Just when esports‘ inclusion in the Olympics seems close, it slips even further away. Several esports demonstrative events were organized during the recent Asian Games 2018 held in Jakarta, Indonesia. Despite that being a milestone achieved by the esports industry, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has announced that esports will not enter the Olympics as long as they contain violence and killing.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Bach said that they “cannot have in the Olympic program a game which is promoting violence or discrimination. So-called killer games. They, from our point of view, are contradictory to the Olympic values and cannot, therefore, be accepted.” Bach is himself an Olympic gold medalist, having won the medal in fencing, a sport which features the use of swords.
Bach explained his own past by saying that “every combat sport has its origins in a real fight among people.” He also added that “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.” It is true that many games in esports feature the act of defeating opponents by “killing” them. Examples include games like DOTA 2, League of Legends, Overwatch, and more.
However, it is also equally true that many games in esports do not feature “killing” in any way. These include games based on real sports like FIFA and PES. If sports like boxing and martial arts can be featured in the Olympics, there should be nothing stopping fighting games like Street Fighter and Tekken from receiving the same treatment.
Aside from Mortal Kombat and a few others, fighting games don’t usually feature “killing” and while it may be violent in nature, sports like martial arts and boxing are too. There are even esports scholarships being offered at multiple institutions around the world, including in the U.S. and the U.K.