With the popularity and money in esports growing with each passing year, it begs the question of when it will be considered on par with other sporting pursuits like swimming or football.
This was one of several topics that current International Olympic Committee (IOC) president, Thomas Bach, touched on during a recent interview.
While Bach is not able to state when, or indeed if esports will ever be a fixture at an Olympic Games, he did mention that it would need to meet specific conditions in order to be considered.
“We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination. So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted,” said Bach in an interview with the Associated Press.
While Bach did not identify any specific titles, he did note that any game that involved killing someone would never be considered as part of the Olympics.
This therefore beings us to the pertinent aspect of violence, not only esports, but sports in general. Where is the distinction?
Bach is an Olympic medal winner in fencing, which uses a blunted sword to try to strike an opponent. Is that really any different to beating someone in a game of Dota 2?
According to Bach, there is a fundamental difference as sports featured at the Games are viewed to fall in line with the Olympic values.
“Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people, but sport is the civilized expression about this. If you have egames where it’s about killing somebody, this cannot be brought into line with our Olympic values,” adds Bach.
To perhaps better gauge the role that esports can play at the Olympics, it is currently being showcased as a demonstration sport at the Asian Games in Indonesia, with talks of it becoming a medal event at the next Games four years from now in Hangzhou, China.
If esports is indeed going to take its place at the Olympics, it will likely depend on the genre of game that will be permitted. The next question is who gets to pick the title?