The Olympics are officially adopting virtual sporting events

The Olympics are officially adopting virtual sporting events

This story about gaming and the Olympics, boiled down, in 1:35 minutes.

What's the fuss?

To "encourage the development of virtual sports and further engage with video gaming communities", the Olympics will feature gaming in a separate event. This may pave the way for full-on esports to join the fray eventually.

The situation

The modern era of the Olympic Games have brought together communities around the world to celebrate the best in summer and winter sports. Having said that, it only took the International Olympic Committee (IOC) 39 years to recognize the impact of virtual sports on our communities.

The newly minted Olympic Virtual Series will be a contained, separate event that will take place before the official 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The event will include sports simulation games focused on virtual baseball, cycling, rowing, sailing and automobile racing. What's interesting about this approach is that unlike the official Olympics, where only the best of the best can compete, anyone would be able to participate in any of the the virtual series events from home. Although sign-up details are currently unclear, it will be exciting to see the fanfare that follows (if any).

Boiling it down

The adoption of simulated sports within a Olympics-related event is certainly a step forward, but the Olympic Virtual Series does not represent esports. Although the marriage of the Olympics and esports seems like a no-brainer for some, the IOC have been hesitant to introduce esports within the official games themselves. Back in 2017, the Committee implied their interest in sports simulators (which is what they're delving into now), but expressed concern that the "violent nature" of other popular esports titles such as Call of Duty may be counterintuitive to Olympic values.

Interestingly, this comes at a time where ratings are at a low point for the centuries-old tradition. Perhaps this move represents the IOC taking things one step at a time in an attempt to rake in younger viewers. But until then, esports should continue to thrive on its own.

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