Considering that the Overwatch League has become enough of a sensation to score a landmark deal with ABC and ESPN, people are taking its players quite seriously. And that'll serve them a great benefit when a few of them head out to speak with members of the Olympic committee.
The Esports Observer reports that Geguri from the Shanghai Dragons and JAKE from the Houston Outlaws will be heading to Switzerland to take part in an eSports Forum, alongside Epic Games president Mark Rein and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment Mike Morhaime. Former NBA player turned esports team owner Rick Fox will serve as the moderator for the Forum.
This Forum is being held by the International Olympics Committee (or IOC) and Global Association of International Sports (GAISF) as a way to hold discussions between the Olympics and esports communities. There has been nothing set in stone with esports competition coming to the Olympics just yet, though some believe it would be a key addition. IOC president Thomas Bach will also be directly involved.
IOC sports director Kit McConnell has noted that the reason for these discussions is "more about the engagement of the two communities," rather than trying to strike a deal. Still, it is a way to move forward and continue to build interest in its inclusion.
Of course, the IOC is likely to still keep ultra-violent games out of competition, though Overwatch doesn't lean too heavily on violence (it's rated T for Teen) like some other games; and other titles like Rocket League would seem like a natural fit for healthy competition.
If it were approved, we wouldn't see esports included in the Olympics until at least 2024, when the Paris events are set to take place.
McConnell added, "For esports to be included in the Olympic program, first of all, we would have to deal with a single, recognized federation or body that represented the whole of the esports community, the same way we deal with FIFA for football, the IAAF for athletics, and so on."
We'll have to see what happens, but we wish those traveling to Switzerland the best of luck in moving the discussion onward!0comments
(Hat tip to Esports Observer for the details!)