Most people don’t believe me when I talk about it but I’ll throw it out there anyways – eSports is going to be added to the Olympics. While 2020 could be too early, I do think it’s inevitable and I’m fairly certain that 50 years from now we’ll be amazed that the Olympics didn’t include video games. Now, one of the largest companies in the world, Alibaba is pushing to get eSports added to the mix:
“China’s biggest e-commerce company, which operates an esports business and is a sponsor of the Olympics Games through 2028, is pushing for soccer, car racing and other games to be endorsed as an official competitive sport, said Zhang Dazhong, chief executive officer of AliSports.” (Source – Bloomberg)
While there are specific games they are endorsing, Alibaba has been clear that they do not want to support adding violent video games to the Olympics. Instead Alibaba really wants to introduce games that are much closer linked with the typical sports people around the world already watch:
“That’s why for the future development of eSports, we will focus more on titles that are actually related to sports, instead of games that focus on violence and slaughter.” (Source – arsTECHNICA)
I find the entire concept of adding eSports to the Olympics is incredibly polarizing, and while I think it honestly is inevitable, I can definitely understand both sides. For most people, sports are meant to celebrate athletes who train daily to improve their physical abilities. Video games don’t really have athletes (although some will debate this), instead they have players who train daily, but not to improve their physical abilities but instead to improve their strategy, reaction time, etc.
The reality is, the world is changing. Twenty years ago you probably didn’t even have a cellphone. If I told you 20 years ago that you’d carry a device in your pocket that allows you to check your email, browse the web, etc. you’d probably tell me there’s no way you need that, now imagine living without it? Change works in mysterious ways and given how much the eSports industry is growing like crazy and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. With 150M viewers today, it’s actually not hard to imagine in competing for eyeballs against the sports we all know and love today 20 years from now.
Or maybe I’m just biased. What do you think? Should eSports be included in the Olympics? I want to hear from you, comment and let your voice be heard!