The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced this week that it has established the “Esports Commission” and that the new group focusing on inclusion of virtual sports into olympic events will be chaired by IOC Member David Lappartient. Lappartient is the former mayor of Sarzeau, France (he served as the mayor for more than 15 years of the small town in the north-western part of the country) and the current president of the Union Cycliste Internationale, Union Cycliste Internationale, and Professional Cycling Council. Prior to the formation of this new commission, Lappartient led the IOC Esports Liaison Group.
“The IOC believes that virtual sports have the potential to complement and enhance the traditional Olympic sports, and that they can provide new opportunities for athletes and fans to participate in the Olympic Movement,” said IOC President Thomas Bach in a release. “We believe that virtual sports can help to promote the values of excellence, friendship and respect that are at the heart of the Olympic Games, and that they can inspire young people around the world to get involved in sports and to lead active and healthy lifestyles.”
It is unclear what the goal of this new commission will be beyond finding more virtual sports games to include within the olympic ecosystem, given that the organization will not allow some of the most popular competitive games in the world to be played due to its stance against products that may contain violence. Games such as Rocket League, racing titles, Konami’s eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer, EA Sports FC, and other sporting-related titles have the possibility of finding inclusion if the governing body can come to some sort of agreement with stakeholders on licensing rights. But the more popular titles such as Dota 2, Valorant, League of Legends, Counter-Strike 2, Call of Duty, Free Fire, PUBG Mobile, Fortnite, and more will likely never be considered due to the animated violence they contain.
Further, games that were included in the IOC’s recent Olympic Esports Series, were largely criticized for either being not particularly compelling or because they were chosen due to fact the companies that developed them were also owned/had an ongoing financial relationships with members involved in the selection process.