For months now, several e-athletes and teams have been pushing to get esports involved with the event, with competitions in games like Rocket League and possibly Overwatch. However, the president of the International Olympic Committee has shut down any hopes of seeing electronic competition from entering the fold.
While speaking with the Associated Press, Thomas Bach, also a veteran gold medalist in the Olympics, said a certain barrier is standing in the way of such a competition: "killer" games.
"We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination," he noted. "They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted."
He believes violent games just aren't a fit. "Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight against people," he continued. "But sport is the civilized expression about this. If you have e-games where it's about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values."
That said, he didn't really give the subject enough deep consideration. Several e-athletes were pushing for more traditional sports style games to enter the fray, like Rocket League, which focuses on trying to score goals more than "blowing up" the competition. Other games like the forthcoming FIFA 19 and perhaps even NBA 2K19 would've been a natural fit as well, though there is the possibility that they could've overshadowed their real-life counterparts if they managed to take place.
Alas, it doesn't look like we'll be seeing esports get involved with the Olympics. Nevertheless, they'll continue to thrive with their own competitions, and we could be seeing new ones introduced to bring additional players into the fold. Just because one thing didn't work out doesn't mean esports is necessarily doomed. In fact, it could just be finding its footing. We'll find out as the year continues on, with the second season of Overwatch League waiting in the wings, not to mention whatever competitions are planned for BlizzCon 2018 in just a couple of months.
(Hat tip to GamesIndustry International for the extra details.)