Should Esports be included in the Olympics?
An argument could be made that athletes train for years on end to even be able to represent their country at the Olympics, whereas a gamer could rise to the top of the Esports community in a certain game-type within a matter of months, or even weeks.
Olympics are a show of skill, speed and strength; but if chess can be an Olympic sport, so can gaming.
Strategy games might not make the cut but they are effectively the same as chess (this definitely applies to the Civilisation franchise and other turn-based strategy games), but instead of a small number of certain unit types, strategy games include a wide variety of unit types, with an even wider variety of variables that players have to take into account if they are to win a match. This would show skill, strategy and planning.
CS:GO would probably make it to the Olympics if Esports became an Olympic event, as it is a show of reaction timing and quick thinking. Doubtless, other multiplayer first-person shooters would also make the cut; with games such as Battlefield 1 and certain entries in the Call of Duty franchise, having players make use of the same skill set as CS:GO. Arena, team-based combat games (such as Overwatch or TF2) may also be considered. But what about snipers?
Sure, there are a lot of people running around with sniper rifles in CoD, quickscoping the hell out of those of us who prefer using assault rifles or shotguns, but that isn’t sniping.
To truly be a sniper, your avatar’s uniform has to actually camouflage you, you have to find a good vantage point and wait for the enemy to come into view, you have to size up your mark, calculate for wind and distance, wait for the opportune moment. This is where games like Sniper: Ghost Warrior come in, this is where patience reigns above all else (with a lot of skill, few games force you to take distance into account when it comes to where your shot will land, fewer still make you think twice about the wind, nevermind your position on the map). Sniping games would probably work out very nicely as a sport, not that anyone really has the patience to try.
It would be difficult to include MMOs such as World of Warcraft simply because it would be impossible to control where players go and what they do, some players have been at it since the game’s release and already dominate their respective servers. Sure, you could get the players to create new characters and give them a certain amount of time to level up, after which they would enter PvP combat; in which case, the last man standing wins. The same mechanics apply to entries like Diablo 3.
Games such as League of Legends and DOTA would most probably become the largest Esports at the Olympics, simply because every player starts at the same level at the start of each match; whether a player or team will dominate depends on skill, teamwork, player characters chosen and which weapons and character skills players decide to invest in.
The great thing about Esports is that cheating can be completely negated. It is entirely possible to have someone watching each individual player to ensure that they don’t cheat. Whereas some countries allow their athletes to make use of testosterone supplements or growth hormone pills, players can be controlled simply by having someone watching over their shoulder (or viewing the player’s screen).
But the really big question is: why not include Esports in the Olympics?
As I said earlier: the Olympics is a show of skill, speed and strength; notice the physicality of it all. It would be an insult to athletes if we forced them to compete alongside people who rose to fame simply by sitting on a couch (or in a chair) and picking up a controller (or grabbing a mouse and keyboard) and tapping buttons. The one has trained hours on end for years, the other trains for maybe three hours a day and has only been at it for a few months. Now, I’m not saying that not all gamers have been gaming for only a few months, but think about it: how long ago did Black Ops 3 come out? Wasn’t it only last year that Battlefield 1 was released? See my point?
Most Esports competitors play as a hobby, very few actually manage to make a living out of it, meaning that the majority of competitors only have a few hours out of their day to game (juggling gaming, studies/school and/or work); meanwhile, those that make a living off of gaming have their entire day to do nothing but grind their skills and reflexes.
Does Esports deserve a spot in the Olympic stadium? Maybe. Does it belong among physical athletes? No.
Esports needs it’s own league.
There are hundreds of Esports tournaments every year, and it’s not just large companies that occasionally host these tournaments, there are independent businesses, schools and even groups of friends who host gaming tournaments on their servers or amongst themselves. But they all need one place to come together, one event, during which they can not only compete against one another as individuals but against other countries as teams. Think of it: the opportunity to represent your country, your nation, and all you did was spend a few hours a day with a screen in front of you and a game in the disc drive.
Cue the Electronic Olympics.