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Alibaba to focus on non-violent games for Olympic esports bid

First-party publishers of violent games will be "suspected of only pushing your games for your own benefit”

Alibaba's esports arm will back only non-violent games for inclusion at the Olympics, specifically those related to real-world sports.

Speaking to Bloomberg, AliSports CEO Zhang Dazhong highlighted games based on events like football and car racing will be its focus when pushing for an official endorsement for esports at the Olympic Games.

"In our communication with the Olympics committee, we've come to have a better understanding of their values, which is to promote peace," Zhang said. "That's why for the future development of esports, we will focus more on titles that are actually related to sports, instead of games that focus on violence and slaughter."

AliSports has worked with the Olympic Council of Asia to get professional gaming accepted as a medal event at the Asian Games in 2022. As such, it is an influential position when it comes to getting esports into the Olympic Games, and this statement indicates an acceptance of the International Olympic Committee's previous statements about violent gameplay.

"We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people," said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, in August last year. "This doesn't match with video games, which are about violence, explosions, and killing. And there were have to draw a clear line."

The Olympic Committee subsequently issued a statement suggesting that esports "could be considered a sporting activity" in future Olympic events.

This applies to virtually all of the most popular esports. Including League of Legends, Counter-Strike, Dota 2 and Overwatch. Zhang also highlighted the difficulty of the companies responsible for these games in swaying the International Olympic Committee, due to the inherent self-interest of their position.

"We think as a third party esports organizer we're a better match for principles that the Olympics promotes, which is fairness," he said. "If you're a games producer, you're suspected of only pushing your games for your own benefit."

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Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.