Overwatch League Players To Attend Discussions With Olympic Committee About Esports Opportunities

by Javy Gwaltney on Jul 21, 2018 at 02:00 PM

It looks like esports might be taking another step in the direction of gaining recognition from a wider audience. Following in the wake of the announcement that Overwatch League would be televised on ESPN, today brings news that Geguri from the Shanghai Dragons and JAKE from the Houston Outlaws were journeying to Switzerland to take part in the Esports Forum. Mark Rein, president of Epic, and Mike Morhaime, co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, are also in attendance.

The Esports Forum, put on by the International Olympics Committee (IOC) and Global Association Of International Sports (GAISF), is a two-day meeting dedicated to staging a talk between the esports community and the Olympic community. According to The Esports Observer, there are no direct plans to put something into place here. Instead, IOC sports director Kit McConnell says that the nature of these discussions is "more about the engagement of the two communities."

These are vague details but still a noticeable step of recognition, especially in light of the IOC's previous attempts to distance itself from lending legitimacy to competition featuring violent video games.

Whether these talks will lead to anything substantial is a wholly different matter but the fact that the Olympic community, especially after its strong position against violent esports, is having talks with the esports community and Overwatch players, is notable and possibly a sign of what's to come for esports.

For more on Overwatch and esports, be sure to check out our feature on how Overwatch changes the rules of esports.

[Source: The Esports Observer via IGN]

Could this change in tune mean we could be seeing the likes of Overwatch and Counter-Strike as an Olympic sport by the 2024 games? Probably not. Bureaucracy and skepticism to esports as an actual branch of sports are still substantial barriers to inclusion on that big of a scale. Still, with networks like ESPN courting digital gaming to stay relevant among a younger audience, it's hard to imagine a future where the Olympics or an Olympics equivalent don't account for digital gaming.

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