The IOC is taking the first steps to making the Olympic Esports Games a reality with the announcement of a new commission.
The International Olympic Committee has announced a study by the new IOC Esports Commission to research the potential of an Olympic Esports Games. In his opening speech to the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai, India, IOC president Thomas Bach announced the plans.
“I have asked our new IOC Esports Commission to study the creation of Olympic Esports Games” stated Bach, while talking about the rise of upcoming technologies in the sporting world.
The study by the IOC Esports Commission would be the first step towards seeing esports at the Olympic Games in an official capacity. Earlier in 2023, an exhibition event featuring esports was the first trial by the Olympic Games. In 2022, the Commonwealth games also had an esports component, but it was dropped for 2026.
What will esports in the Olympics be like?
Questions still need to be answered regarding how representative of esports any offering by The Olympics will be, partly due to their past attempts. The Olympics Esports Week in 2023, an exhibition held in Singapore, was the IOC’s first venture into esports.
But that event arguably had nothing to do with what most conventional viewers would consider esports. There was no League of Legends, CS:GO, Dota 2, and instead, Tic Tac Bow and JustDance, took the stage. Gran Turismo and Fortnite did feature as, but overall the organizers of Olympic Esports Week 2023 seemed to have taken the approach to not embrace esports, but redefine it as “video games that look like and imitate other sports.”
The organization even doubled down on calling each event a sport. It made sure to call them Baseball, Sailing, Cycling, Motorsport, Chess, Tennis, Taekwondo, Archery, Shooting, and Dance rather than giving them their games titles.
As a result, while the creation of the IOC Esports Commission is a valuable first step, there’s a long road to go before we see esports at the Olympics.
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