The above title is the excuse used by the president of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) as a reason why esports will not be a part of the next Olympics. Over the past few years eSports have been growing and with an estimated audience of around 350 million, expectation was that sooner rather than later esports would become an Olympic sport.
Thomas Bach ,President of the IOC, has poured some cold water on these expectations citing that the Olympics are not in line with Olympic values. Speaking to the Associated Press at the recently ended Asian Games (which did include esports) he said:
We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination, so-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted.
This is a bit… off, considering the fact that the Olympics have a number of
violent ,no wait, “contact” sports such as Amateur boxing, Judo, Fencing, Wrestling and Taekwondo. The president defended this saying these sports are civilised:
Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people. But sport is the civilized expression about this. If you have egames where it’s about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values.
Not all games are violent, Mr President
The strange thing about this discussion is that there are popular games such as FIFA, NBA, F1 and other racing games which are a popular part of esports whilst also being far from killer-games. It could be that in the wake of shootings in Florida at an esports tournament the president felt he had to make a statement about esports as a whole, but I don’t think the games are the problem.
Other games such as League of Legends, Overwatch and Fortnite are clearly set in fantasy realms, so I do not see how the violent nature of these games can be translated to real life but I guess that’s a bigger and more controversial debate.
All is not lost…
The one good thing we can take away from this, is that the IOC is still very open to talk about eSports and their president will reportedly list esports on the agenda for the next Olympic summit which will be held in December. What are your thoughts? Should the violent nature of some of these games mean they are ruled out of the Olympics?