The billion-dollar eSports industry has been dealt a blow in its quest to be included as a medal event at the Olympics.
eSports will be a medal event at the 2022 Asian Games and was a demonstration sport at the event this year.
The International Olympic Committee last year recognised it as a sports activity. However the worldwide governing body said at the weekend that there are obstacles in the way of it becoming a fully-fledged Olympic sport.
“Some eGames are not compatible with the Olympic values and therefore cooperation with them is excluded,” it stated following an Olympic Summit of stakeholders in Lausanne.
eSports, or competitive video gaming, is now worth about a billion dollars a year and growing rapidly. Its most popular games include first-person shooters such as Counter-Strike, Call of Duty and Fortnite.
“The industry is commercially driven, while on the other hand the sports movement is values-based,” the IOC said of the fragmented nature of the competition.
“For all these reasons, a discussion about the inclusion of eSports/eGames as a medal event on the Olympic programme is premature.”
Simulation games such as FIFA and the official Formula One game are becoming more popular and are even being screened on mainstream TV. The IOC seemed more receptive to the inclusion of these types of these games.
“Accelerated cooperation with regard to these kinds of eSports is encouraged by the Summit,” it said.
“The Summit encourages the international federations to explore the potential benefits and applications of the electronic and virtual versions of their sports.”