Although electronic sports (e-sports) fall short with respect to traditional sports when it comes to the profits they generate (being these about 800 million dollars per year), its 300 million fans around the world put them on the map as one of the most popular things of the moment. Seeing their great popularity, will they ever be awarded the highest sporting recognition, and will they be accepted at the Olympic Games? This is a really debatable topic, and that was precisely what was discussed at the Web Summit 2018.
The e-sports were a topic of conversation at the Web Summit 2018
“As you can see, the physical aspect that the people who compete in video games have is less than what the people that practice physical sports such as football, but in everything else, such as strategies, team play, the will to win, the excitement of winning and the fear of losing… All that is exactly the same, so there are not many differences compared to traditional sports” said Euronews Ralf Reichart, who is the CEO and co-founder of ESL, which is the largest sports company in the world, in the edition of the Web Summit 2018 held in Lisbon.
On the other hand, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decided to take the necessary measures to learn more about all the electronic sports and, in fact, in June of this year, the IOC and the World Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) held a joint forum where both traditional sports communities and e-sports communities were to increase collaboration between them and “establish a platform for future events.”
How would its integration in the Olympic Games be achieved?
When it comes to the integration of the e-sports in the Olympic Games, a couple of possible scenarios should be discussed: one is that they enter the Games as a medal sport like any other, in addition of being created as a separate event, as the Paralympic Games are, counting with different regulations but still under the umbrella of the IOC.
However, during the Web Summit 2018, the IOC announced that without an organization that represents e-sports around the world, one that could count with the same values, rules and regulations that the Olympic Games have, their inclusion in these it could not be considered in its entirety.
Positive and negative comments about these sports
While the joint forum seemed to be a promising step for electronic sports, just one month later, Thomas Bach, who is the president of the International Olympic Committee, told the Associated Press: “We cannot have a game in the Olympic program that promotes violence or discrimination. From our point of view, they are contradictory to the Olympic values and therefore, cannot be accepted.”
Upon hearing that, Reichart expressed the following: “At the end of the day, it is much less violent than fencing, where it is about hurting someone with a real sword. I think it is still a mistake, and I think that people who have grown up with video games have a different vision of the world.”
The recent negative comments of the IOC leader have not weakened Reichart’s belief, who said: “It’s going to happen, it’s just a matter of time, and the latest developments indicate that they could be seen in the next 2 or 4 years… But I think it will happen without a doubt.”
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