Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), has indicated that he's open to the inclusion of esports in Olympic events as reported by The esports Observer.
The commentary is sourced from an interview with the South China Morning Post which spoke with Mr. Bach on the matter. The IOC President indicated that they would easily be open to video game equivalents of real-world sports such as soccer, but games with violence in them may be another matter entirely:
“We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people. This doesn’t match with video games, which are about violence, explosions and killing. And there we have to draw a clear line." Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic CommiteeA number of far more practical concerns were raised by the IOC President such as the lack of standardized rules or protections against players doping as one would expect to see in other professional sports. Although esports has been around for some years now, many real-world sports have traditions dating back hundreds or even thousands of years and regulatory bodies that have existed for decades. In short, Mr. Bach seems to feel that the esports world is still a bit too young for serious consideration.
As for the comments related to violence in video games, concerns could certainly be raised with a game such as Counter-Strike. While many of the most popular eSports games such as League of Legends or Starcraft II have violence in them, many of these games have fantasy or cartoon violence that isn't graphic or gratuitous.
Video games are already on the bill for the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, and Paris (host of the 2024 Olympics) has not yet ruled out the possibility of esports as a medal event.
What do you think about esports potentially being included in the Olympics? Are there any particular genres that you feel would make for a good fit in the events? Let us know in the comments below!