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Posted by TheMist997 (122 posts) -
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The position for the 2024 Olympics was given on July 31st, 2017 to Paris after its contender Los Angeles decided to host the 2028 Olympics. Before that, Paris hosted the 1900 and the 1924 Olympics, in which this upcoming Olympics would make it the third time the Olympics have been in the same city, which is the second city to host the Olympics three times(the first city to host three times is London.)

But being the second city to host three times is not the thing making news. What is making news about the Paris Olympics is that the Paris Olympic bid committee is considering the inclusion of e-sports as a medal-earning event at the Olympics. The co-president of the committee has been talking to e-sports representatives “to better understand what the process is and why it is such a success.” He also talks about the inclusion as a way to tap into the youth and get them interested in the Olympics.

This isn't the first time the Olympics have dipped their toes into e-sports. The Rio Olympics in 2016 ran exhibition matches during the Olympics, in which eight teams battled it out over Super Smash Bros. Wii and Smite. Also, the Asian games(similar to the Olympics, but just for Asia) will have exhibition matches in the 2018 games and will be a medal event by the 2022 games.

As a person who plays a good amount of video games(enough to write about them,) I must say that I really hope the Olympics do not include e-sports. Even if it makes the IOC(International Olympic Committee) more money, I really hope that they don't do this.

The biggest reason why I think competitive gaming should not go to the Olympics is the simple fact that it isn't real. It's all fake, it's all on a screen. I don't deny that their is skill to competitive gaming, it's just more of a mental set of skills instead of physical ones. Now the question may come up "what about events like curling, shooting, and others?" While those events won't give its participants six packs any time soon, their is still some physical exertion being given out. For example, curling requires great balance and curlers could find themselves walking for miles considering matches last for hours. Ultimately, it's that e-sports isn't a sport, as for the first thing that comes up in the definition of a sport is physical exertion(no, moving fingers do not count.)

I won the gold!
I won the gold!

Another reason I have for not including gaming into the Olympics is that it would taint the Olympics. Winning gold is quite a feat, but saying that someone won the gold from playing Hearthstone just doesn't feel right. Having video games in the Olympics opens the idea of adding other events and turns the Olympic gold from something only the best could get to something anyone could get. If we add gaming to the Olympics, then why stop there? Why not add board games, card games, cooking, and other everyday activities? To me, adding gaming to the Olympics is like adding Youtube videos to the Academy Awards.

The final reason I believe this shouldn't happen is because their are too many questions. What game would you choose? It seems that any game nowadays that has competitive multiplayer could be considered an option for e-sports. How do you choose? And what about speed racing? Do you include sports games considering the sport being played is most likely being played in real life at the Olympics? Do you reward the player the award or the character? And what about the games you don't choose? Do you cycle the games, keep the games with no new additions, or keep the games with additions? All of these questions could be answered if this thing rolls out, but I feel that their is no right answer to the questions I have or have not stated.

Since the 8th B.C., the Olympics have been a test of physicality and spirit for your region, and I think that losing reality to virtuality deters that belief.The Olympics have been a source of culture and tradition, and I believe that it shouldn't be broken from video games. I love video games, but I also have a level of respect for the Olympics and the people who participate in them. Do I believe new events should be added? Yes. I rock climb as an exercise, and seeing climbing as a new event in 2020 is really cool. Do I believe there should be a video game Olympics? Yes. Their are enough different games to be played competitively to make its own Olympics. Competitive gaming is challenging, and watching that competition like watching the Olympics could prove to be entertaining. But do I believe that video games should be in the Olympics? No. their are too many differences between the two, and just because it looks good on paper doesn't mean its good in practice. Just imagine being a soccer player who has trained countless years and has stayed in top physical shape, winning the gold, and learning that someone else also won the gold while playing soccer, but didn't have to lift is butt off of the chair to win that cherished prize.

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#1 Posted by Undeadpool (6357 posts) -

I tend to agree, though I do still hope channels like ESPN continue picking up esports/videogames to give them SOME degree of legitimacy.

However as the Olympics doesn't feature things like Poker (the way ESPN does), I don't really see an inroad for videogames and think they're completely justified keeping them out. To say nothing of the fact that games feature glitches, both exploitable and random chance. Imagine if, during the Dota 2 finals, for instance, the servers simply went down. Or the game crashed to desktop.

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#2 Edited by Fredchuckdave (10825 posts) -

@undeadpool: Imagine if the power went out in the stadium during the middle of the Superbowl... oh right.

Why not? Seems like a good way for the Olympics to stay in touch (will probably be an afterthought in ~20 years); though it does largely depend on how skill based the games they pick are. Just don't pick something like Hearthstone please. But Brood War and Smash Melee are 95-99% deterministic which means the best player wins and hundreds of thousands of people play them so you're looking at the best of the best (i.e. the purpose of the Olympics). As far as typical fighting games it's usually closer to 85-90%, SC2 probably 90-95%. Actual sports aside from Baseball vary between like 70-95% or so; Tennis is probably the best sport as far as the best/most fit player winning. Team medals are always a little questionable at the Olympics already so I guess that means team games are fair as well.

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#3 Edited by AlisterCat (7879 posts) -

You say "I don't deny that their is skill to competitive gaming" but then say "turns the Olympic gold from something only the best could get to something anyone could get". So which is it? Can just anyone win or only the best?

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#4 Posted by Efesell (3326 posts) -

Listen if Dressage can be a sport let people play video games.

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#5 Posted by TheMist997 (122 posts) -

@alistercat: I said that because if video games were open to the Olympics, then it could open the flood gate of other basic activities in the Olympics. It wouldn't be long before 200 gold medals are given out in the year because people wanted their own activities in. If you include video games, then why not include underwater basket weaving?

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#6 Posted by ZombiePie (7135 posts) -

Good to see that video games may be a part of the Olympic Committee's platform of widespread corruption and economic ruin in developing countries. Seriously, just look at the current state of Rio De Janeiro. Do you honestly want THAT to be the platform in which e-Sports gain widespread acceptance among general audiences?

The Olympics are already an outdated and horribly wasteful model of exhibiting amateur and professional sports. e-Sports are better off continuing their own tradition of being dominated by developer lead tournaments.

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#7 Posted by TheMist997 (122 posts) -

@fredchuckdave: I agree with the fact that the IOC is considering this because they want to stay relevant with the youth, but I think that a better way of doing this is by running their own e-lympics parallel to the normal olympics.

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#8 Posted by BigSocrates (1904 posts) -

I don't really care, but my question is...if the Olympics has been open to non-physical games (and I know there is a physical component to E-sports, but the actual action doesn't take place in the physical realm. You don't really see a replay of people's hands moving, but rather the action on screen.) why hasn't chess been in the Olympics? Chess is 100% skill based and an ancient game, but it's never been an Olympic sport. The same for pool/billiards, and even auto racing. These are all popular games that have been around much longer than DOTA, but never got in. Why? I think because they don't require the same level of raw athletic ability and they are too focused on the equipment. There's something in them that goes against the idea of an athletic contest, though of course it's hard to articulate. I think for the same reason there's no auto racing in the Olympics there shouldn't be E-Sports.

The other thing, is that E-sports change too quickly. How long will a single game even last? 10 years at most? That's 3 Olympics if you time it right. I know that sports enter and leave the Olympics from time to time, but part of what makes it cool is the history and comparisons. Seeing grainy video from 70s gymnasts compared to today, and the differences in time between sprints in the 1930s and today. E-Sports change too quickly. Nobody will be playing Overwatch in 30 years, or if they are it will be completely different from what it is today.

Plus you're putting private companies in charge of Olympic games (Major League Baseball couldn't change the rules of Olympic baseball when it existed, but if Riot changes League of Legends there's nothing the Olympics can do) and some games are censored or unavailable in some countries (though admittedly it's probably easier to get a censored game in China than a ski mountain in Jamaica.)

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#9 Edited by Undeadpool (6357 posts) -

@fredchuckdave: But something like the power going on in the stadium affects both sides exactly equally. And did that Super Bowl go back to Quarter 1, 0-0 points? Cause that's what'd happen...

And I'm not even going to get started on something like Smash Melee and it's shattered tier and I guess THAT'S the other point: the Olympics are athletes VS athletes, and obviously some are going to be coming from far, far, FAR more privileged backgrounds/countries, but throwing ANOTHER wrinkle in like some characters being demonstrably better than others and things like counter-picks. It's like if the US suddenly pulled Michael Phelps out of swimming and swapped in someone else because Russia suddenly showed up with an unexpected x-factor athlete.

CHESS isn't even in the Olympics (something I actually had to look up to make sure I was right about).

And again: if you're going to throw eSports in, you really might as well start putting in games like poker.

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#10 Posted by TheRealTurk (201 posts) -

So my personal definition of a sport is something that meets 2 of the following 3 criteria: (1) Requires a high degree of athleticism, (2) Requires a high degree of skill, (3) Requires a high degree of teamwork.

Therefore, some games would fit my definition of sport based on nos. 2 and 3. I'm talking games like DOTA or something that need to be played in teams, as opposed to something like Street Fighter where there's no team component.

That said, even though I would (grudgingly) concede games as a "sport," I would have a number of objections to adding eSports to the Olympics. Some of them philosophical, some of them practical.

On the philosophical level, I have two objections. First, part of the allure of the Olympics is that there is the potential for the human interest story of someone who grew up in a remote village in Africa or on a mountainside in Nepal being able to compete and win. Does that happen very often? No. Are they at a massive disadvantage compared to better funded athletes from 1st world countries? Sure. But the possibility is at least there. By comparison, in eSports you've pretty much got limited possibilities. There are going to be teams from Europe, China, Korea, Japan, Australia, a few South American countries, the United States, and . . . that's pretty much it? As someone else here mentioned, video games are such a upper class thing that there's a limited pool of people who can afford to compete at a high level. It won't be like other events where there are longshots from other countries. There just won't be other countries.

Second, I want to be able, to some degree, to admire the athletes I see competing. Personally, I think that's kind of hard to do with eSports. Not only do you have the problem of juxtaposing someone with a standard gamer body with someone with a Michael Phelps body, but I have to say that any time I see a story related to eSports, it's usually in a negative context. Most of the articles I see relate to someone being toxic in chat, or a team getting caught cheating, or a team breaking up because their manager swindled them, or because the tournament organization was a total shitshow. I can't remember the last time I read a headline related to an eSports tournament that said something like "There was a lot of excitement and everyone had a really good time." I just find eSports so hard to like. Granted, that's a personal problem, but it's something that has continually driven me away from watching eSports in the past. I just don't like anyone involved in it.

Then there are the practical problems. How are these people going to compete? For people who follow eSports, you'd be breaking up known teams on national lines, so it won't be the same groups people typically root for. Plus, how are they going to handle the names? On the one hand, fans expect people to go by GamerTag. But if you go that route, you probably turn off the casual audience - who don't want to listen to announcers discuss "xxDickPounder97xx" all night. On the other hand, if you make them use real names, then that runs the risk of turning off the hardcore audience. I'm obviously the wrong person to ask on this, but how many people who follow eSports actually know the competitors' real names?

Finally, you've got the problem of how this gets televised and explained to an audience who isn't into eSports. The great part about watching the Olympics is that you can turn on a random sport you've never seen, start watching, and basically figure out the general principal of it without explanation. There might be a ton of nuance to the technique for hardcore fans, but the overarching goal is simple enough for everyone else. For example, fencing has a lot of specific rules that will be appreciated only by people who have actually done it, but everyone else can understand it as being about hitting the other person with a metal stick.

I don't know if the same is possible with eSports. If you use something like DOTA, it's going to be completely impenetrable to people. There's too much going on at once, too much specific lingo, and too much high level strategy for people to follow it. If you use an FPS like CounterStrike, everything is going to move too fast for newcomers to keep up. Between the mouse-looking and TV needing to switch perspectives every once in a while, I think it would be nauseating to watch.

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#11 Posted by BigSocrates (1904 posts) -

On the philosophical level, I have two objections. First, part of the allure of the Olympics is that there is the potential for the human interest story of someone who grew up in a remote village in Africa or on a mountainside in Nepal being able to compete and win. Does that happen very often? No. Are they at a massive disadvantage compared to better funded athletes from 1st world countries? Sure. But the possibility is at least there. By comparison, in eSports you've pretty much got limited possibilities. There are going to be teams from Europe, China, Korea, Japan, Australia, a few South American countries, the United States, and . . . that's pretty much it? As someone else here mentioned, video games are such a upper class thing that there's a limited pool of people who can afford to compete at a high level. It won't be like other events where there are longshots from other countries. There just won't be other countries.

Eh. This doesn't seem compelling to me. Do you know how expensive skiing and snowboarding are? Much more expensive than owning a computer that can run DOTA and a high speed internet connection. Not to mention more geographically constrained. There are plenty of sports that shut out a large percentage of the world population. Sure, everyone can play soccer (part of its appeal) and obviously running can be done anywhere, but lots of sports require very expensive equipment.

Diving: You need a diving pool. Much more expensive than computer equipment.

Tennis: You need a court and expensive equipment.

Baseball: You basically need to be from a country with a baseball tradition, or that can fund a team from scratch. (I know baseball is gone now but it WAS an olympic sport.)

Bicycle sports: While a cheap bike is accessible, the kind of equipment used in the Olympics is EXTREMELY expensive and prohibitive. Most bicycle champs are from rich countries for this reason.

Martial Arts: You need to come from a country with a tradition of that martial art. Sure you could be an American learning judo in a dojo in America, but not every country will have training in every martial art.

The point is...eSports are less prohibitively expensive and exclusionary than a lot of the current sports in the Olympics. Most poor countries can only field a team because the government funds training and equipment. That would be the same for eSports.