e-sports: Knock…Knock…Knocking at the Olympics Door

e-sports is waiting to enter a historic moment by being part of the next Olympics. e-sports is a form of futuristic sport competition based on video games. Over the last few years it has developed enough to engage professional players, both in individual and in team capacity. There are important e-sports organizations like Fnatic, Team Liquid, Cloud 9, and e-sports like League of Legends, Overwatch and Riot Games. The finesse of new technology has led to very sophisticated e-sports in the present era.

An e-sports tournament which had been due to take place in Tokyo in the lead-up to the 2020 Olympics has been delayed until 2021 due to the postponement of the Olympics to the spread of the coronavirus. The Intel World Open had been scheduled to be held between 22 July to 24 July, 2020. It is supposed to be the first major video game tournament of the decade in Japan. It was set to be an important showcase of e-sports before the opening of the Olympics. The online qualifiers were originally scheduled to start on 2 May and the final players were to compete with each other from 22 July. But the officials from the Intel World Open confirmed that all events have been postponed till next year for the safety of everyone involved with this tournament.

The tournament was supposed to be taken place at Zepp DiverCity with a $500,000 prize pool available for the participants. Two recognized e-sports titles, Capcom’s Street Fighter V: Champion Edition and Psyonix’s Rocket League, will be featured in this tournament for the nations to win.  Interestingly, Intel is modelling the tournament, perhaps the most modern item, after the traditional Olympic games format. Thus it is not only supposed to be the first crossover between the Olympics and competitive video games but also a negotiation between the modern and the traditional. Any player at any level can compete with other players for a chance to join a regional, territorial or national team. The national qualifiers will determine the best four players of each nation. Qualifying players will join one of the twelve teams. The Live Qualifier event was to be held in the Polish City of Katowice to determine the best final seven teams for the main event in Tokyo.

e-sports is not a very familiar subject in India. But it is becoming an increasingly common issue in the sporting circles with the potential for Olympic inclusion. However, it is still facing debate about its inclusion in the Olympics. The debate in Britain also concerns the videogame Fortnite’s inclusion. According to a report in the world famous magazine, The Economist, on 27 June, 2020, Prince Harry has objected to its inclusion in Olympics, a ‘peace event’, as it is a violent game. The counter-logic is that in terms of viewership it attracts the younger generation much more than traditional Olympics.

Intel is a member of the International Olympic Committee as a top-tier sponsorship programme. In a world in which sports is increasingly coming under the control of sponsorship Intetel’s views matter and cannot be simply wished away. It is to be noted that the 3D tracking software of Intel will be used during the international games. e-sports industry is already on the back of billion-dollar investments from Microsoft, Google and Amazon. It has now over one billion fans globally.

There are ongoing discussions on the inclusion of e-sports in the Pan American Games 2023 in Santiago. It had already made its presence in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang. It has also been announced as a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. The pandemic-forced lockdown  has also led to a spurt in the popularity of e-sports in recent times. There is no little doubt that e-sports, despite its share of debates and controversies, are moving forward slowly and steadily towards greater presence in the world of sports.

Categories: News

Tagged as: , ,