The Paris Olympic bid committee will consider esports for inclusion as a medal event in the 2024 Olympic Games, according to Tony Estanguet, the committee’s co-president. Estanguet told the Associated Press that talks have been scheduled with the International Olympic Committee and with esports representatives “to better understand what the process is and why it is such a success.”
Estanguet also had some thoughts for esports skeptics out there: “We have to look at it because we can’t say, ‘It’s not us. It’s not about Olympics.’ The youth, yes they are interested in esport and this kind of thing. Let’s look at it. Let’s meet them. Let’s try if we can find some bridges.”
This won’t be the first time that competitive video games have contended for a slot in the Olympics. The 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio featured an “eGames” showcase with exhibition matches rather than medal events; eight international teams competed in Smite and Super Smash Brothers Wii U. This past April, the Olympic Council of Asia announced the first medal event for esports will unfold at the 2022 Asian Games.
Ahead of esports’ official inclusion in the 2022 Asian Games, the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia will feature esports contests as a demonstration, in the same spirit as Rio’s 2016 eGames showcase. The Paris Olympics 2024 program will be finalized after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, so the committee will have years to consider the question and take note of the reception to these showcase competitions.
“There is some time to look at it, to interact, to engage,” said Estanguet. “The IOC will have the last say, if they want esports on the program.”