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Should the International Olympic Committee bring esports to the 2024 Paris Olympics?

The International Olympic Committee is interested, but concerned to bring esports to the Paris games.

Esports%2C+a+growing+field+of+sports+video+game+enthusiasts%2C+may+be+coming+soon+to+the+Olympics.+The+arguments+in+support+of+adding+them+to+the+Olympics+claims+that+esports+requires+fast+reflexes+and+dexterity.+
Esports, a growing field of sports video game enthusiasts, may be coming soon to the Olympics. The arguments in support of adding them to the Olympics claims that esports requires fast reflexes and dexterity.

Esports, a growing field of sports video game enthusiasts, may be coming soon to the Olympics. The arguments in support of adding them to the Olympics claims that esports requires fast reflexes and dexterity.

Courtesy of Slashgear

Courtesy of Slashgear

Esports, a growing field of sports video game enthusiasts, may be coming soon to the Olympics. The arguments in support of adding them to the Olympics claims that esports requires fast reflexes and dexterity.

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Hundreds of spectators watch a new breed of athletes compete for gold, typing and clicking as their respective countries cheer them on. It’s the latest craze in the professional sports world, and soon may be featured in the Olympics.

Esports is a competitive discipline where video gamers take part in intense competitions through online games.

The International E-sports Federation is currently in “deep talks” with the organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympics to make the specialty a demonstration event at the upcoming games, the federation’s acting Secretary General Leopold Chung told Reuters.

While its medals would not be included in the official Tokyo 2020 medal count, this could pave the way for esports to become an official event in future games, and perhaps hold a spot in our backyard in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympics.

CSULB Video Game Development Association President Peter Doria explained the rise in competitive gaming, and in turn the large audience it has culminated.

“We have tens of millions of people watching the World Cup for League of Legends every year,” Doria said. “Most people are gamers at this point. They play games on their phones and may play games on their PCs. Over the past ten years, there has been a big boost in PC, console and mobile games in general.”

Although there has not been a non-athletic section in the Olympics since the art competitions in the second London games in 1948, Doria said esports makes an argument for itself since it has rules and strategies like many of the physical events.

“In a sport, you’re testing people’s reflexes and understanding of the rules and strategy within the constraints of a game,” Doria said.

Esports has also grown a large audience. There are 250 million esports players worldwide, according to the New York Times.

International Olympic Committee President, Thomas Bach, has acknowledged the popularity of esports, but has said he is concerned about video games that promote violence being shared to a national audience.

CSULB E-Sports Association President Lourdes Flores said she supports esports being included, but is unsure of how she feels about violent video games being in the Olympics.

“It’s always been in my head since that topic was brought up,” Flores said. “There’s all sorts of things that promote violence. I could totally see both sides. I know the Olympics promotes peace.”

If violent video games were picked to be shown, the Olympic team might fall on broadcasting online via YouTube or Twitch. While not all Olympic games are shown on prime time new channels around the world, this possible reliance on online services might cause a low viewer count.

The organizers can also disable bloody imagery in some games. Players of the popular esports shooter “Counter Strike: Global Offensive” are able to enter a code in the game’s settings to turn off the blood.

According to BBC, the IOC said esports, “can provide a platform for engagement with the Olympic movement,” but also that it “must not infringe on the Olympic values.”

Esports would not require a separate venue, lessening a burden on the Olympic organizers. All competitions can be held in the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles convention center, which is currently undergoing renovations to host table tennis and handball for the 2024 Olympic Games.

Hosting the gaming event would also not add much additional cost to the 2024 games. The Natural Selection 2, a popular strategy shooter video game tournament in Cologne, Germany cost $67,443 to fly participants to the event, pay for hotels and provide a cash prize, according to PC Gamer. In comparison, the original Paris 2024 Olympic budget was set at 6.8 billion (approximately $8 billion), according to Reuters.

The International Olympic Committee would be able to reduce that cost, because Olympic participants win medals, not cash. Also, sponsors can provide gaming computers, accessories and games.

In the esports world there are many companies that sponsor teams or players. Companies such as Sega, Electronic Arts, Dell, Microsoft and Activision can donate games while hardware brands such as as Team Razer, iBUYPOWER, ASUS/ROG could provide gaming equipment. This means that allowing the esports into the Olympics brings in a host of benefits for the Olympics organization and selected businesses.

Esports is a popular discipline throughout the world and it can be an Olympic event, with some adjustments to make the event broadcast-friendly and fun for fans and participants.

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