Competitive video gaming, including fighting games, has grown a lot in the past few years. Esports are now some of the most widely watched competitive events in the world — fighting games have now broken into mainstream television. Now, it seems that they’ve caught the eye of one of the biggest sporting events around.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Tony Estanguet, co-president of the Paris Olympic bid committee, stated that he was planning to hold talks on the possibility of adding esports into the 2024 Summer Olympics. “We have to look at it because we can’t say, ‘It’s not us. It’s not about Olympics,'” states Estanguet, “The youth, yes they are interested in esport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges.”
Planning for the program for the 2024 Summer Olympics will start in 2019, and the final decision on what events to add will be made after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “There is some time to look at it, to interact, to engage,” Estanguet explains, “We will spend some time after (the IOC meeting in September) Lima to engage with new people and stakeholders. The IOC will have the last … say, if they want esports on the program. Let’s discuss among ourselves.”
While having esports at the Olympics would definitely be a big event, this isn’t the first time that an multinational athletic competition has added esports. The previous 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio already featured an “eGames showcase” that featured, among its games, Super Smash Bros. for Wii U. Meanwhile the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia will feature its esports competitions as demonstration events, ahead of esports inclusion as medal events in the 2022 Asian Games.