The IOC (International Olympic Committee) announced 2023’s Olympic Esports Series.
The IOC will work in conjunction with game publishers and International Federations (IFs) to actualize this virtual and simulated global sporting event.
The qualification rounds have already started with both pro and armature gamers competing in 18 video games across 9 sports.
The IOC hopes that this year’s festivities will build upon the longstanding Olympic tradition of bringing people of the world together in peaceful sports competitions.
Confirmed Games for the Olympic Esports Series 2023
As the world continues to evolve, the Olympic Movement continually tries to build more opportunities for players in traditional as well as virtual competitions.
“We look forward to having the world’s finest gamers compete globally while exploring shared lessons and opportunities in innovation, training, health, and wellbeing,” said David Lappartient, the IOC Esports Liaison Group chairperson.
The IOC, therefore, invited players from the world, both pro and amateur, to come and take part in the following featured games:
- Archery (Tic Tac Bow, World Archery Federation)
- Baseball (WBSC eBASEBALL™: POWER PROS, World Baseball Softball Confederation)
- Chess (com, International Chess Federation)
- Cycling (Zwift, UCI)
- Dance (JustDance, World DanceSport Federation)
- Motor Sport (Gran Turismo, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile)
- Sailing (Virtual Regatta, World Sailing)
- Taekwondo (Virtual Taekwondo, World Taekwondo)
- Tennis (Tennis Clash, International Tennis Federation)
Unlike major global Esports tournaments, The IOC is giving armatures a chance– which makes this year’s competition even more special. By doing so, the committee hopes to create increased opportunities for people to interact, regardless of their size, gender, or ability.
Nevertheless, each game in the 2023 Esports Series has a set of unique entry requirements and competition formats in line with the current IOC recommendations. All players must, therefore, check out and understand the relevant regulations before participating.
Singapore to Host Olympic Esports Series 2023
The 2023 Esports Series marks an impressive milestone for the Olympic Movement following the first Olympic Virtual Series in 2021.
The 2021 series happened in anticipation of the main Olympic Games held in Tokyo. Over 250,000 participants from across 100 nations actively took part in the virtual event.
Singapore has been picked to host the 2023’s Olympic Esports Series week—a four-day event running from the 22nd to the 25th of June. For the first time ever, esports fans will have a chance to watch the Olympic Esports Series finals live from the Suntec Center.
The entire action and battle for the crown of “Olympic Esports Series Winner” will stream globally across all Olympic social channels as well as Olympics.com.
The IOC has, nonetheless, promised to release the complete and final schedule, including ticket info, in April.
Esports as a Medal Sport in the Olympics
AESF (Asian Esports Federation) vice-president, Lokesh Suji, recently revealed that the IOC had initially planned to incorporate virtual sports in the Paris Olympics. This is a positive indication that the world is ready to embrace esports.
Furthermore, given that the International Olympic Committee considered adding esports in Paris 2024, one may speculate that the Olympics could include medals for esports in the near future.
In fact, the Olympic Council of Asia has already included esports in Asian Games and AIMAG.
The inclusion of major esports titles like League of Legends and DOTA 2 in major global multi-sport events would be a welcome move that would increase awareness and accessibility of video games. This would be in line with the Olympic Movement’s values of inclusivity regardless of geographic location, creed, race, gender, ability, etc.
Criticism Over Olympic Esports Series 2023
While many esports fans applaud the IOC for the strides it’s taken to embrace esports, most feel that the organization doesn’t quite understand what makes competitive gaming interesting.
Most of the esports featured in this year’s competition are part of the Summer Olympics. While this is a commendable fact, none of these games (besides chess to a lesser degree) have a thriving competitive scene in the esports world. For instance, you won’t find a lot of streamers on Twitch playing Tic Tac Bow.
Thus, the absence of high-profile esports like Valorant, DOTA 2, or CS: GO has become a source of widespread ridicule for the Olympic Esports Series 2023 on social media.
Several organizations, including Cloud9 and PCGamer, have also expressed their displeasure with the games chosen for the competition. For instance, Tic Tac Bow has a rating of 1.9 out of 5 on Google Play Store. Regardless of this, it is one of the choice games picked for archery in the Olympic Esports Series 2023. On the other hand, Tennis Clash is well-known to contain numerous predatory and malicious predatory mechanics.
In their defense, the IOC said that the games picked represented a diverse program of inclusivity. The selection criteria, therefore, was meant to overcome, among other things, technical barriers to entry, personal violence, and gender bias within the player base.