An esports event set to be showcased along with the Olympic Games is up in the air after The Times of London reported that an unnamed senior member of Japan’s ruling coalition has spoken to the Olympics’ cancellation.
After the report, Japan’s government quickly denied the allegations, saying that the government was preparing for a successful Olympic Games this summer.
The 2020 Olympics were set to run near to a major esports event. Intel announced that it would hold the Intel World Open, an esports event that would occur before the 2020 Olympic games, in an effort to entice officials to add esports to its roster of competitions at future Olympics. Street Fighter V and Rocket League were the games that were scheduled, with competing teams representing their respective countries.
When the Olympics were pushed back to 2021, gamers were unsure of what would happen to the Intel World Open. On its website, Intel states that the event is also postponed until 2021, but with rumors that the Olympics may not happen in 2021 after all, esports fans fear that the Intel World Open will also be canceled entirely.
Most esports competitions around the world have been transitioned into online-only events, and have seen success in this new format. Fans are hoping that even if the Olympics are canceled, Intel will still hold its event online. When news first broke of the event and its proximity to the Olympics, fans were overjoyed that the prospect of an official Olympic esports event. While it wasn’t an official addition to the Olympic lineup, it was a good start.
There are some reports that the Paris Olympics in 2024 has officials “deep in talks” about including esports in the Olympic Games. The team that made the bid for Paris to host the Olympics said that it would discuss introducing esports with the International Olympic Committee before it was awarded hosting duties in late 2018.
While the IOC has made some mention of esports in its discussion, it has made some stipulations. IOC President Thomas Bach said that no video games that were deemed to include the “promotion of violece” were permitted to be included. Since this eliminates many popular esports titles, it’s unclear exactly what sort of game the Olympics would allow.
The 2021 Olympic games are set to start in July this year, and the Intel World Open is set to take place in June if it adopts its original 2020 date range.