The relationship between the Olympic Movement and Esports is strengthening little by little and in search of continuing along that path, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the holding of the Olympic Esports Series 2023.
The qualification process began on March 1 and the definition of the Olympic Esports Week (OEW) will take place from June 22 to 25, at the Suntec Center in Singapore, and will have the peculiarity that it will be done in person. In addition, the broadcast can be followed around the world through Olympics.com and the Olympic social channels.
“The Olympic Esports Series (OES) is a virtual and simulated global sports competition created by the IOC and in collaboration with international federations (FIs) and game publishers,” said the International Olympic Committee and invited “professional and amateur players from all over the world to participate in qualifying rounds in a large number of outstanding games.” The registration and all the details can be found at Olympics.com.
“The four-day festival will showcase the best of virtual sports, the latest technologies and innovations in the field of simulated sports, and will present opportunities for participants to try out selected virtual sports titles. Other activities during OEW 2023 include panel discussions with industry stakeholders, forums and exhibition parties,” the IOC explained in its announcement.
The games chosen for this Olympic Esports Week are related to traditional sports and not to the most popular in the world of e-sports such as League of Legends, Fortnite, CS:GO, League of Legends, VALORANT or Dota 2, among others. The IOC has always spoken out against those games involving shooting or violence.
The Olympic Esports Series in Singapore will include Archery (Tic Tac Bow), Baseball (WBSC eBaseball™: POWER PROS), Chess (Chess.com), Cycling (Zwift), Dance (JustDance), Motorsports (Gran Turismo), Sailing (Virtual Regatta), Taekwondo (Virtual Taekwondo) and Tennis (Tennis Clash).
“The first Olympic Esports Week marks an important milestone in our ambition to support the growth of virtual sports within the Olympic Movement,” said Thomas Bach. “We believe that the new and exciting format of our virtual sports competition, with live finals to be held for the first time, is an opportunity to collaborate even more with e-sports players and create new opportunities for players and fans alike,” added the president of the IOC.
The IOC took an important first step by holding the Virtual Olympic Series before the Tokyo 2020 Games, in which 250,000 people from 100 different countries participated. “Olympic Esports Series 2023 marks another step in supporting the development of virtual sports within the Olympic Movement, as established in the Olympic Agenda 2020+5, and continues its collaboration with the gaming and e-sports communities to create new opportunities for players and fans alike,” said the organization.
For some time now, Esports has been seeking to be considered as just another sport and some imagine that it won’t be long before they can be part of the traditional Olympic Games. Will it happen?