The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the Olympic Esports Series, but there are mixed reviews.

Featured Image: Emily Uzzle | Marlin Chronicle

Is Esports finally going to be part of the Olympics? Simple answer, no.

The Olympic Esports Series is essentially an Olympic style event for Esports. It is not part of the actual Summer Olympics but it has been used as a promotional event in the past. When it was held in 2021, everything was completely virtual. People–amateurs and professionals–could compete from home or at their training facilities. However, this year the event will host qualification rounds (which have already begun) for each featured sport. Once the rounds are over, qualifiers will then participate in the first-ever live, in-person finals in Singapore from June 22-25. 

The series will feature nine sports; Archery, Baseball, Chess, Cycling, Dance, Motorsport, Sailing, Taekwondo and Tennis. So, if you want to live out your dream to become an Olympic champion here is the chance. However, these “Esports” games are not your average Esports games. Most of us, when thinking of Esports, picture games such as League of Legends or Rocket League. Your average college campus Esports team is not playing baseball or dancing while streaming, so why did the International Olympic Committee (IOC) choose these sports over the existing framework? 

In a statement provided to the Guardian, an IOC representative said, “It is important to us that the featured games align with the Olympic values…avoiding any personal violence.” An easier explanation is that existing games in Esports are too violent. 

For one, I think the IOC is trying to keep the actual meaning of sport in “Esports.” Also, not everyone plays/watches League of Legends or Fortnite, and if the IOC wants to appeal to the general public, they have to choose games that appeal to the masses.

On the other hand, this is not a good way to embrace Esports and it is just going to make it harder for others to understand what makes gaming competitions compelling. Personally, I enjoy watching gamers on YouTube or Twitch but I feel like if I wanted to watch someone play baseball, I would go to a baseball game…outside. 

Many gamers expressed their criticism towards this event. One user had expressed the platform being used for Archery, Tic Tac Bow, has a 1.9 out of 5 stars rating on the Google Play store.

Obviously, the IOC is using Esports in a different meaning with a focus on sports simulators and virtual reality, but I can understand why some may criticize the format of this virtual series.

By Shirell Washington

In March of this year, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced the Olympic Esports Series. For the first time in history, professional and amateur players can play in 18 video games, including nine sports, for a chance to play in a live, in-person event taking place in June in Singapore.

According to David Lappartient, the Chair of the IOC Esports Liaison Group, “The Olympic Movement brings people together in peaceful competition.” Lappartient went on to say that this competition is a continuation of that. 

The archery game being played is called Tic Tac Bow. It is a mix of tic tac toe and archery into one. To play, you need to shoot arrows at an archery board, and, just like in tic tac toe, you need to hit a whole row. The baseball game is called WBSC e-baseball. You can pick your teams, hit, pitch and play a field position. You can play against your friends and play against people from around the world.

The chess game being played is, where you play against someone online. The app called Zwift is what is being used for the cycling game. You can cycle with others and it has popular cycling tracks. You need some sort of cycling machine to be able to compete in this. 

For the dance game, the IOC is using JustDance, the same game that many college students loved as a kid. Another sport that is a part of the Esports Series is Motor Sport. The game being used is called Gran Turismo, which was created by a Japanese developer. The game sees simulation, close to real life gameplay and a variety of cars to choose from. 

The sailing game being used is called Virtual Regatta, an online race simulator. It uses real life weather conditions and close to realistic controls. 

Virtual Taekwondo is the game being used for taekwondo. With sensors on players’ legs, the game responds to movement to give scores. 

Tennis is played on an app called Tennis Clash. In order to play you need to swipe your finger across the screen where you want to hit the ball. 

When I think of esports I think of games like Fortnite and FIFA, I don’t think of games like the ones being included in this Esports series. If I want to watch tennis, I will go outside and watch a tennis match, and get some Vitamin D while I’m at it. If I want to watch some archery, I will wait for the Olympics where actual professionals are playing. I see no point in having this competition, it takes away from the competitiveness of watching high level athletes and high level sports.

By Colette Kearney