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Esports insiders question Olympic credibility

Esports insiders question Olympic credibility

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With the Olympics Esports Series in Singapore now upon us (June 22nd to 25th), many within the established competitive gaming arena are dismissing the Olympic-organised event as “not real esports”.

The central issue is the choice of games to be included and in that regard, and in terms of a comparison with the existing professional genre, there does seem to be a point to be made here.

Instead of hugely popular and successful cornerstones of esports, such as CS:GO, Dota and League of Legends, the Olympic body has opted for simulated actual sports, such as baseball, taekwondo, archery and even chess, none of which bares resemblance to what the world knows as ‘esports’.

Esports is a 21st century culture genre, played by and entertaining millions and worth billions. Nobody within this industry or audience considers the games selected by the Olympics to be esports at all.

The one game that was – belatedly – added to the Olympic roster is Fortnite. Although, amusingly, the Olympic contest will be a version that excludes the kill-or-be-killed Battle Royale mode, as the inclusion of violence is contrary to Olympic values.

The International Olympics Committee (IOC) recognised esports as a sport in 2017 and discussions around inclusion in the flagship Games themselves are ongoing. Esports will be a medal sport for the first time at the upcoming Asian Games in Hangzhou, where its reception, like this week in Singapore, will be closely studied.