Is Olympic Esports heading in the right direction?

09:26 PM March 08, 2023

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For years, people in esports — from professional athletes to just your ordinary casual viewers — have clamored for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to recognize and add esports to the Olympic games. And to everyone’s anticipation, the IOC did eventually listen and gave us esports, sort of.

Unfortunately, starting with the Olympic Virtual Series, the IOC served something we in the esports community didn’t exactly expect. For the Olympic Esports Series, they wouldn’t be featuring first-person shooters like VALORANT, fighting games that you might see in FGC tournaments like Evo, and not even real-time strategy games like StarCraft. Instead, they got you traditional sports! (Anyone remember Wii Sports?)

Understandably, the majority of the esports community was baffled.


Some were even appalled.

Some agree with the list of games to a degree, especially with Gran Turismo, Chess, and Just Dance featured.


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Others were hopeful for the future integration of their favorite esports titles.

Even an actual Paralympian joined in the conversation.

Others gave some possible insight as to what the IOC was considering when making the list.

“The selections are a miss, but the inclusion is the bigger picture win,” commented American journalist and army veteran Dominic Schatzan. “I’ll be excited to see what they come up with for e-racing and I wonder if any big-name drivers will enter. F1 drivers never had the chance to compete in the Olympics before, so maybe it gets their attention,” he added.

Meanwhile, Eric Gyamfi, who is the current Vice President of Esports Operations for Canadian esports organization and a Tier 2 Operations Manager at the U.S Army Esports, believes that the IOC simply just did not want to deal with any of the big esports titles due to copyright.

“Games are [intellectual properties] of companies and the IOC probably doesn’t want to navigate that right now. I’m sure they would rather hold all the power in promoting their sponsored sports. It’s something esports will have to figure out in the coming years. It’s probably one of the biggest challenges holding esports back,” Gyamfi expressed.

As of the time being, it seems like the IOC will not be budging anytime soon. What’s important here is that they’re slowly opening up to the idea of esports becoming part of mankind’s biggest spectacle of competitions. After all, it’s one step closer for ‘actual’ esports to become Olympic medal events.

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TAGS: Olympic Esports Week, The Olympics
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