So, last year I posted an article, which you can see here, on the PYW Network that delved into eSports and the world around it. Well, as we know, the Olympics ended last week and I saw a discussion about the potential to bring eSports into the Olympics as a formal event. Obviously, this subject isn’t new. It keeps coming up often and when it does people on both sides of the aisle start to speak their minds. If you aren’t familiar with what exactly eSports is then check out this video.
The article to which I refer to is this article by Yahoo! Sports. If you chose not to read the article that’s fine. Basically, it says this: eSports has grown exponentially over recent years. so much so that last year it produced an estimated $500 million in revenue, according to si.com, and continues only to grow. Projected to hit $1 billion by the end of 2018. This is also in part to other sport and entertainment providers losing viewership due to various reasons. The whole point of the article is to usher in the continuous question of whether or not eSports belongs on the roster of Olympic sports. To be fair, the gaming community has already entered into the X-Games family thanks to its partnership between ESPN and X-Games. It has received criticism from other athletes on the basis that normal athletes risk injury and “give it their all”. The training that professional gamers put themselves through isn’t very physical per se but still isn’t easy. The mental capacity of which it takes to play at their level can be very taxing.
This subject as a whole has seen its share of support and backlash from “normal” athletes and supporters alike. So, does the world of professional gaming belong on the Olympic roster of events? According to IOC president Thomas Bach that would be a firm ‘No’. It’s a fair decision given his answer. He says that in the Olympics they “want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people,” which is fair considering most competitive games involve some sort of player-vs-player violence(most, not all). The Asian Games have decided to make eSports a medal event in 2022 and Paris is considering making it apart of the Olympics in 2024.
Check out this promo video for ESL:
Look, I love games. Thanks to the SNES and the Mario franchise games have played(pun intended) a sizable role in my life growing up. But the question still remains: Does professional gaming belong in the Olympics? Reluctantly, I can’t say that it does. At least not now. It is worth noting that not long ago it was laughable to think that snowboarding would be in the Olympics. But look at it now. There’s no denying the growth of gaming. With that growth comes opportunity. But for now we’ll need to play on.