The International Olympic Committee has for the next Olympic Esports Series, which will take place in Singapore in June. Programming features facsimiles of real-world competitive events rather than what many people might consider traditional such as real-time strategy titles, fighting games, and first-person shooters.
The initial batch of nine games connects to disciplines overseen by international sports federations. They understand and online chess from Chess.com. Some titles that appeared in previous IOC-sanctioned events are back, including And , which requires participants to physically pedal a stationary bike. Archery, baseball, sailing, taekwondo and tennis complete the list. Qualifications for the various titles, which include mobile games like tennis clashstart today.
“The Olympic Movement brings people together in peaceful competition,” said David Lappartient, Chair of the IOC Esports Liaison Group. “The 2023 Olympic Esports Series is a continuation of this, with the ambition to create more playing spaces for elite competition players and fans.”
The Esports Series follows the Olympic Virtual Series, which took place in 2021 in the lead up to the Tokyo Olympics. This esports event included baseball, cycling (on Zwift), rowing, sailing, and motorsports. The IOC says the series has attracted more than 250,000 participants from 100 countries.
Although the organization is still in its infancy with the idea Strictly speaking, the series is part of the IOC’s efforts to engage with young people and perhaps provide them with a gateway into the sport. A strategic plan () approved by the IOC includes a recommendation to “encourage the development of virtual sports and further engage with video game communities”. Part of this involves an effort to “strengthen the roles and responsibilities of (international federations) in establishing virtual and simulated forms of sports as a discipline within their regulations and strategies”.
“The primary idea is really to bridge the sport and the gaming space,” said Vincent Perieira, IOC virtual sport and gaming manager. . “We don’t make (a) opposition between sport and gaming. The point is really… how we can encourage people to do both to keep a good balance.
On the one hand, it makes sense to anchor the Esports series in virtual versions of traditional sports disciplines. The basic rules of virtual cycling, chess and tennis should be generally easy to understand for participants and viewers.
However, the IOC may be missing a trick in choosing not to feature figures like League of Legends, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Minecraft, Fortnite Or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. These games (and many others) have a large built-in audience that may not particularly care about the Olympics otherwise. Maybe we’ll see one day , And GeoGuessr as medal events at the Olympic Games, but not anytime soon.
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