The IOC (International Olympic Committee, a.k.a. The Supreme Authority of the Olympic Movement) came out of their Olympic Summit in Lausanne, CHE with a surprise announcement directly related to gamers: “esports” should absolutely be considered a sport.
Does that mean sponsored esports pros should prepare themselves for 2018’s Pyeongchang Olympics? Well — not quite.
According to the official report from Olympic.org, while the committee officially recognizes the training and intensity of high level esports, there’s still a few hurdles left to clear for a spot at the Olympics:
- In order to be recognised by the IOC as a sport, the content of “esports” must not infringe on the Olympic values.
- A further requirement for recognition by the IOC must be the existence of an organization guaranteeing compliance with the rules and regulations of the Olympic Movement (anti-doping, betting, manipulation, etc.).
While bullet point #1 is largely philosophical in nature (you can check out the Olympic Values here), it’s the lack of a true governing body that’s keeping gaming away from gold medals. Specifically, a governing body recognized by the GAISF (Global Association of International Sports Federations), which the IOC works closely with. The IOC made it pretty clear what needs to happen next:
The Summit asked the IOC together with GAISF in a dialogue with the gaming industry and players to explore this area further and to come back to the Olympic Movement stakeholders in due course.
Considering that there’s quite a few companies now that run their own international leagues and tours (Namco, Capcom, NetherRealm, etc), the next arms race in the FGC might just be a race to GAISF recognition.