In the face of recent, positive developments, it once again looks doubtful that eSports will be included in the Olympic Games following comments made by International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach regarding the violent nature of many eSport titles.
Speaking to the South China Morning Post (via GamesIndustry), Bach straight-forwardly said that the most popular games within the video game market simply do not align with the values held by the Olympic Games.
Bach specifically says the following:
“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 were have to draw a clear line.”
Sorry Dota 2, League of Legends, Overwatch, CS: GO, and Call of Duty, Street Fighter V, no Olympics for you. However, Bach implies that sports simulation (which I suppose also leaves the door open for Rocket League) titles could be under consideration.
“So if ever somebody is competing at playing football virtually or playing other sports virtually, this is of high interest. We hope that, then, these players are really delivering sports performance. If [fans] at the end would even play the sports in the real world, we would even be more happy.”
As you may remember, Paris’ bid for the Olympics brought up perhaps introducing eSports to the 2024 games, but that reality looks increasingly unlikely under the current International Olympic Committee. To this specific point of Paris 2024 eSports talk, Bach adds:
“These discussions are going on. It will still take some time because this industry is now shaping itself. It’s a successful industry, but it is not yet really established in an organizational way.”
Bach also voices other concerns about the inclusion of eSports, citing the lack of industry regulators and standardized rules around issues like illegal performance drugs, as well that eSports at the end of the day are a commercial product that could one day, theoretically, not exist if the parent company of said game goes under or simply moves on from said product.