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Violent content could hurt esports' bid for the Olympics

Current Olympic Committee will not welcome games about "violence, explosions, and killing"

The possibility of esports being included in the Olympic Games is in doubt, following comments from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach regarding violent content.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Bach plainly suggested that the most popular games in esports do not align with "Olympic values."

"We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people," Bach said. "This doesn't match with video games, which are about violence, explosions, and killing. And there were have to draw a clear line."

If that's where the current Olympic committee draws the line, League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: GO and Overwatch would appear to be on the wrong side. Indeed, Bach implied that only franchises like FIFA and NBA2K, which are digital simulations of traditional sports, would be considered.

"So if ever somebody is competing at playing football virtually or playing other sports virtually, this is of high interest," he added. "We hope that, then, these players are really delivering sports performance. If [fans] at the end would even play the sports in the real world, we would even be more happy."

The team behind Paris' bid for the Olympics has raised the possibility of introducing esports to the event in 2024, but any final decision would be taken by the International Olympic Committee.

"These discussions are going on," Bach said of esports at Paris 2024. "It will still take some time because this industry is now shaping itself. It's a successful industry, but it is not yet really established in an organisational way."

Among Bach's other concerns are a lack of industry regulators, the lack of standardised rules around issues like doping, and the fact that esports are commercial products that could theoretically cease to exist based on the health of their parent company.

Nevertheless, the legitimacy of esports grows by the day, alongside the list of countries that legally recognise professional gamers as athletes. The Asian Games will introduce esports to its programme in 2022.

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Latest comments (5)

Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago
So basically rocket league then. The argument could be made for fighting games since Judo, wrestling, karate are sports. Heck, the argument could be made for WWE2K, much to the chagrin of many.

Honestly, if there's no physical activity, is it a sport? Echo Arena might qualify if it takes off,
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Anthony Gowland Director, Ant Workshop4 years ago
Seems like a the goal is wide open for Rocket League?
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elena loucaidou Snr manager, Wargaming.Net4 years ago
In a world where discrimination and violence happen around us, online gaming is actually one of the few industries where religion, race, ethnic origin, sex or anything else you call it plays no part. It has no barriers and it is important to note.
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 4 years ago
Considering the standards of Thomas Bach, finger crossed for the first Olympic Gold medalist in Dead or Alive Extreme Beach Volleyball 3.

The rest is pure hypocrisy, what is Biathlon, if not running and gunning? The industry is big enough to do their own summer games of gaming. Then again, sports enthusiast can always come together and organize a bigger event, competing businesses can not.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Klaus Preisinger on 31st August 2017 10:18am

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Tudor Nita Lead Programmer, Gameloft Romania4 years ago
Besides the slew of IP related issues and dodgy re-imagining of the word athlete, all I can think of is the Olympic Games 2034 promo:

Slow motion action shot of a 360 no-scope headshot, in all the glorious rendering details of 2034's graphics cards. Bullet-time impact shot of the other virtual human's head while a baritone announcer utters PPPPPenta-kill. The action speeds up and we see the athlete performing a series of seemingly random crouching movements where the other athlete used to be. Might of been a muscle twitch.

What would follow this promo clip ? Again all I can see is an add for Brawndo's:

"Electrolytes. It's what plants crave."

Games are a unifying force across religion, ethnicity and genders. Having said that, I hope I won't live to see some athlete reflex teabagin' his fresh kill, live, at the Olympics. Not all games are meant for mass consumption, so much so through a General Audience widely broadcast event.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tudor Nita on 31st August 2017 9:20pm

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