It is no secret that sport is a booming business in the digital age. From video games to competitive table tennis, the world is going crazy for new and exciting games, events, and leagues. And the gaming industry is no exception. Every single year, it seems like more gaming events are popping up, and in the next few years, there is a good chance that esports will make their way to the Olympic Games, too.
Once considered a fringe, niche interest, video games are now an increasingly established part of the overall sports scene. Millions of people worldwide enjoy playing video games, and the industry is worth hundreds of millions of dollars. And that is not including the money made through advertising through the streaming platforms that make it easier for people to play together.
There is a new sport in town, and it is called e-sports. Springing up over the past decade, it is not just a game-it is a way of life. With millions of fans worldwide and hundreds of millions of viewers watching online, there is no denying that e-sports have rapidly become a global phenomenon. But how long will it be before we see e-sports make their way into the Olympics? Will gamers and gaming be considered good enough to be given such a prestige?
As we all know, gaming eSports is no stranger to the world of professional sports, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has yet to add them to the program. In fact, competitive gaming was accepted as a sport at the 2022 Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia. Still, the IOC ruled that the games could not have a Sport for Life aspect, which is everything from the organization to the governing body to the events.
There is a growing concern that the global video game industry is on the road to real-life professionalization, with the very real potential of one day being deemed a sport (like golf, tennis, and basketball) and being included in the Summer Olympics. In fact, even with the traditional sports like golf, there have been steps taken in the digital world toward creating simulator software (find more information here) that offers a real course feel, with additional metrics for improved play, of course. So who knows, these may soon be adapted into the esports world, too. It is a concern that has been around for a while. Still, with the ongoing surge of popularity and interest in eSports, it is about to be taken up by many people, including the International Olympic Committee. There is now an official committee created to investigate the possibility of including video games as an Olympic event, and it is currently reviewing games like League of Legends and Overwatch.
After a rather turbulent time throughout 2016 and the first part of 2017, with fears of a “Zoo Brit” following the successful Rio 2016 games, we now come to a time in the Games’ history where it is looked upon with more enthusiasm ever. Alongside the Olympic Games, the recent World Championships and the League of Legends Championship Series are opportunities for e-sports players to show their talents to the world. With all these opportunities, it would be no surprise if esports were to make it to the Olympics in the future: the equipment, the skill, the dedication, and the dedication to improving all these factors are all things that have changed the future of esports.
The rise of Esports has exploded the past few years, with tournaments selling out shows and millions of viewers tuning in to watch. It is easy to see why: Gaming is clearly an exciting activity, and the explosive growth of streaming sites like Twitch illustrates that there is an audience out there that would love to watch e-sports in the Olympics.
Esports is being recognized as the fastest-growing sport, with viewership numbers that rival the NBA. With all the hype surrounding the new League of Legends Championship Series, like you can see it here, it is hard not to believe that esports could make it to the Olympics. If that happens, we could be in for a sporting revolution.
Esports may make it to the Olympics. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is planning on forming a committee to decide if the competitions should be included in the future. However, the International Federation of E-sports (IFeX) needs to convince the IOC that “eSports are just as legitimate as traditional sports” to get the games in the Olympics. “The IOC has its own definition of what sports are,” said IFeX Director-General Ralf Reichert. “We need to be able to show it’s actually professional sports.”