If you would have said 5 years ago that we could be considering competitive gaming as an Olympic sport, you would have probably laughed. However, 2016 has seen the rise of eSports and the world of competitive video gaming has risen all across the world.
The world of eSports is particularly popular South Korea, where recently they managed to fill a football stadium with people watching a massive tournament of League of Legends. This craze isn’t limited to Korea however – it is happening in many countries around the world where thousands of players are competition in highly competitive video game tournaments, all in the attempt to be the best of the best.
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Popularity doesn’t mean that eSports can become an Olympic sport – unfortunately, it’s not that easy. To have any chance eSports need a governing body … think FIFA, but for eSports. eSports has the IESF which was started in 2008 and runs yearly tournaments with players representing their country… like the World Cup for soccer.
Tournaments run by the IESF aren’t the biggest and boldest, however, with more and more people deciding to tune into massive League of Legends tournaments made up of professional video gamers, unlike the amateur gamers found at the IESF games.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) needs to approve any sport before it becomes a regular part of the Olympic Games. At this moment at the time the IOC recognizes 35 governing bodies whom sponsor sports which aren’t already in the games, which theoretically gives these chosen sports the chance to become a part of the official Olympics in the future – and that is what eSports is trying to do.
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eSports could really be an ideal part of the Olympic Games. With a following of thousands of people, especially young people, it is no wonder to see why eSports could be a valuable part of the games. The IOC are focused on getting young people into sport – and professional video gaming is what attracts a lot of youngsters these days.
The good news is that the IOC has approved 5 new sports for the 2020 games which will be held in Tokyo. Believe it or not, the host country can actually propose sports it would like to see at its venues, and although it would still need to be approved by the IOC, there is no reason why eSports can’t be on that list.
By far the most difficult hurdle for eSports will be trying to get past the traditional values held by the IOC. Never before has a sport like eSports been added to the game or even considered to be a professional sport. As time moves on and technology advances, the likelihood of eSports becoming a part of the Olympic Games will only increase.