Esports in the Olympics: A Far Cry? Or Just a Matter of Time?
Esports is going through a golden patch. With the announcement of eSports being introduced as a major medal event in the Asian Games 2022 in Hangzhou, things have never looked brighter for one of the newest entries into the sports industry. But the real dream for the booming eSports industry, as well as the real question regarding it, remains the same. When will it feature in the Olympic Games?
Parimatch News will try to uncover everything going on behind the scenes regarding the issue.
The Tokyo Olympics 2020 had to be delayed, just like many other major sports events in 2020, because of the global pandemic running the show last year. However, the postponed Olympics event will finally see daylight in 2021, and is fast approaching. Fans will be able to witness their favourite athletes and idols fighting it out for medals in the grand event. But is there a chance for eSports to yet enter the event even at this eleventh hour?
As unfortunate and disheartening as it might sound to gaming fans and players alike, the global event will not introduce eSports as a medal event in 2021. However, with the huge fan-following and immense popularity of eSports in the host country Japan, the Olympic Committee of Tokyo had schemed up quite a few eSports or gaming events in the build-up to the original schedule of the Olympic games in 2020. But those were cancelled as well. More despair for the eSports world.
Some of the finest gaming competitions that were due to feature in that lead up included Street Fighter V and the Rocket League tournaments, which were expected to generate a huge response from the game-loving population of Japan, at a specific time of the year when all eyes of the world would be on the greatest stage in Tokyo.
The Current Scenario of Esports
No matter what the decisions have been from the high table of the Olympics, eSports remains one of the highest-paying sports of the 21st century. No other sport in the world tends to match the glitter and gloss of the eSports events. And its popularity among fans is increasing, as well as its player base and its stakes in the share market.
Money has never been an issue, when it comes to eSports. Anyone can be the top dog here, no matter the class or race he or she belongs to. From classic shooting games like Call of Duty and Fortnite, to the traditional sports games such as the Rocket League (F1 Esports) and FIFA – one can try their luck in whatever he or she is interested in. There’s a lot of money and pride up for grabs.
To draw an example, let’s see the situation with Kyle Giersdorf, an 18-year old gamer from the USA. Known better as his online alias “Bugha”, the teenager is currently the highest earning Fortnite player in the world, if you count only the tournament winnings. He earns approximately $3.14m, or £2.29m, every year. Sounds atrocious, doesn’t it? But is money everything in sports? Most sportsmen will say no. It’s the pride, the passion, and the honor that matter the most.
Any Chances in the Future?
With clouds of uncertainty floating regarding the gaming competitions that were scheduled to commence before the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, fans and players are still adamant that it might as well become a reality and that it will also be a stepping stone for eSports to feature in the 2024 Paris Olympics as a major medal event. But that possibility has also been disrupted by the endless waves of the Coronavirus pandemic still hitting the global sports scene. It’s still unclear whether eSports can make an appearance in the lead up to the Olympics and the Paralympics in the next summer.
Whatever happens this year, attempts have already been made from eSports organizations and governing bodies to take the 2024 Paris Olympics as the real target. Discussions with the Paris 2024 Olympic Committee have taken place, in which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and several active eSports organizations from the professional scene have discussed considering gaming or eSports for the grand event in Paris, the city of love.
In these meetings, the major eSports orgs have also cited the increased demand for inclusion of eSports in the Olympics, in order to give the tournament a new look and attract some much-needed interest from the current generation. Teenagers nowadays don’t find relevance with the likes of poll jumping and weight-lifting etc. They need some real adrenaline. They need their favourite games.
However, it has been reported by many leading sports news outlets that the Paris 2024 Olympic Committee has till date deemed eSports as “not mature enough” to feature in the competition as a medal event. But, to the relief of eSports enthusiasts, they haven’t completely ruled it out. According to the sources, even if eSports fails to make an appearance in the Olympic games in 2024, it will feature in some way in the build-up to the competition, for sure. Albeit for warming-up purposes, that appearance too will be a huge step forward for the gaming discipline.
Although the fight is still going on, eSports has been ignored till now by the International Olympics Committee. But that has not been the case with some other games.
The following five games will feature in the Tokyo Olympics for the first time in Olympics history:
That’s not it, either. Olympics is set to enter even more alien grounds with the inclusion of “breakdancing” in the 2024 Paris Olympics. If anything, these announcements of non-traditional sports getting the chance to finally feature in the Olympics should procure more hope for eSports. It should also take notes and a huge chunk of motivation from the fights these sports had to go through over the years to finally reach the stage they had dreamt of.
With no Olympics-authorized gaming or eSports events to commence this year, things look a bit bleak for fans, as far as hopes go. But the way the eSports domain is evolving and growing throughout the world, the fever is destined to reach the Olympics Committee as well, at some stage.
The brightest mornings always come right after the darkest nights. Keeping its thriving recent success in mind, eSports too is headed to the same path. A path of patience, and of sheer persistence.