IOC wants a second shot at Olympic Esports events, even though no one asked for it

The International Olympic Committee announced on June 14 that it is currently in “advanced discussions with a potential host” for the upcoming first Olympic Esports Games, but fans are skeptical of the event’s success after a largely lackluster edition of the Games last year.

The development comes after IOC President Thomas Bach asked the IOC Esports Commission last year to “study the creation of the Olympic Esports Games” and announced it in the IOC session in Mumbai, India, last October. According to the Associated Press, the dates for the first Olympic Esports Games should be announced soon after the July 23 meeting in Paris.

IOC wants a second shot at Olympic Esports events even
That was quite an event. Image via IOC

One fan has already written off this year’s edition following the announcement in a June 14 post on Reddit. Another believes the IOC is just after a “slice of the pie,” and is failing to understand the needs of an esports audience before it can properly execute on something as large and prestigious in name as the Olympics.

Despite the “impressive” participation and viewership numbers of the previous Olympic Esports Series, it failed to resonate with the traditional esports audience. The absence of popular titles like League of Legends, Dota, and Counter-Strike was a major point of contention. There were some big names, such as Fortnite, but the battle royale game was altered to fit with the Olympic Values, which took away its original essence as it fell under physical violence.

Most of the other titles in last year’s edition were based very heavily on existing sports, including Zwift (cycling), Virtual Taekwondo (taekwondo), and Tennis Clash (tennis), all very foreign games to your standard esports fan. Many had hoped Rocket League—arguably the most tame of the top-line esports—would find its place in the Olympics, but alas, it remains absent from any proposed list going forward.

As the winners were crowned in 2023, it still left many fans hopeful for the esports Olympics, envisioning a future where all the popular titles will make their place in the line-up. The esports enthusiasts anticipate a truly inclusive event that ties the world together, rather than just a show that houses placeholder “sport-esport” titles to capture the young audience’s attention span.

However, time will tell if the IOC has learned from its past event and made changes to its current lineup of games to make it appealing to the majority of esports fans. More about the IOC’s plans will be revealed after the Paris Olympic Games in August.

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