eSports will not feature as a medal event at the Olympic Games any time soon, according to the IOC.
Any discussions relating to the addition of eSports as a medal event at the Olympic Games are “premature”, according to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
The rise of eSports has seen growing talk that they could, in some form, work their way on to the Olympic programme. The Asian Games is already due to included eSports as a medal event in 2022.
However, the IOC decided at the seventh Olympic Summit in Lausanne that the introduction of eSports at the Olympics was a long way off.
“Recognising the fact that the sports movement is in competition with the eSports/eGames industry for the leisure time of young people, the Summit agreed that the Olympic Movement should not ignore its growth, particularly because of its popularity among young generations around the world,” read an IOC statement.
“It was agreed that competitive gaming entails physical activity which can be compared to that required in more traditional sports. This, on the other hand, cannot necessarily be said to apply to leisure electronic gaming.
“For this reason, the use of the term sport with regard to eSports/eGames needs further dialogue and study.
“It was agreed that the Olympic Movement should continue to engage with this community, whilst at the same time acknowledging that uncertainties remain.”
Among the “uncertainties” identified by the IOC were a feeling that some games are “not compatible with the Olympic values” and that the gaming industry is commercially driven, compared to the “values-based” nature of sport.
“For all these reasons, a discussion about the inclusion of eSports/eGames as a medal event on the Olympic programme is premature.”
The IOC encouraged individual sports federations to “explore the potential benefits and applications of the electronic and virtual versions of their sports”.