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Olympic esports discussion "premature" says IOC

Olympic Summit encourages "accelerated cooperation" with simulation games, however

Discussions around including esports as a medal event in the Olympics are "premature", according to the International Olympic Committee.

Meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, over the weekend the Olympic Summit decided there were a number of uncertainties which currently preclude esports from inclusion in the Olympics.

Last year International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach raised concerns that violent content of video games run contrary to the Olympic values of "non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people".

While violent content was not explicitly referenced in communications from the summit, the committee found that some esports are "not compatible with Olympic values".

The ephemeral nature of the games industry also poses a problem, the IOC representatives suggested, with the "changing popularity of games" and the development of augmented and virtual realities.

This is an issue compounded by the "fragmented" nature of the games industry and "tough competition between commercial operators".

Finally, the summit argued that the games industry is commercially driven, "while on the other hand the sports movement is values-based".

Even so, the committee did recognise that competitive gaming "entails physical activity which can be compared to that required in more traditional sports", and the Olympic Movement "should continue to engage with this community".

Despite the summit's overall concerns, it was agreed that many do not apply to simulation games, and the IOC said that "accelerated cooperation with regard to these kinds of esports is encouraged".

The summit added that the international sports foundations should explore the benefits of the virtual iterations of their sports, while being careful to maintain appropriate control.

It was decided that the IOC and Global Association of International Sports Federations will invite stakeholders from the esports industry to explore collaborative projects.

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