Alibaba Group Holding Limited has come out to publicly promote the inclusion of competitive video gaming among other Olympic games so long as the games do not feature elements of gore or violence. The company, which is the largest e-commerce company and also an Esports business operator in one of the sponsors of the Olympics Games through to 2018. The games that the e-commerce company is endorsing for the Olympics include soccer, car racing among many Olympic-friendly games.
This move will essentially ban some of Esports most beloved titles from the Olympics. For obvious reasons, League of Legends, as well as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, will definitely not make the cut for Olympic inclusion. The two Esports titles are distributed by Tencent Holdings Limited in China, one of Alibaba’s competitors.
Esports has grown to become one of the biggest entertainment businesses, drawing in spectators to huge arenas where the video gamers compete for prizes and glory. Statistical projections see the business soaring to up to $5 billion in annual revenue from ticket sales, broadcast rights, advertising and merchandising.
“In our communication with the Olympics committee, we’ve come to have a better understanding of their values, which is to promote peace,” Alisports chief executive office Zhang Dazhong said in a telephone interview. “That’s why for the future development of esports, we will focus more on titles that are actually related to sports, instead of games that focus on violence and slaughter.”
Alibaba has been very serious about its venture into Esports – it is investing $47 million in Esports this year through to march. The company will also be hosting the World Electronic Sports Games this week and being a member of the International Olympic Committee, Alibaba officials will also be attending to observe.
According to Zhang, game producers will need to be open to the idea of having to share their intellectual property for free at events. Also, the titles need to have a considerably large fan base to be considered for the Olympics.
“We think as a third party Esports organizer we’re a better match for principles that the Olympics promotes, which is fairness,” Zhang said, adding that Alibaba will boost its investment in its Esports unit in 2018.