effort to understand how esports and gaming might fit into the Olympic Games.
“One thing in particular was clear from these fascinating discussions - we are united by passion for our sports and a shared love of competition,” GAISF President and IOC Member Patrick Baumann stated. “That’s a positive starting point for further discussions about possible future cooperation between the Olympic and esports communities.”
A list of potential games has not yet been announced, but titles would likely include competitive sports titles such as NBA2K and FIFA, as well as other non-combat, non-violent genres, such as Rocket League. This would presumably exclude current staples within the esports community, such as League of Legends, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which would be a shame considering their viewership rivals that of other traditional sports.
The dialogue surrounding the addition of esports and gaming to the Olympic Games will continue at the Olympism in Action Forum in October 2018, as well as the GAISF IF Forum and the XXIII ANOC General Assembly, both taking place in November. From there, the IOC President will formally put esports on the agenda to be voted into the Olympics in December 2018, with the final list of events being announced 2020. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that video games will be included on that final list.