International Olympic Committee Explores Creation of Olympic eSports Games

At the opening ceremony of the 141st International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Mumbai, President Thomas Bach made a significant announcement. He stated, “I have asked our new IOC eSports Commission to study the creation of the Olympic eSports Games.” Bach’s proposal capitalizes on the burgeoning eSports industry, with over three billion people worldwide involved in gaming. Surprisingly, 500 million of these enthusiasts are exclusively focused on eSports, encompassing virtual sports and simulations.

Youth Engagement: The Major Draw

Bach highlighted that a significant portion of these eSports enthusiasts are below 34 years old, signaling a fresh avenue for the IOC to connect with younger demographics. The President explained, “Today, sport has to compete for the time and attention of young people. Therefore, we have to reach out to the youth where they are in this digital world.” He emphasized that catering to the digital preferences of the younger generation isn’t just about technological adaptation but is a demographic necessity.

Past Endeavours in eSports

  • In 2021, the IOC initiated the Olympic virtual series, marking its inaugural foray into eSports.
  • Subsequently, the Olympic eSports Week was launched in Singapore, successfully amalgamating the Olympic and eSports communities.
  • Despite some criticism over the choice of games, the Olympic eSports Series garnered over six million live-action views across all platforms. Importantly, 75% of this viewership came from the 13-34 age bracket.

The Future of eSports and the Olympics

While the recent initiatives have been promising, Bach recognized that it’s just the beginning. Drawing an analogy with sports, he commented that following a promising start, the real race is still to come. But the IOC is committed to staying true to its values while engaging with eSports. Bach stressed, “With respect to eSports, our values are and remain the red line that we will not cross.” Such dedication to principles has gained respect even within the eSports community.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Future of Sports

Another topic Bach touched upon was the influence of AI in sports. He envisaged the role of AI in potentially revolutionizing athlete training and pondered over its implications on data protection and coaching. Citing examples, Bach questioned the possible impact of AI tools like VAR in football and Hawkeye in tennis on sports like gymnastics, figure skating, boxing, and even fencing. “Will we lose the human touch? Paris 2024 will be the last Games of the pre-AI era. Every spectator can be the director of their own experience.” Bach stated.

Bach cautioned about adapting to the technological tide, saying, “If we don’t, technological and commercial interests will come over us like a tsunami. Sport needs to go where the people are in both the real and digital worlds.

Other Noteworthy Announcements

Bach’s revelations on the eSports Games were momentarily eclipsed when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared India’s intention to bid for hosting the 2036 Summer Olympics. If successful, India would become the fourth Asian nation to stage the Games.

A Holistic Approach to eSport Integration

The key challenge the IOC faces is incorporating eSports while preserving the traditional values and essence of the Olympic Games. Bach emphasized that this integration process would be methodical and sensitive to the legacy of the Olympics. He said, “Our approach ensures that we are active in the eSports domain while staying committed to our core values that have steered us for over a century.”

eSports Game Selection: Striking a Balance

While the Olympic eSports Series had its critics regarding game selection, the IOC’s stance is clear: games that align with Olympic values will be prioritized. Violence, a common theme in many popular eSports titles, will be sidestepped. The goal is to foster a spirit of competition and unity without compromising on principles. Nevertheless, the game selection process will undergo continuous refinement based on feedback and changing global trends in eSports.

Session Continuation

The momentum at the 141st IOC session showed no signs of abating as discussions progressed. Apart from the groundbreaking revelations about eSports and the Summer Olympics bid, several other crucial topics were brought to the fore.

The 141st IOC session will continue until Tuesday. For more details and updates on the developments, visit the official Olympic news portal.

Ryan Lenett
At his core, Ryan’s true passion is helping others achieve their own independent goals in life. His skill sets consist of Scientific research, Gadget Reviews and Technical testing. Year over year, Ryan has consistently amassed revenue streams that exceed seven figures in value.