The inclusion of e-sports in the Olympic games is becoming a more serious conversation, with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) acknowledging the possibility in a new statement. At an Olympic Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland, the IOC discussed “the development of ‘eSports’,” stating that e-sports “can provide a platform for [youth] engagement with the Olympic Movement.”
E-sports is indeed a “sport” in the IOC’s eyes, as “the players involved prepare and train with an intensity which may be comparable to athletes in traditional sports.” But the IOC does have some caveats—as IOC president Thomas Bach once strongly affirmed that violent videogames have “no place at the Olympics,” the IOC adds on that the content of any included e-sports “must not infringe on the Olympic values.”
We can assume that this includes any content of a violent, sexual or profane nature, so don’t expect Call of Duty or Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball to follow the long jump anytime soon.
Additionally, the IOC stipulates that there must be some sort of international organization that will guarantee compliance with the committee’s rules and requirements so as to prevent any cheating measures that include doping or manipulation of any sort. There is no such international body for competitive videogames at this point.
Meanwhile, the IOC encourages the conversation to continue and for players to come back to Olympic stakeholders “in due time.”