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No esports in Olympics because 'killer games' promote violence

“They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted”

The president of the International Olympic Committee has made it clear that there is currently little hope of esports ever being included in the iconic sporting event.

Speaking to the Associated Press during the 2018 Asian Games, Thomas Bach said there is a crucial barrier that is stopping video games competitions from even being considered at this point.

"We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination," he said. "They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted."

Bach himself is an Olympic gold medalist, having won in the team fencing competition at the 1976 Olympic Games. When asked about this, he emphasised the difference between this form of sword fighting and the violence in video games.

"Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people," he said. "But sport is the civilised expression about this. If you have egames where it's about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values."

The Olympic president has taken this stance before, exactly one year ago, but there continues to be demand for esports to be considered as an Olympic sport. An Olympic Esports Forum was held last month, where leading games firms made their case, and even the team behind the 2024 Paris Olympics have bid for their inclusion.

While the biggest esports at the moment often do centre around killing other players - ranging from Dota 2 and League of Legends to Counter-Strike GO, Overwatch and Fortnite - there are some non-violent titles making waves in the competitive space, such as Rocket League or even digital versions of real-world sports like FIFA and PES.

Esports have become a demonstration sport at this year's Asian Games, with competitions being held around Arena of Valor, Clash Royale, Hearthstone, League of Legends, PES and StarCraft II.

Last year, it was announce competitive gaming would become a medal sport in the 2022 games but this has since been brought into question by the lack of an overarching governing body.

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James Batchelor

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James Batchelor has been a journalist in the games industry since 2006, joining GamesIndustry in 2016, and also runs Non-Violent Game of the Day (@NVGOTD). He does play violent games, but always on Story/Easy mode.

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