Esports continues to make tremendous strides towards mainstream adoption and this weekend, a forum that is scheduled to take place in Lausanne, Switzerland will outline the next step for the collaboration and possible integration of traditional sports and Esports. The forum will be attended by a number of popular Esports teams, games publishers, broadcasters and event organizers.
It will be hosted jointly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Global Association of International Sports Federations (GAISF) with the main focus being on gaining a better understanding of Esports and therefore its suitability for possible inclusion in the Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee first recognized Esports as a sports activity in 2017, something that was a clear indication that Esports was ready to take the next step – and what better way to do so than to link up with the Olympics. Already Esports boasts of over 250 million players from all around the world in a market that currently brings in more than a million dollars every year. GAISF too has taken notice of the incredible nature of Esports:
“We understand that sport never stands still and the phenomenal growth of eSports and gaming is part of its continuing evolution,” GAISF president Patrick Baumann said. “The eSports Forum provides an important and extremely valuable opportunity for us to gain a deeper understanding of eSports, their impact and likely future development so that we can jointly consider the ways in which we may collaborate to the mutual benefit of all of sport in the years ahead.”
The International e-Sports Federation (IeSF) revealed earlier this year that it was in talks with the organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympics about the incorporation of Esports as a demonstration sport at the Olympics. IeSF has since confirmed that the both the “the local Olympic organizing committee and the city are supporting this movement, so this will be a stronger message towards the IOC that eSports could be included as a demonstration title in 2024.”
The Forum Is Purely Exploratory
While the forum is certainly going to be a huge milestone in Esports’ journey, the IOC on Wednesday clarified that the forum will be “purely an exploratory meeting.” This is understandable particularly because not everyone agrees that Esports have the right qualities and therefore is not fit to be part of the Olympics. One such person is IOC President Thomas Bach who has expressed concerns that highlight the violent nature of some competitive video games.
Still, these concerns are what make the forum such a huge deal as it is then that the stakeholders from both sides can meet, interact and gain necessary understanding of the things that traditional sports and Esports have in common and the things that they do not.