Esports might not become part of the Olympics soon due to games that promote violence and discrimination

In this article, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach reasons why esports might not become part of the Olympic roster anytime soon:

“We cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination,” he told the AP. “So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot therefore be accepted.”

“Of course every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people,” he said. “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.”

Now he isn’t completely against the idea of adding esports as an Olympic discipline, he is just cautious about including games with violence in them.

The article is short and omits many details, such as titles of games that they consider promoting these values, so it isn’t very nuanced. Esports isn’t a monolith and a number of games in the esports scene have very little to do with combat and such. However, the larger idea persists: where are they drawing the line? Would a game such as Overwatch be considered too violent despite the non-graphic depiction of it? Would they consider sports games?

What do you think about this statement?

Look, I don’t think eSports belong in the Olympics, but hooooooly shit, fuck that guy. Really? The javelin, which is specifically about who can best throw an instrument of death, is more civilized? The biathalon, which began as a military training exercise, is more civililzed?

I’ll say it again. Fuck that guy.


The IOC is a thoroughly corrupt organization that continually legitimizes despots and evil regimes. The farther esports can stay out their greedy clutches, the better.


I imagine him saying this from inside a boxing ring, behind him someone is cleaning the blood off the floor.

What a waste of billions to prop us this corrupt parody of a sports institution.


I can sort of see the argument. In a perfect world where the IOC wasn’t a garbage fire and the Olympics wasn’t completely awful on every level, I can’t think of many esports with major followings that don’t focus primarily on “kill that dude over there.” Fortnite, Overwatch, Dota, LoL, CS:GO, the only popular non-killing esport I can think of off the top of my head is Rocket League. I’m not exactly versed in the scene as it were, so I’m probably missing a bunch of shit, but still. If you were to conjure up a version of the Olympics that represented the actual ideal of sports and things like that, it’s be hard to argue that they should put up with a lot of the baggage that very popular esports carry.

We’re familiar with all of these things and can abstract them out, but having Olympics announcers talking about the terrorists winning is wild to think about. Most if not all shooters have some very questionable ideas behind them or have a side of the conflict that is objectively morally wrong. Those that don’t still have “shoot that person in the head” as a victory. Lots of fighting games feature costumes for female characters that would never fly in real life. From an outsider looking in, it sure seems like the Olympics tries to make sports as clinical as possible, and that’s not the approach of esports at all.

Maybe I’m just too old for this whole thing, but I’ve never understood why people want them in the Olympics to begin with. Esports is already a huge deal on its own with its own fans, events, and culture as shitty as that is, although let’s not pretend sports culture isn’t as bad if not worse. I don’t understand the craving for some kind of “legitimacy” that comes from being roped into an arbitrary collection of events.


This reminds me of how EA attempted to make a game that was friendly to this with Medal of Honor: Warfighter. At the presentations about it I had been to they would have tiny flags from a huge number of nations draped from them, and talk up how they wanted the multiplayer to be about folks joining together enthusiastically to represent their country in particular. This was in 2012 but it was like they stumbled into a military FPS Olympian kind of formula without realizing it.

Medal of Honor 2010 was seen as weak for talking big about accurately portraying real conflict, but then retreating from that and using generic names throughout, having players fight “the opposing force,” etc. But for Warfighter they tried to turn that into an advantage by marketing the game as this massive international friendly rivalry kind of thing. Alas the last good Medal of Honor came out 15+ years ago and this one did nothing to change that and the series finally died. :stuck_out_tongue:


I think the argument is bogus (I mean, if the ‘shooting people’ thing bugs you just make the blood yellow and call it paintball or whatever) but I don’t really see the appeal in having esports as part of the Olympics either. Games are not like traditional sports. Not only do the ‘rules’ of each game change wildly with each patch, the popularity of each game oscillates wildly as well (this time last year everyone played PUBG; now everyone plays Fortnite; next year? 10 years from now?). LoL and Dota are unprecedentedly successful in terms of longevity and even then it’s only been like a decade. LoL from 5 years ago is almost unrecognizable. In the span of two or three Olympics.

Agreed with @CrimsonBehelit above that I don’t get why “gamers” are still so desperate for recognition. Reminds me of a quote going around (don’t remember where from) about how the problem with Silicon Valley is that they think they’re still the underdog when they’re now, in fact, the man.


There are a lot of reasons e-sports won’t become part of the Olympic roster anytime soon. Bach is just reaching for low-hanging fruit.


Chess ain’t in the Olympics yet either.


It’s almost like the Olympics are a pretty outdated concept or something…

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This is an excellent time to consider the difference between sports and athletics. The Olympics is a series of athletic sporting events. Not all sports are athletic however. I really don’t think eSports belong in the Olympics.

As @trty0 says above, the Olympics are definitely outdated. I don’t think eSports should fall into the trap that many new mediums do of trying to force acceptance from older structures.


Basically, yeah. It’s “Roger Ebert’s opinion doesn’t actually matter, dudes” all over again.


Roger Ebert was right.

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Good. Few things improve once they’re beholden to the IOC.

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How could it even work? The rules surrounding sports in the Olympics take an incredibly long time to develop, and have to go through multiple checks before being listed. Games change with every patch. What game would they play? Which version? What happens when things get patched?

ESports needs its own Olympics. That would be easier.