BY ANTHONY DEL VECCHIO
Should competitive video games, known as e-Sports, be considered for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris?
The Associated Press reported that after the Olympic Council of Asia included e-Sports at its recent Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, the possibility of including competitive video games is being discussed.
During the official demonstration event, teams from China and nine other nations battled in games such as “StarCraft II” and “Hearthstone.” The AP also reported that esports supporters say their event is a real sporting contest that prizes strategy and lightning reactions over physical agility.
“It needs different skillsets from different people,” said competitor Jess Joaustine Tamboboy from the Philippines. “It doesn’t really have a physical requirement because you can see around us the players are short and tall, maybe a little bit thin, maybe a little bit fat. But all they have to do in order to qualify to play for these types of titles are just their cognitive or mind skills.”
According to dictionary.com, an e-Sporting event is a competitive tournament of video games, especially among professional gamers. Some wonder if video gaming can be deemed as a sport and if it would fit in with the current athletic events in the Olympics.
“If e-Sports does continue to grow, I do think it will eventually make it into the Games. I think e-Sports can become very big like other professional sports, and it is already trending that way,” said Adjunct Instructor of Computer Science and Coach of Club Gaming Michael Delviscovo. “I wouldn’t oppose it being in the Olympics, but I think the Olympics is more for athletic sporting events.”
Many professional athletes earn significant wages and are even chosen to represent their countries in the Olympics. Some students wonder whether or not gamers should have the same status.
“No chance,” said junior Brian Welch. “Computer simulated games compromise the athletic integrity of the Olympic games itself. Being an Olympian for your respected country means a great deal regarding the sacred international competition Olympians all over the world train their entire lives for.”
The AP also reported that if esports makes it to the Olympics, some potential criticisms may be that the Olympics are moving away from promoting a healthy lifestyle and that it’s ignoring poorer countries where fast computers and brand-new games are unaffordable.
“I think e-Sports should be in the Olympics because, when you look at the evolution of gaming, you can see how competitive it has become,” said junior Justin Lowe. “E-Sports have made some of the best online and competitive games out there like ‘League of Legends,’ the ‘Halo’ series, ‘World of Warcraft,’ ‘Super Smash Bros.,’ and ‘Fifa.’ It takes a lot of skill to play these games and not everyone has that skill or time.”
The competitive nature of e-Sports is the focal point in the Olympic conversation, but gamers believe that playing video games professionally is still about having fun. Similarly, that’s why Delviscovo started Club Gaming.
“I thought this would be a great way to get those students together, so they can make some friends, compete against other schools, and have some fun,” said Delviscovo. “Video games also offer an escape to help unwind and destress.”
The Associated Press contributed to this article.