The Olympic Games are definitely one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world. With 2 variations, winter, and summer, plus a plethora of available sports to enjoy, they truly are the fan favorite sporting event out there. Second to only the Football World Cup. Olympic Games are held every 4 years in a different host city/state. However, since there are 2 variations (summer and winter), they are held 2 years apart which means fans from all over the world get to enjoy an Olympic Games event every 2 years. Needless to say, only the best of the best athletes get to compete on the Olympics. Talented individuals are trained to hone their skills from a very early age, some dating back to 3 years old when they first started training for their Olympics sport.
However, we are not here to talk about the talents in already well established Olympics sporting events. Nope! We are here to discuss if eSports at the Olympics has a chance of happening in the foreseeable future. As you all know, people who play eSports for money are already considered as highly skilled professional athletes. Heck, in some parts of the world there are scholarships and universities which specialize in eSports and the gaming culture in general – training talented individuals across a wide variety of eSports franchises. So, it’s only logical that eSports gets the attention it needs to push its way to the Olympics.
Of course, there’s no concrete evidence that this will happen anytime soon… but as far as the current flow of event goes, we might see eSports at the Olympics sooner than we think! One of the reasons behind this statement is the fact that 2018 Asian Games already announced they’ll feature eSports as a display event. With that being said, let’s take a closer look at the 2018 Asian Games and see what exactly can we expect as far as eSports events are concerned!
2018 Asian Games set to feature eSports
- League of Legends
League of Legends World Championship tournaments are what brought the eSports industry to today’s levels. I’m not saying LoL single handedly delivered eSports to all of us, but there’s no denying it was among the key factors. So, it’s only logical to see it being featured in 2018 Asian Games.
The most popular collectible card video game which has a huge competitive scene. Thus it was able to expand onto the eSports scene with a handful of big tournaments happening all around the globe. At the moment, Overwatch, Starcraft II and Hearthstone are what makes Blizzard Entertainment still viable in the world of eSports.
- PES 2018
Even though FIFA is a much more popular football simulation than PES 2018 in western countries, the situation is much different in the east. It’s highly debatable which of these 2 franchises have the more realistic approach to the actual game, but one thing is for sure – only one of them will be featured during 2018 Asian Games and that’s PES 2018!
- Mobile eSports
In addition to the above-mentioned eSports franchises, 2018 Asian Games will feature 2 mobile video games – Clash Royale and Arena of Valor. Mobile gaming is turning quite the profit in Asia so it’s not surprising to see the 2 biggest titles being featured in 2018 AG.
Important news coming from Switzerland
After agreeing that eSports and traditional sports share the same values, the International Olympic Committee with headquarters in Switzerland invited professional eSports player Jacob „JAKE“ Lyon to share his thoughts and skill with everyone involved with the IOC. The meeting was held last month (July 2018) approximately 2 years before the official start of 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
eSports was greeted with the following words: „Welcome to the Olympic World!“ which meant future cooperation between IOC and the heads of main eSports organization are going to be nothing but positive. This comes alongside recent news that the Olympics are trying to become more attractive to younger audiences who are straying off from contentional sports and playing more and more video games. That’s why they’re planning on introducing not just eSports at the Olympics but other new events such as skateboarding, sport climbing surfing and similar.
eSports coming to television
IOC doesn’t think highly of eSports just because younger audiences are playing video games more often than traditional sports. Another reason lies in the fact that eSports are becoming more than just a nerd hobby. It’s becoming a global attraction with online streaming platforms such as YouTube Gaming and Twitch racking up impressive numbers. Coverages of recent tournaments are showing that eSports is already going head to head with most other sports. Plus, there are huge advancements as far as eSports on television is concerned as well. TV channels such as ESPN, CBS, NFL Network and even Disney are actively featuring eSports content and pushing the popularity of this new age sport even further…
What could this mean for the future of esports industry?
Considering everything we’ve already mentioned above, eSports at the Olympics could mean a great deal to the IOC. However, it could mean a great deal for eSports too. As you all know, eSports is growing at a rapidly increasing rate and a part of that goes to the widespread popularity among young audiences. Young adults who already consider themselves aged gamers also form a big portion of eSports fanbase. However, with the integration of eSports at the Olympics, there’s a chance older audiences might catch up on the eSports fever too. It’s a long shot, I know… but it’s still worth considering.
In addition to this, there are 2 more reasons which could prove crucial for the future of eSports as an industry:
More opportunities for professional eSports athletes
With the rise of eSports at the Olympics, the first logical thing that will happen is a broader roster of teams and players competing to cement their place at the ceremony. Needless to say, this will create an even higher competitive level on the pro scene. As a result, we can expect even more eSports-based scholarships, camps, instructors and so on…
Guaranteed increase in growth for eSports betting industry
eSports industry won’t be the only industry to profit from the coalition with the IOC. Nope – eSports betting industry will start flourishing as well. Just think about it – eSports matches being televised all around the globe as a part of the biggest multisport event in the human history. If that’s not a good reason to start betting on eSports, then I really don’t know what is…
With everything that’s been already said above, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out there are high chances of eSports coming to the Olympic Games in the forseeable future. It’s really true, I kid you not! With such a huge growth in popualrity, televised events and millennials racking up the views, eSports is an industry deemed for success!