By Stan Rezaee
For the next few weeks, athletes from around the world will come together at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Its going to be an event were the best athletes in the world will compete to bring honor and pride to their homeland.
Meanwhile gamers who follow eSports will have to watch a few exhibition events on the side that won’t get any major attention. At this point one should ask why isn’t eSports a major event at the Olympics yet.
Those who don’t follow eSports, don’t laugh as playing in such a league requires a lot of skill that takes time to master (like every other sport). What started as a niche trend has grown to become a major sporting event and it’s time the International Olympic Committee starts respecting it as a legitimate sport.
In last several years, eSports has grown to become a major sporting event as top players have earned the same status as athletes in other sporting leagues. Major eSport events attract millions of spectators while major networks are starting to broadcast these events. At the same time, prominent teams are now attracting sponsorship’s from popular brands.
These tournaments are also heavily regulated by organizers such as Major League Gaming, who have a series of guidelines and rules to ensure fair-play. Among the rules are the obvious ban on steroids and hacking along with regulations on team names or sponsorship’s.
Finally one has to note that eSports is not just limited to the Western Nations as its becoming a global phenomenon. eSports leagues have emerged in the Middle East, Africa, South America and Asia while their players have skills that are on par with their Western rivals.
With eSports having grown to become such a major sports, the thought of it being excluded from the Olympics is ridiculous. This global event is the perfect venue for eSport athletes to gather and bring glory to their nation. Imagine the best eSports players in America recruited to be part of Team USA and compete in the same league as great athletes like Michael Phelps.
Plus the idea of watching Team USA go up against another nation in a match of Counter-Strike: Global Offense at the Summer Olympics sounds entertaining. Or the best Super Smash Bros. the country recruited into Team USA also sounds majestic.
However there will be some challenges to organizing a major eSport event at the Olympics. The most obvious are shooter games having to remove any national or political elements from their games to avoid disrespecting another nation or culture. Hence you can’t have a Counter-Terrorist vs. Terrorist match at the Olympics as it might be meet with disapproval from the audience or other nations.
Despite this one minor issue, there is a lot of promise that eSports could be a successful event at the Olympics.
Playing multiplayer games no longer just a hobby or something friends do over the weekend, it has become a real sport. eSports has grown to become a major sporting league and its time the time the International Olympic Committee allows gamers to compete in the Olympics.
What games do you think should be included at an eSport event at the Olympics? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.