Should Video Games be in the Olympics?

With the Olympics in Japan just around the corner, we have been asking the question – should video games be in the Olympics? Although many people don’t recognized gaming an actual sport, it’s hard to ignore it growing popularity over the last few years.

Including video games in the Olympic is not an easy decision, it would take more than just ‘okay, let’s do it!’ to do it properly. How would you organize it? How do you prepare eliminations or knockout stages? Which genres should be chosen? Which games? There is an endless list of questions that first need to be answered before it can happen.

The biggest question that probably arises is that, would the average Joe want to see video gaming on an international stage? The answer is probably yes, especially when checking how crowded particular e-sport tournaments and events were in previous years – viewers and prizes are both being counted in millions. Those statistics cannot be ignored and wiped under the carpet – e-sport is a serious and its popularity is growing every year.

Including video games into the Olympics could create situations in which a viewer would be forced to choose which disciplines (sport or e-sport) he watches – because probably multiple events would take place at the same time. Holding e-sport events could theoretically resolve this issue. However, it could create a new problem which would have to be addressed – after over two weeks of traditional disciplines, would people be still interested in another tournament?

One of promotion tricks to propagate the popularity of video games in the Olympics could be asking stars to play Olympic video game – it would be the same model as EA asking football players to play FIFA.

E-sport is developing rapidly and preparing an Olympic schedule for it would be a great stretch for a creative mind. With all the genres and games that are currently on the market, it would take a master-class of agenda-juggling to satisfy everyone’s appetite. Some basic disciplines examples:

  •  Fundamentals – basic single player competition in FPS / RTS / TBS / racing / fighting / logic / etc.
  •  Sport – football, basketball, handball, boxing, whatever comes to mind in term of realistic sports games.
  •  MOBA – team based competitive tournaments.
  •  Combined – like gaming triathlon, when one participant competes in, for example, some FPS, fighting and racing game and the winner is pick based on overall score.

We have seen a mixed reaction of people to this question on social media. Games journalist Pao Bago writing on Twitter: “When will new organizers learn that best teams respond to the best incentives?” Last night’s eSports Olympics announcement was great and all but giving shiny medals and zero money is suspect.”

Chester King, chief marketing officer for non-profit organization the IEGC, said: “In line with other globally established sporting events, the eGames will be a medal only competition, with no prize money, but the opportunity to take home the gold for your country.”

So, another question, which will be popping in our heads is, which games are going to be played in an eGaming tournament. Well, as of now, nothing concrete has been said about that, but in my opinion, the games which are most commonly played around the world like FIFA, Call of Duty, DOTA, etc. will be played at the debut tournament. And as per the discussion with the officials, it has been confirmed that there will be a mix of PC and Console games. So that no one is left behind.

Feel free to share your ideas for disciplines held on gaming Olympics in the comments below.