While eSports are in fact being considered for inclusion in the 2024 Olympic Games, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach isn’t keen on giving a spotlight to games that promote any kind of violence.
In comments given to the South China Morning Post, Bach explains he favors competitive games based around playing football or “other sports virtually," potentially over some of the more popular but violent eSports staples that could go against what he defines as "Olympic values".
"We want to promote non-discrimination, non-violence, and peace among people. This doesn't match with video games, which are about violence, explosions, and killing,” said Bach. “And there were have to draw a clear line."
While Bach doesn’t name specific games as examples of what is or is not appropriate for Olympic audiences, his comments later in the interview seem to imply that the International Olympic Committee is more interested in featuring digital athletics rather than giving a platform to potentially violent eSports mainstays like Overwatch and League of Legends.
“So if ever somebody is competing at playing football virtually or playing other sports virtually, this is of high interest,” he tells the China Morning Post. “We hope that, then, these players are really delivering sports performance. If [fans] at the end would even play the sports in the real world, we would even be more happy."
The ongoing Olympic eSports conversations got its start earlier this month when the Paris Olympic Bid committee pitched the idea ahead of the 2024 Summer Games. At the time, the committee's co-president Tony Estanguet was in the process of conversing with both eSports representatives and the International Olympic Committee to discuss the possibility of competitive video games joining the 2024 event.
"We have to look at it because we can't say, 'It's not us. It's not about Olympics,'" said Estanguet in an interview with the Associated Press from earlier this month. "The Youth, yes they are interested in [eSports] and this kind of thing. Let's look at it. Let's meet them. Let's try and see if we can find some bridges."
Meanwhile, the Olympic Council of Asia has already announced plans to include competitive games as a medal-worthy event at the 2022 Asian Games. While eligible games have yet to be decided on for that event, the Council did green-light Hearthstone, StarCraft II, Dota 2, and King of Fighters XIV to be included in the upcoming Asian indoor and Martial Arts Games event next month.