After lengthy discussions between the Commonwealth Games Federation and gaming chiefs, the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham will add eSports as a pilot event. If the event goes well, it may be added to the 2026 games as an event with medals.
As initially reported by the Daily Mail, the 2022 Commonwealth Games is testing the waters with eSports, even if it's a more controversial choice among traditionalists. Being a pilot event, those who take part in the 2022 Commonwealth Games eSports event won't receive medals, but it could be the foundation for future events that do offer medals. A major hope for this event is that it helps draw in a younger audience. The exact details on the event and what games will be there aren't available yet but will be "released imminently." There will be three games featured at the event, and it's speculated that Dota 2 will be one of them.
As eSports become more mainstream, various sports organizations have taken notice and become more accepting of eSports being a part of sports. Commonwealth Games Federation CEO Kaite Sandlier said near the end of 2021 that the Games could go through "dramatic changes" over the next decade as the Games fights for its standing on the international sports landscape. In December, when she said she was "open-minded" about eSports, she told the BBC that "We have been thinking about the creative ways we could pivot the Games to make sure it still captures the hearts and minds of the future." Meanwhile, the Duke of Edinburgh Award's CEO Ruth Marvel said last October that "Esports is one of the fastest-growing activities in the UK and helps young people develop essential skills," such as strategic thinking and teamwork, both of which are skills business leaders look for in their employees.
The 2022 Commonwealth Games will start on July 28th and end on August 8th.