With the Olympics, athletes around the world have the opportunity to prove their skills for their country, whether it’s with running the hurdles, throwing a discus or some other form of activity where they prove their strength. That said, a prominent figure in the game industry believes that video games could easily have their place in the official games, as players will be able to prove their strength in a different way.
Rob Pardo, former chief creative officer for Blizzard Entertainment, believes that games have a place in the Olympics, per his conversation with BBC 5live. “Video games are well positioned to be a spectator sport,” he explained.
He pointed out that League of Legends World Championships in Seoul, South Korea had no problem filling a stadium full of 40,000 people, and eSports had gained enough of a following over the past few years to be considered the next great competitive event. “There’s a very good argument for eSports being in the Olympics,” explained Pardo. “I think the way that you look at eSports is that it’s a very competitive skillset and you look at these professional gamers and the reflexes are lightning quick and they’re having to make very quick decisions on the fly. When you look at their ‘actions per minute,’ they’re clearing over 300.”
That said, the climb to eSports glory hasn’t always been easy. “That starts getting into how you define sport,” he explained. “If you want to define sport as something that takes a lot of physical exertion, then it’s hard to argue that video games should be a sport, but at the same time, when I’m looking at things that are already in the Olympics, I start questioning the definition.”
That said, Pardo believes that while gaming can’t quite be recognized as an official Olympic sport, there’s still enough of a case to show the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to plead the case, as a “mind sport.”
Pardo still believes there’s a great deal of appeal for a broad audience. “You can do whatever you want with the graphics, you can make it be really exciting and competitive.”
With millions of dollars up for grab and a growing audience, it wouldn’t be a surprise if we saw eSports make some sort of impact in the event in the years ahead. Still, it could be a while…